Why I’m at Bitly: Featuring VP of Customer Success Adam Bambrough

This post is part of a multi-part series where we chat with members of Bitly’s leadership team.

What do you do if the job you’re passionate about doesn’t exist?

If you’re Adam Bambrough, VP of Customer Success at Bitly, you create it.

Years ago, a mentor gave Adam some sage advice: Choose roles based on your passions and interests, not job titles. Since then, he has used what he’s naturally good at—identifying problems and coming up with creative, scalable solutions—to carve a unique career path focused on generating ROI and bringing new value to customers.

At times this meant creating entirely new roles for himself. In fact, when Adam first entered the field of customer success it wasn’t really a field at all. At least not as we know it today.

Adam’s “build it” approach to his career has resulted in a nonlinear path to customer success leadership. Before entering his current field of work, he gained experience in sales as well as account and product management.

“I guess you could say I took an unusual route to customer success. However, the many lenses I’ve had as a result of those roles have been key to my understanding of how Customer Success can work with other teams to meet common goals and improve the customer experience.”

Adam’s knack for identifying opportunities for teams to work better together and improve different stages of the customer journey is what led him to customer success. It’s also one of the many things that excited us about sitting down with him for this interview.

Why did you choose to come to Bitly?

The combination of the number of people who use the platform, the brand trust that exists and the length of time Bitly has been around is unparalleled. It all added up to a really compelling challenge that excited me. I had to jump at the opportunity.

Were there any actions you wanted to take starting Day 1?

There’s so much talent and energy at Bitly. I saw opportunities to “join the dots” and help connect every single point of the customer lifecycle in an even more cohesive way.

How long have you been in SaaS?

I’ve been in SaaS for about 15 years. In 2012, I moved to the States from the U.K. to work at a SaaS company that had just opened a U.S. office.

If you could pick a mentor, anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

I’d have to say Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. I admire how he’s maintained his worldview throughout his business success. He’s kind of my idol in terms of his ethics and being able to see the bigger picture.

Describe your approach to leadership.

I love empowering my leaders and I hate the concept of micromanaging. I much prefer vision setting. My job is to support my team by creating and maintaining alignment, then removing obstacles in the way of their success.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

It was from a mentor, a C-Suite chap I used to report to. He suggested I look outside of job descriptions and instead allow my passions to guide my career path. About a third of the roles I’ve taken since receiving this advice were ones that I not only cared passionately about but didn’t actually exist until I created them. Take, for example, customer success. It really wasn’t a thing 10 years ago.

How did you manage to create these new roles?

Through my career, I’ve had some success helping organizations identify new roles and functions to build out that add value. By doing what I was passionate about and good at, I sort of organically carved my way into that function. It just so happens I got into customer success a little ahead of its time!

When did you know customer success is what you wanted to do?

In 2015, after growing a few customer success and sales teams, I moved to operational leadership. I began taking on the problems I had solved on a small scale, but this time across a global organization with multiple territories and languages. This huge shift from team to function leadership enabled me to make a much bigger impact and understand how customer success is so much bigger than any one role or team.

How do you start your day?

Well, I’m super routine-driven and very geeky when it comes to smart home things. My automatic coffeemaker and Sonos speakers are set to start by the time I walk into my kitchen. I’ve mapped everything out to the minute. Also, porridge (in the winter) is the way forward!

Oh, and I may on occasion “accidentally” nudge my baby daughter awake so we can eat breakfast together!

What are you passionate about and how do you stay connected to that passion?

Delivering value or making someone’s life easier. It takes problem-solving on an intellectual, emotional and logical level to be able to identify and scale processes that help a large customer base be successful. I absolutely love when this is done effectively and when every person in an organization, no matter what team or function they’re in, feels ownership of our customers’ success.

I’m passionate about the importance and impact of aligning people, process and data across teams around a unified goal—making customers successful—so I’ve definitely found my calling!

This or That

iOS or Android? iOS
Card games or board games? Board games
Dine in or dine out? Dine out
Coffee or tea? Coffee. I’m not very good at being an Englishman.

Thanks for reading this Why I’m at Bitly post! Next week, we’ll speak with Kevin Arts, VP Analytics and Business Operations. If you missed it, take a peek at last week’s post featuring VP of Marketing Christine Royston.

Tiffany Fowell @Bitly