Episode #8 - Being a rockstar in customer facing roles as an introvert with Nate Bills from Procore
In this episode we sit down with Nate Bills. Nate grew up in Palo Alto before attending UCSB to study Psychology. He is now an Implementation Manager on the Customer Success team at Procore Technologies in their New York office.
We discussed how he started his career in sales and why he ultimately decided to transition into Customer Success. Nate shared what it’s like being an introvert in a customer facing role and how he earns trust with his team a to create a work schedule that improves his fitness and professional performance.
Alma Mater: UCSB
(edited and abridged)
Tell me about your history with public speaking.
In college in our entrepreneurship program we had to come up with a business idea and pitch it to the class.
We did some research about bugs and protein and found this particular bug that was high in protein. The idea was that we would produce this box that would farm these bugs and we would use it to create a protein powder. And we had interviewed farms that were doing just that successfully.
I just remember in the final presentation I dressed up like a cowboy to get in theme and pitch this agriculture and farming company idea. I was so scared to speak in public. I tried to memorize my script (total mistake) and two sentences in I totally froze. Luckily my teammates bailed me out but it was tough.
How was it going into sales after college? Did it come naturally to you?
Well first off everyone’s a little different, I just took the Myers-Briggs test at work and I am an INFJ (the I is for Introvert). You would really think a lot of sales and customer success people would be extraverted, and that may be true, but I want to say that you can be just as successful as an introvert in those roles.
I wouldn’t say that sales came naturally to me. I think I’m a personable guy but it’s tough. In sales is had to be a little bit more pushy than I was used to. Trying to call someone up who may have never heard of our product and convince them that they should sit down for a meeting in a matter of minutes is no small feat. I really just worked at it and put in the hours to get better.
How did you transition from sales to customer success?
Sales was a great place to start my career. I learned a lot about being personable, showing up on time, and putting in the hours but about six months in I started talking to my co-workers at Procore about making a transition into another role.
Tying back to my degree in Psychology I had always considered being a teacher and I saw the open role in Customer Success as more of a consultant teaching people how to use our product and that sounded more up my alley.
I then made it clear to my manager what I was trying to do. I also wanted a change of scenery from Santa Barbara and the position was in New York so I took the jump and never looked back.
Any advice for people starting their careers?
Most importantly, no matter what job you start with, you really have to get your hands dirty. Not everyone dreams of being a BDR and making cold calls but if you have a vision for what your future will look like and you put in the work, it will pay off.
What is Procore? (from Procore)
Procore is a leading provider of cloud-based applications for construction. Procore connects people, applications, and devices through a unified platform to help construction professionals manage risk and build quality projects—safely, on time, and within budget. Procore has a diversified business model with products for Project Management, Construction Financials, Quality & Safety, and Field Productivity. Headquartered in Carpinteria, California, with offices around the globe, Procore is used to manage billions of dollars in annual construction volume.