Monday Guest Seth Dovev

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Get to know Seth Dovev

By: Mohammed Alqaq   |  August 21, 2023

Having served as the Senior Director of Customer Success, I had the amazing opportunity to lead our exceptional teams committed to delivering unparalleled experiences for our valued customers.

Supporting me in this exciting journey is my wonderful wife, Coree, a superhero in her own right as a Highschool Special Ed teacher, and our two incredible kiddos, Hannah (7), and little Noah, who brings endless energy at the age of 2.

With over a decade of experience under my belt, I’ve focused my CS-related efforts in both Ad Tech and B2B SaaS companies, spearheading customer success strategies, building high-performing teams, and driving transformative initiatives. 

Seth Dovev_Headshot

Throughout my career, I’ve been a catalyst for revenue growth, ventured into new markets, and created pathways for professional growth and opportunities for my Customer Success Managers.

We asked Seth to take us through a journey telling us about his career path, how he spends his workday, what advice he can share with someone starting as a customer success manager, and many other questions.

Enjoy reading this interview  

Tell us about your career path?

My career path began in the realm of Digital Media and Advertising, where I worked for a prominent Global Ad Agency in Boston, MA. Seeking new opportunities, I made the move to New York City, delving into the Publisher side of the burgeoning Facebook wave. I supported in-app advertising experiences within Zynga games and facilitated brand sponsorships on social media platforms.

Driven by the growing importance of brand safety in the advertising industry, I joined a company called Integral Ad Science as a Client Services Supervisor. This shift allowed me to transition from an individual contributor to a managerial role, where I had the opportunity to establish Client Services teams in Chicago and San Francisco. Eventually, my journey led me to settle in Los Angeles as a Director of Client Services for a few years.

During my tenure at Integral Ad Science, the company experienced rapid growth and underwent significant transformations. At the peak of my time there, the company was acquired by Vista Equity Partners for an impressive $850 million. Concurrently, I witnessed the evolution of roles and departments that eventually shaped what we now recognize as Customer Success—an area devoted to delivering value to customers after the initial sale.

Recognizing the robust and well-defined nature of Customer Success within the B2B SaaS industry, I sought roles within this domain. I decided to embark on a new chapter in my career. This led me to an impactful Director-level CS position at Decibel by Mediallia, where I had the opportunity to work directly with customers, including renowned brands like Lego and Calvin Klein. However, as the pandemic unfolded, I began to feel the call for a return to management—a chance to fully engage in coaching, and professional development, and build a Customer Success organization from scratch.

This desire for a fresh challenge ultimately brought me to Chili Piper, where I now serve as the Senior Director of Customer Success. It’s an exciting opportunity to lead and shape a Customer Success team dedicated to providing exceptional experiences. I’m thrilled to combine my expertise in coaching, professional development, and departmental leadership to help Chili Piper flourish in the realm of Customer Success.

How did you join Customer Success?

My career in Customer Success grew out of my involvement in support and technical roles within the advertising industry. Working closely with brands and building strong commercial relationships ignited my passion. While I appreciated these aspects, I didn’t feel the drive to pursue a sales-oriented path.

The shift to Customer Success allowed me to focus on my commercial interests without the need to actively pursue new business opportunities. Instead, I could concentrate on nurturing existing client relationships and ensuring their ongoing success. This transition aligns my passion for relationship-building with the goal of driving customer satisfaction and growth.

How would you describe the ideal CSM candidate?

Proactive and Results-Driven: CSMs are now taking on a broader role that includes growth-related responsibilities. A strong candidate will have a track record of driving customer expansion, exceeding retention targets, and demonstrating their ability to independently manage and work with their accounts. They proactively seek opportunities to foster customer growth and success, utilizing their strategic mindset and results-oriented approach. Sharing specific examples of their achievements in driving customer expansion and exceeding targets will highlight their ability to effectively contribute to the growth and success of both the customers and the organization.

Empathy and Customer Focus: A skilled CSM possesses the ability to empathize with customers, understand their challenges and actively work towards resolving their issues and helping them achieve expected outcomes.

Comprehensive Product Knowledge: A solid understanding of the B2B SaaS product or service being offered is essential for a CSM to effectively guide customers. This knowledge enables them to offer appropriate solutions, provide valuable product-related assistance, and address specific customer needs. 

What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out as a Customer Success Manager?

My advice to someone starting out as a Customer Success Manager would be to prioritize their own professional development within the field. These roles can be challenging to break into without a solid understanding of the fundamental elements that most CSMs are responsible for.

It’s helpful to seek out and participate in CS communities, courses, and events to learn from others and gain insights into the industry. I’ve found the CS community to be very supportive and willing to help each other out.

Prioritize your own professional development within the field.

Can you take us on a journey describing what your workday looks like?

Each day is different but here’s a typical day… My workday starts with the important task of dropping off my daughter, Hannah, at school and ensuring my son Noah is well taken care of at daycare. Once I settle at my desk around 8:45 AM, it’s time to dive into my work.

I begin by addressing any urgent matters in Slack and my inbox, promptly responding, and taking necessary actions or time-sensitive deliverables. Following that, I dedicate around 30 minutes to review CS-focused metrics and the status of any escalations.

Throughout the morning, I engage in 2-3 meetings that typically last around 30 minutes each. I try and make my calendar available for members of my EMEA and East Coast-based teams.

During my lunch break, I take a quick walk with my dog and make a quick shake to keep me fueled for the rest of the day.

After lunch, I try and have a dedicated two-hour block to focus on projects related to our company or team objectives. This time allows me to dive deep into strategic initiatives and make progress toward achieving our goals.

Later in the day, I have a few meetings scheduled with individual contributors or managers based on the West Coast, ensuring effective communication and alignment across different time zones.

What makes you feel inspired or motivated?

Our Customer Success Managers are truly exceptional. They inspire and motivate me in various ways. It could be when they achieve a closed-won Customer Success Qualified Lead (CSQL), surpass targets, earn promotions, or when I receive direct feedback from customers praising their CSM and expressing their positive experiences working with them. These moments make all the effort and hard work worthwhile.

What’s one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you?

I’ve been rocking out as an unwavering Phish Phan since 1998, going to as many concerts as I can. I try to make it to 3-5 every year, although it’s becoming a bit more challenging with the increasing demands of my kids’ activities.

Who do you look up to the most?

Simple. My Mom ♥

What are your top 3 priorities now?

  1)  Self Care

  2)  Offer more mentorship in the Customer Success community

  3)  Continue to educate C-Level leadership about the critical role of Customer Success in driving overall company success, and showcase the direct contributions of Customer Success Managers (CSMs) to achieve those goals.

What advice would you give to Customer Success Managers to grow and develop their careers?

Embrace learning and experimentation in Customer Success. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so don’t be afraid to try, learn, and try again. Stay confident, be yourself, and believe in your ability to achieve your goals. Also, join CS communities, explore CS-related courses, and always be open to connecting with like-minded people… 🙂 

What’s your favorite book, and why?

It is hard to pick just one book, so I am going to list a few. 

Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss

Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

Anything by Daniel Silva – love me a Spy novel.

» Check out the 10 Books a CSM should read to advance and improve their skills.

Have you had your “I’ve made it” moment yet?

Nope. That is what keeps me motivated. 🙂

What should I have asked you but didn’t? 

I can’t think of anything 🙂

Where can people go to find out more about you?

The best place is LinkedIn , feel free to reach out and connect with me there.  

Thank you, Seth, for sharing your knowledge and for the opportunity to know you more.

Do you have a Customer Success Leader, Expert, or Influencer you would like to know more about?