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Hack To Start
Episode 109

John Gleeson

VP Client Success @Affinio and passionate cold water surfer.

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

John Gleeson is the VP of Customer Success at Affinio, an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio won Gartner’s “Cool Vendor” in Data-Driven Marketing Award for 2016. While building an adult hockey skills company during university, John decided to pursue his MBA in Eastern Canada. He then decided to take a break from school and build his business remotely while traveling the world to surf. Returning to school after a year away, John quickly found himself as hire #1 with a new startup called Affinio. Two and a half years later - and following their Series A funding - Affinio has now grown to a team of over 40 people based in New York, Toronto, Halifax and Ireland. John is now the VP of Customer Success and joins us to share more about his story, how Affinio approached getting their first customers, why he’s now focusing on customer success, how he’s building that part of the organization and what metrics matter, and much more!

Main Objectives For This Episode

  • Learn more about how John got into business and startups.
  • Learn about how he created the opportunity to join Affinio.
  • Learn more about how John approached business development and acquiring customers.
  • Learn more about Customer Development and why it matters.
  • And more!

Episode Overview

John Gleeson is the VP of Customer Success at Affinio, an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio won Gartner’s “Cool Vendor” in Data-Driven Marketing Award for 2016.

While building an adult hockey skills company during university, John decided to pursue his MBA in Eastern Canada. He then decided to take a break from school and build his business remotely while traveling the world to surf.

Returning to school after a year away, John quickly found himself as hire #1 with a new startup called Affinio. Two and a half years later - and following their Series A funding - Affinio has now grown to a team of over 40 people based in New York, Toronto, Halifax and Ireland.

John is now the VP of Customer Success and joins us to share more about his story, how Affinio approached getting their first customers, why he’s now focusing on customer success, how he’s building that part of the organization and what metrics matter, and much more!


What You'll Learn In This Episode

  • Learn more about how John got into business & startups.
  • How John approached business development and getting the first few customers.
  • What he's now doing with customer success at Affinio.
  • And more!

Some Of The Questions We Ask

1:58
Where are you from and what did you study?

2:23
So how did your passion for tech & entrepreneurship develop?

3:25
So you’re currently the VP of Customer Success at Affinio. What is Affinio and how did you create the opportunity to join the team there?

10:20
Affinio was named Gartner's "Cool Vendor in Data-Driven Marketing" Award winner in 2016. What were some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome getting this far?

11:57
What is customer success? Why is it important? And at what stage should a startup hire customer success?

13:34
What are 3 things an outsider should know about Customer Success in order to build a great process for it?

16:56
You’ve talked a little about some of the metrics of customer success. What are some these metrics that you’re creating or implementing?

19:39
How do you approach managing the split between the team in Halifax and New York?

23:00
What's next for Affinio?

24:26
What are some of the most recent apps you’ve downloaded or used lately?

28:13
Any last thoughts or personal mottos that you live by that you think others should know about?


Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

John Gleeson on Twitter
Affinio on Twitter
Affinio on the web
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

Devices, Apps, and Books

Salesforce
Gainsight
Strava
Reporter
Customer Success
Saaster Podcast
The 20min VC
Quora

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