Inside Drift: Meet Shannon Donovan, Customer Success Manager

By Drift


Hey everyone, I’m Meg ?

I’m a recruiter at Drift. One of my favorite parts about my job is getting to meet people from different backgrounds and getting to hear their stories. And then when we bring them on board, I get to work with these cool people!

And that’s actually a big reason why we decided to start this series. There’s a lot of amazing folks here at Drift that we want you to meet, so each month we’ll introduce you to a Drifter we think is pretty great.

Next up in the series is Shannon Donovan. Shannon sits on Drift’s customer success team where she works directly with our customers to make sure they’re ridiculously successful with Drift. That means she guides them from the very beginning – training their sales team, launching their first bot or playbook, reviewing playbook performance, and getting Drift adopted into their organization.

Here we go. 

Editor’s note: The following has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Meg Wandishin: Can you tell me about your background and how you got to Drift?

Shannon Donovan: From an early age, I always saw myself working in tech. My dad works in technology too and it kind of just became a frequent dinner table topic growing up. So when I went to college at Villanova University (go Wildcats!) and graduated with a degree in marketing and international business. Then I had an internship in college where I met a few people from Drift. As school was winding down, I applied for a role on the customer advocate team, came in for an interview shortly after, and the rest is history.

MW: What’s your definition of success?   

SD: For me, success has two parts. One part is about making myself a powerful resource by building up my product knowledge, strategic knowledge, and relationships within the Drift ecosystem. The second part is about making my customers successful. The way I see it, the more I can educate myself, the better I can serve my customers. My ultimate purpose here is to help them be as successful as possible.

MW: What does a typical day at your job look like?  

SD: I always say a good day in my job is when I get to talk to my customers – and that’s every day! I love getting on the phone with customers who are in the onboarding process. I’m basically their guide for how to use Drift. So some of my calls are kickoff calls, which means it’s the customer’s very first introduction to the product. On these calls we talk about why they chose Drift, what types of problems they’re trying to solve, and how they plan to measure success.

The other type of call I have most often is talking to customers who’ve been using Drift for a while and are looking for ways to optimize and so we get to dig deep and figure out how they can get the most out of Drift.

And when I’m not on the phone, I’m looking at my book of business as a whole. It’s an opportunity for me to identify customers who need a little TLC and a check-in. It also gives me a chance to think more strategically about those customers who are doing well – how can we help them see even more value?

MW: What’s the best part about working at Drift?

SD: The ability to make it your own. Because it’s a growing company, I’ve been able to help identify gaps in our process and come up with solutions – both in my previous role as a Customer Advocate and in my current role as a Customer Success Manager. There’s lots of space for thinking big and then you also get the support to actually make your ideas happen.

MW: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned at Drift?

SD: Extreme ownership. It’s a Drift Leadership Principle and something that has been super helpful to me early on in my career. Because extreme ownership isn’t about trying to do everything by yourself. It’s about owning the problems and the solutions to those problems. It’s really helped change my mindset and has helped me become even more focused on my role in solving for the customer.

MW: Who is a role model that you look up to?

SD: I can’t just choose one. 

  • My dad. He inspired me to go into tech in the first place. It’s so fun to be in the same industry and have a shared experience with him.
  • Julie Hogan. Julie heads up Drift’s customer team, overseeing customer success, support, and professional services. Julie leads by example and is extremely customer-centric. I feel so fortunate that I get to learn from her every day.
  • Chrissie Cronin. Chrissie is a manager on the customer success team, and she’s one of the strongest people I’ve met at Drift. She handles everything with dignity and grace. Throw any situation her way and she’ll work hard to find a solution for the customer.

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

SD: I like to salsa dance ?

MW: What’s your favorite book?   

SD: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It tells the story of her three-month solo backpacking journey through the Pacific Crest Trail. Talk about inspiring.

MW: If you could give your 18 year’s old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

SD: I’d tell myself to work hard and know that everything would fall into place. Because when you graduate college, there are certain huge milestones that seem really hard to reach. Or questions that just seem impossible to answer. And then literally one day, it starts to become more clear and you feel like the future is not so uncertain anymore. I remember the day I got my offer from Drift. I was sitting in the train station and a feeling came over me – the uncertainty was gone. I felt like I’d make it. I felt like, even though I couldn’t answer every single question about my future, I had this one important part figured out.

Want to join Shannon on the Customer Success team? We’re hiring Customer Success Managers in Boston and San Francisco. Apply here.