Customer Success Manager (CSM)

Customer Success Manager Jobs

Customer success managers (CSMs) aid your business’s customers as they mature from sales prospects into engaged users of your products or services. They are committed to creating strong, enduring client connections and are frequently assigned to the same clients for the duration of their involvement with your business.

Building a solid relationship with a customer is more than just landing a sale. In fact, landing the deal is just the beginning of the relationship. Your business must continue demonstrating to the customer that your product or service is worthwhile even after the sale. A Customer Success Manager is a subject matter expert on the company’s products and services and helps cultivate relationships with customers to help them succeed and keep coming back.

The implementation of Customer Success Managers is relatively recent, but the idea has gained some serious traction as businesses see the value in investing deeply into customer relations. Nearly half of all high-tech companies employ CSMs these days, and the trend is growing.

What Does a Customer Success Manager Do?

While customer service representatives respond to problems as they happen, CSMs seek to find solutions in advance. They take a proactive interest in their client’s business and offer fresh, creative ideas for how to make the most of your products or services.

They fill an interesting space in the sales team as they are involved with aspects of a business’s relationship with the customer. Here’s how.

CSMs Link Sales and Customer Service

Customer Success Managers are skilled in both sales and customer service. They differ from Account Managers in that they are less involved in acquiring the next client but more on continued focus on current ones. In addition, they prioritize developing client relationships, improving retention, addressing client problems, and promoting overall customer satisfaction.

One of the easiest times to lose customers to a competitor is when they purchase a product or service and start seeing tangible, positive results. How these results manifest will vary from customer to customer. Some will see increased revenue as a result of the product or service as a success milestone. Others will come to see how your product or service saves them time or makes their operations more efficient.

It’s between initial purchase and when that product delivers results that a CSM is especially critical to customer relations. They help the client get the best results from your product or service and guide them to success while keeping a close eye on their satisfaction.

CSMs Add Value and Boost Retention

The chances of retention are significantly increased by having a Customer Success Manager on hand for the onboarding procedure, but their usefulness extends beyond that.

To ensure that customers are using the products regularly, CSMs conduct regular follow-ups - often in the form of Quarterly Business Reviews, or QBRs. It may seem counter-intuitive, but research indicates that following the purchase of a product or service, frequent usage of said product or service often does not occur organically following the purchase of a product or service. For example, approximately half of the customers who sign on for a SaaS product use it for only once a month or less.

If customers do not perceive the value of your products or services, it might be challenging to maintain continued enthusiasm for your business. Customer Success Managers work to keep the advantages of your products in the forefront of customer’s minds.

CSMs Have a “Big Picture” View of the Customer Sales Relationship

While regular customer service representatives see individual problems as they happen, CSMs identify issues that can affect several clients and predict how these trends will impact future churn.

Customer Success Managers are also well-positioned to know about upcoming products and updates, so they can help businesses connect with existing clients as part of a larger sales strategy.

Because they can see things from the perspective of both the business and the customer, they can identify potential issues and opportunities and turn those into better revenue for both the business they represent and the customers whose success they help manage.

What Does a Successful CSM Look Like?

Customer Success Managers must be skilled in organization and presentation. But, perhaps, more importantly, they need to be proficient at building trust.

Customers need to trust that the CSM has an intimate knowledge of the product or service and the industry overall. In addition, they need to trust in the CSM’s ability to understand how the customer uses the product and that the CSM can offer intelligent recommendations in the customer’s best interest.

On top of all that, the CSM must be able to show sincerity—that they care. Pretending to connect with the customer is not enough. A customer that sees through attempts to care about their company will quickly lose trust in the CSM, the business, and the product.

Here are some of the most critical skills and attributes a Customer Success Manager needs to succeed:

  • Ability to quickly learn new products and technologies
  • A talent for forming relationships
  • Industry knowledge
  • Efficient and effective planning skills
  • Personal and professional presentation skills
  • Empathy and understanding of client needs

CSM Primary Responsibilities

Customer Success Managers are tasked with identifying avenues of growth for both business and client and coming up with solutions for customer pain points and business growth.

Creative Problem-Solving

Customer Success Managers take care of their client's businesses and collaborate with them to address challenges. Ideally, their mission is to isolate and stop minor problems before they become larger ones. While doing so, they pay attention to their client's satisfaction levels to better come up with solutions before problems arise.

CSMs follow up with clients monthly, if not weekly, and ask specific questions to determine how satisfied they are. They can gauge the general satisfaction of their customers by contrasting these conversations with their usage and behavior data, such as how frequently they log into a company’s software or how often they use a physical product.

An effective CSM notices early warning signs and takes prompt action to address problems before they can turn into complaints. They might accomplish this by first contacting the client to check in or hosting a lunch or other meeting to learn how the product is working out for them.

Because Customer Success Managers already keep a frequent, open line of communication available to the customer, this sort of engagement should feel natural.

Promoting Products and Brands

CSMs generate interest in new or developing products by keeping clients updated. As new products or updates become available, a CSM takes the lead in conducting demos and training. Should customers show interest in new or updated products or services, the CSM can help make the proper connection between them and the sales staff.

Because CSMs understand their client's needs, they’re in an excellent position to identify expansion possibilities and upsell opportunities.

In promoting a business’s brand, a CSM should be able to facilitate technical support and training as needed. This is particularly important during onboarding when CSMs directly collaborate with customers to ensure that their product adoption proceeds without a hitch.

Long-Term Client Management

Sales and service representatives concentrate on the immediate satisfaction of consumers, and CSMs concentrate on providing value over the long term. So when a customer signs up, their commitment doesn’t finish; instead, it just starts.

Customer Success Managers are, ultimately, responsible for relationship marketing. Therefore, they communicate openly with clients frequently to ensure that complaints are understood and swiftly resolved.

How Much Does a Customer Success Manager Earn?

In the US, a Customer Success Manager has an average salary of approximately $69,000. In addition, over a third of all Customer Success Managers surveyed report annual bonuses, with the average being about 10% of their base pay. The highest average salary for Customer Success Managers in the US is a little over $113,000 in New York, followed by about $100,000 in San Francisco.

Talented and experienced Customer Success Managers working in certain businesses have been known to earn as much as $150,000 annually.

Building a Career As a Customer Success Manager

Customers today demand more from businesses than just goods that satisfy their needs. Instead, they expect attentive service from experts concerned about their needs and goals.

This expectation enhances the value of Customer Success Managers. Businesses need an individual in this position who can thoroughly understand a client’s needs. A good CSM communicates and internalizes feedback so their business can produce the products and services their customers demand.

Start browsing candidates now if you are looking for a new all-star Customer Success Manager to join your team. Or, if you’re looking for a new Customer Success Manager job opportunity, sign-up and start connecting with companies!

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