CSM vs TAM

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Tammi Canelli
Tammi Canelli Member Posts: 5 Seeker
edited November 2023 in CS Conversations

I thought this question had been asked already but I can't find it.

What are the main differences between a CSM and TAM?

I have a meeting monday with my manager to discuss my professional development plan.

Currently working as a CSM, but part of a new team that is just getting organized. There are parts of the job I really like and other parts I struggle with. Onboarding/implementation really appeals to me because I like the project mgmt aspect of it.

Would like to hear how others define the two roles. How are they similar/different?

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  • Jim Jones
    Jim Jones Member Posts: 25 Expert
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    I'll just give you my take on it based on the industry I'm in (think smart devices, IoT, autonomous vehicles, etc.). TAMs can work in both pre- and post-sales capacities, and often shift back and forth between the two. In a lot of companies in my space, it requires very deep technical skill and understanding of the customer's software/hardware architecture, desired characteristics of performance, etc. TAMs are more like a junior architect role. CSMs are more focused on onboarding, customer health, being a one-stop concierge for a customer, etc. CSMs still have to be technical, but not to the same depth as a TAM.

    To use an analogy: if the end customer is in the business of making watches, CSMs have to know how to tell time but TAMs have to know how watches are made.

  • Harsh Shah
    Harsh Shah Member Posts: 40 Expert
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    Hi Tammi, I hope you're having a relaxing weekend!

    A CSM is responsible to deliver value by ensuring customer goals and objectives are met. By doing so, he can grow his relationship with the customer and start suggesting best practices and other growth opportunities which could result in mutual success. Some of the key activities are onboarding, training, increased revenue, increased efficiency, building a long-term partnership, and so on. He kind of engaged throughout the whole customer lifecycle and became the customer's advisor in the process. So, if you like onboarding & implementation then the CSM role is perfect as it also involves project coordination or management tasks based on your organization structure. He is the best person to help customers with their product-related concerns and share feedback with the product team to enhance it to keep clients satisfied

    While TAM/AM is more involved with sales-related activities like renewals, upsells, and cross-sales. Due to their technical and accounting expertise, they help customers with features or upgrades or expansion-related queries. Based on clients' expectations they help with upselling or cross-selling as well. Sometimes they can also work with the Marketing team to create some campaign strategies for account expansion and referrals based on your organization's structure.

    Due to its similar roles and responsibilities people often get confused between TAM/AM and CSM because many organizations do not have clearly defined responsibilities which results in conflict and confusion. So, I would suggest getting a good understanding of both roles and see what works for you.

    My best wishes for your future endeavors!!

    Best Regards,

    Harsh Shah

    Customer Success Manager, Woliba

    Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harshshah-15/

    Email: hcshah15.hs@gmail.com