• Sarah@VHFY

Who am I, where have I come from and how can I help you?

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

In my first post, I wanted to introduce myself. Explain a little about where I grew up, give details on my professional life and show how the skills I have learnt over the years position me perfectly to become your VA.

I will start with the skills I have gained. If you really have got to the stage of needing a VA, you don't need the background right now. It's there if you need or I can fill you in a later date, should it be necessary.

  • Organisation - one of my friends shared my launch post and described me as being 'crazy organised'! Being organised comes naturally to me. I write lists, meet deadlines and ensure those around me are also on top of their outstanding items and working to meet the deadline

  • Software management - I worked in SaaS software for almost 10 years. I learnt the products inside out in order to be able to support and deliver value to my clients. I've supported clients in their roll outs, implementations and into long standing relationships for many years

  • Account management - I have worked in Account Management and Customer Success for 10 years now. I am personable and polite. I build relationships at all levels throughout a business and I build them easily. I deliver bad news in a professional way. I set expectations with the client to ensure objectives are met by both parties and to avoid disappointment. The recommendations on my personal LinkedIn page reflect this.

  • Project management - several parts to this. I initially moved all of my clients from a server based project to a SaaS product. Being a start up, I was involved in all steps of the process from demo'ing and working through some business mapping, to securing the signed orders and booking in consultants for the implementation. I had to learn project management quickly! Secondly, the product TrafficLIVE was a project management and resource tool for the creative industry so I learnt how my clients managed their projects through the tool (websites, apps, campaign etc). Thirdly, within Deltek we followed a methodology from the point of sale through to handover to my team. We all learnt and understood this. Along with my organised side, I always ensure my projects are on time and within budget

  • Team management - I managed a global team of Customer Success Managers across a number of different products, timezones and locations. I worked with them on their development plans, agreeing on objectives and targets in order for them to reach the next stage of their career. I supported the team in creating professional responses to their clients calls and emails in tricky situations. I managed escalations and guided them on ways to handle future escalations

  • Escalations - a tricky one for some but after some teething issues on the products I managed, this is now second nature to me! Listen to the client and understand their problem to ensure all parties are fully aware and wires haven't been crossed, apologise for delays/issues caused where necessary. Give clear deadlines and action points confirming what will happen at each deadline. If a deadline is to be missed, ensure the client is made aware as soon as possible, give reasons and explain the new steps to be taken. Clients respect honesty which builds a stronger relationship in the long term

  • Technically minded - I don't suggest I can build and code software but I do like to understand why I'm pushing buttons A, B and C, not just pushing buttons A, B and C! I need to understand the situation in order move forwards and/or resolve it. I believe this is one of the reasons I have got this far in my career because by doing so I'm able to explain the detail and impact to others (an example would be explaining a workaround to a client or describing a client issue to the Product Manager to ensure he had the full picture).

  • The client journey - to ensure expansions, upsells, retention and advocacy you have to ensure a positive client journey. I have lived and breathed the client journey during my Deltek career; gathering client feedback, reviewing data, reviewing processes, creating success plans and EBRs all to ensure our clients enjoyed the experience. In doing so, they would renew their contract and promote our service and product to others. The client journey flows all the way from sales to the implementation team to the Customer Success team and beyond, working closely with Product Management, Cloud, Consultants and Support along the way

  • Event planning - I have planned many of my family, friends and work social events, birthdays, holidays to name a few. I love researching and finding the best deals in order to deliver the highest standard. I would get told each year at our work Christmas party, 130 people, the parties got better and better!

  • Social media and content writing - something I have had to learn setting up my business. A big learning curve but I am doing it!

I've gained these skills throughout my life in a number of different situations. If we take it right back to the start, I grew up north of Nottinghamshire with my mum, dad and younger sister. My dad runs the family agricultural contractor business. My uncle and cousin run their family dairy farm in Kent. My sister and I would always be helping out at home and in Kent. I have happy memories of spending the summer holiday with my granny and grandfather on the dairy farm. Farming is our roots and although I'm far from that now, it has given me a great grounding for life, keeping me focussed, balanced and not afraid of hard work.

From the age of 16 I worked in our local farm shop, a restaurant at a farm park followed by a Little Chef (yes...a Little Chef! Do you remember those?! I absolutely loved that time! Hard work but a lot of fun).

When I was 18 I moved to Cheltenham and graduated with a BA Honours Degree in Human Resources from The University of Gloucestershire. During this time I worked for an agency in restaurants, hotels and in the Panoramic Restaurant at Cheltenham Racecourse. More happy memories although the memory of aching feet after long days of rushing around, not so much!

After university, I started working for Capita Life & Pensions. I initially working on setting up annuities but was soon asked to join a project team. A small group of us who were responsible for putting together project plans and process documents for a new company Capita was due to outsource for. I then quickly moved to Deputy of the new team and supported the manager in rolling out the processes.

After being at Capita for 5 years, I moved to London where I got a job as Account Manager at Sohnar where my Traffic and software career began. As I mentioned, I transitioned all of my clients to TrafficLIVE managing the process from sales, reviewing the product against competitors, business mapping, training in some instances or planning the implementation for the larger clients who paid for services.

I became a Customer Success Manager, managing my list of clients and not long after Deltek acquired Sohnar. I took on more responsibilities, I became responsible for Enterprise clients (such as WPP), I started to manage the Customer Success team. For a year, I managed the global Support team as well. Once I had too many headcounts, I focussed solely on Customer Success, taking more Customer Success Managers and products into my team.

After 10 years of being with TrafficLIVE and 7 with Deltek, it felt like the right time to take the next step of my career. I researched Customer Success roles, other opportunities and realised with my skills and experience, a Virtual Assistant is the perfect career.

With some more research, I have launched Virtually Here For You and look forward to working with you to support you in your business.

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