The Inspiring Journey of Shiva Raghavendra, CollPoll’s General Manager for Customer Success

CollPoll's General Manager, Shiva Raghavendra, Shares His Journey
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The CollPoll team strives to create a positive work environment that not only fosters a good learning culture within the organization but also motivates everyone to seek greater achievements together. We sat with one of our amazing peers Shiva Raghavendra, who joined CollPoll as a Product Specialist and has gone on to recently become the General Manager of Customer Success. The conversation recounts his remarkable journey, the downturns, great learnings, and avenues to success.

Let’s dive in to know more about him!

About Shiva!

Shiva started his journey with CollPoll back in 2018 as a Product Specialist and has worked for 4 years now. From the company’s amazing product launches to some of the best partnerships, Shiva has always been a great support. With his commitment, dedication, and work ethic, he has led the teams to success.

What’s Your Story Behind Joining CollPoll?

I previously worked at TTK Services before joining CollPoll. Back that time, on one such day I planned to meet my old friend, who was an iOS Developer at CollPoll. That is when I came to know about the organization, its functions & processes, and more about the EdTech sector. Given the opportunity to join CollPoll, I agreed to my friend’s proposal. After a month or two, I got a call from the company and after several rounds of interviews, I was finally selected for the role of Product Specialist.

The reasons I planned to join CollPoll were – firstly, the goal and mission of the company truly inspired me to be part of it and bring a change in the higher education space. Secondly, since it was a startup, I thought this is my chance to learn new things and directly impact the company’s overall growth. While in an MNC, you are bound to certain roles and responsibilities, in a startup you get the freedom to explore. 

The flexibility to work with different teams, offer solutions to every problem, and deliver ideas for the company’s growth kept me motivated each day. I used to communicate with all teams considering product development and implementation. This gave me a grip on – how the company functions and the products were built.

Describe Your First Role at CollPoll

I joined CollPoll in 2018 as a Product Specialist. However, since it was a startup, there weren’t many roles in the company. So, my role covered many verticals from data configuration, to support, and implementation.

Initially, I started working on the Campus Help Centre (CHC) Module that was newly launched. The work was entirely backend including handling different processes and creating various services. Additionally, the first client I handled was Manipal where we integrated with their ERP system. Eventually, the number of clients increased and so did our responsibilities.

 

Shiva Raghavendra with the CollPoll team!

 

What Challenges Did You Face During This Journey & How Did You Overcome Them?

In the initial days, since I was completely new to the technical area of work, there were a few challenges in understanding the product, data flow, APIs, and processes. But there was a lot of flexibility to connect with different teams and learn the technical aspects of the product from them. And this was a great learning experience.

Although there were some challenges in tasks and processes, the support from the team helped me to overcome them easily. Basically, understanding the product from the starting phase has been really helpful and is the reason why even today I am able to support different teams.

The major challenge was implementing the product at the client institution as every campus had a different approach, making sure that they are satisfied with your product and their workload is substantially reduced after adopting CollPoll. However, the teams at CollPoll helped me in finding new solutions to overcome these problems and delivering better processes every day.

It is through these challenges that I grew from being a Product Specialist to a Customer Success Manager, and then to the AGM of Customer Success. And now, the GM of Customer Success!

How Has Your Learning Been in Team Development?

Once you’ve learned about the company processes and products, the next step is – building a team! From being just 4 people in the Customer Success team to 30+ people today, it has been an interesting phase.

Segregating the team into different roles, so all the processes are handled proficiently has been quite a task. Today, we have five sections in the Customer Success team including Relationship Management, Implementation, Data Configuration, Data Analytics, and Support. 

The expectation was to hire the right people for every team and it became easier because I’d previously been a part of all the verticals. We followed some trial and error methods rather than following other companies’ approaches and used our insights to build processes and get things done.

Getting the right people on board and helping the Customer Success team evolve successfully was quite challenging yet a great experience.

The Best Moments You Had on This Journey & the Most Important Lesson You Learned?

The best moment I had in this journey was getting promoted to the role of AGM – Customer Success in a very short period of time. Besides this, I received so much appreciation from my fellow team members that it truly inspired me to work harder and do the best I can for the company.

“You have to gain your respect!” – says Shiva Raghavendra

When I joined CollPoll, there were people who were respected by every team member and everyone around. So, this made me curious about – how to gain that respect and recognition and how can I inspire others around me. I eventually understood that it was not due to the influential position they held but it was about how they put themself and create their importance in the team while inspiring others.

And I believe, I’ve earned that respect in CollPoll and everyone else can!

 

CollPoll team at Founding Day 2019

 

What Have You Loved The Most About Working at CollPoll?

Firstly, the energy and connection with the top management of the company. The team members inspire each other to learn and evolve and that is the true energy that every organization needs. So, the right lessons delivered by the management itself, have always prompted us to do our best!

Secondly, the internal team at CollPoll is amazing. Everyone has their own unique ways of doing things and out-of-the-box ideas regarding the products. This is really incredible!

What Changes Do You See CollPoll Will Bring in the Edtech Space in the Coming Years?

CollPoll has already made a great revolution in the EdTech space. However, in the coming future, I feel the CollPoll application will become so mainstream for the students, teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders of the higher education institutions that it will be on the tip of their fingers every time.

Your Go-to Productivity Mantra

The only productivity trick I trust is – putting effort rather than looking forward to results. I am not result-oriented but rather a more process-oriented person. This is the reason, I want my team to put more effort into giving the right solution. To put in your 100 per cent to a task, you have to focus on the correct way of doing things and not opt for a shortcut to get the outcome.

“Focus on the process, you will ultimately receive the desired result!”

Who Has Been Your Role Model?

My brother has always been my role model in life. I’ve seen him struggle, learn, and grow through life. From being a doctor in Manipal to promoting in the U.S., he has been an excellent example for me.

What Are Your Career Goals for the Future?

Considering my career goals, I am in the learning phase currently and in the coming days, I want to go deeper into the processes, and customer success services, and learn more about leadership qualities. The goal is to learn more every day, gain exposure in different areas, and be an inspiring leader one day.

“CollPoll is the right platform to explore new opportunities and learn better!”, says Shiva

The contribution of the team members to the company’s success and a positive mindset are super crucial for it to evolve successfully. With Shiva’s constant hard work and dedication, CollPoll has always attained remarkable results. We appreciate his efforts and wish him more growth and success!

Want to join the CollPoll team? Explore our open positions or write to us at hr@collpoll.com. Stay tuned for more stories in the coming weeks!