This article was transcribed from Shirley Anderson’s presentation during March 2022’s Customer Success Festival APAC: Reloaded.


I'm really excited to share the lessons I've learned about account growth from the three startups I’ve worked for.

Account growth is part of everything customer success does, so these lessons cover everything I’ve worked for over the past seven or eight years in customer success (CS) and tech.

Let’s take a look at this article’s agenda:

  • I'll start with an introduction of myself and the experience I've had in startup land.
  • Then, I’ll go into the types of customers and accounts you’ll encounter in different business models.
  • Finally, I’ll share five key learnings from the three very different startups I've been part of.

Professional experiences in startup land

I've been very fortunate to be part of three great Aussie-based startups and being close to product engineering and the founders are something that I value. Let’s take a closer look at each experience.

2015–2019: Head of Customer Experience & Success at SafetyCulture

In early 2015, I started to work at SafetyCulture, one of Australia's tech unicorns. When I joined, I was probably employee #30, and my title was Head of Customer Experience & Customer Success. I was coming in to try to figure out how to take their amazing product to market.

SafetyCulture, a mobile-first tech startup, enables businesses to digitize, modernize, and revolutionize their safety and quality operations. Its flagship product is iAuditor, which is a mobile app that allows you to complete a quick safety checklist. That data is then sent back to HQ, so you essentially have eyes in the field. The product has been adopted globally.

We expanded really rapidly in the four and a half years that I was there leading its APAC division and global customer-facing functions. As the business grew, seeing the go-to-market functions expand across our regional offices was truly special.

In terms of revenue, we grew from less than $1 million of annual recurring revenue to over $45 million when I left – it was incredible. We also went from Series A to Series C, and the employee count rose from a mere 30 to 370! Our go-to-market team went from one person when I joined to about half the total company size in under five years.

SafetyCulture has offices around the world, starting in Townsville, which is an amazing Aussie startup success story. And we quickly expanded to the US and the UK, as well as a Manila enablement office.

That experience was great; it taught me a lot, and when I had the opportunity to apply what I had learned at SafetyCulture to another exciting venture, I jumped at that opportunity.