CSMs: What They Are & Why You Need Them

CSMs: What They Are & Why You Need Them

July 19, 2016
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In our eBook released this month, we covered the typical roles you'd find on a Customer Success Team and why they're important. In this post, we'll specifically discuss Customer Success Managers (CSMs, for short) and the role they play in the post-sale world.The heart of the customer success team are the customer success managers (CSMs) themselves. CSMs do the day-to-day work of interacting with customers. Responsibilities may include:

  • Customer kickoff after handoff from sales
  • Onboarding, training, education, and implementation to drive the customer towards initial demonstrated value
  • Executive Business Reviews, often quarterly, to understand customer goals and demonstrate product ROI
  • Handling contract renewals and upsells/cross-sells
  • Front-line support for customer questions and tickets
  • Serving as internal advocate for customers and escalations

Depending on the organization, CSMs are often segmented by type of customer (SMB, mid-market, enterprise) and/or by customer lifecycle stage (onboarding, steady state, renewals). This is because each segment and lifecycle stage requires different skills and scaling approaches. For example, SMB customers are best suited for low-touch, 1-to-many strategies, whereas enterprise customers may expect (and pay for) high-touch service.As the team grows, CSMs also need management structures and career progression paths. We have found that CSMs are more likely to come from sales or account management backgrounds rather than support – the difference being in proactively driving customer behavior rather than reacting to problems as they arise.Hear a bit more about the CSM role from our very own CSM at Skilljar, Molly Barber:


“It's my goal to understand the vision and strategy for our customers' training plans and help them use the Skilljar features to accomplish and exceed their own goals. We discuss the needs they're looking to solve, ways to solve them with Skilljar, and how to measure their success.”- Molly Barber, CSM, Skilljar

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