Early CSM Organization Tips - surviving those scrappy days, pre-CRM

Jillian Member Posts: 1 Navigator
edited August 2023 in CS Org Conversations

Hi! I'm curious to learn how you help CSM teams managing 25 - 60 accounts, the most at risk segments who require advisory services more than a product in order to ensure success (product value is there but renewal success is dependent on an indirect variable related to customer building a type of sales motion). This is also early days, no CRM really driving communication automation (CRM = light health scoring, area for notes). I'd love to hear how you'd align teams in the following areas:

  • sharing customer information (rolling notes?) - feels like a time suck, how to align critical path info in an easy, low admin overhead way that feeds cross functional teams & leadership
  • time management/priority activities: assuming renewals focused but there have to be activities that are critical to focus on the feed CRM eventually and help each other move faster. Assuming template building, common resources, etc.
  • customer touch point expectations - what should this look like? How do you deal with high maintenance but green accounts.
  • Any other lessons learned from those early days?


  • Michelle Wideman
    Michelle Wideman Member Posts: 54 Navigator
    First Anniversary 5 Insightfuls 5 Likes First Comment

    Hi @Jillian, I feel ya:). It's not pretty, but our top priority right now is picking a CSM platform, until we get that deployed the team is currently sharing notes in Slack which integrates into SFDC. We picked Slack as it was the best way to share cross-functional notes. Customer Segmentation, sentiment, and renewal date drive priority and again, adding a CSM tool with automated playbooks will be a huge value add for us. As for customer touch points, this again is driven by customer segmentation. Large enterprise/strategic account have agreed upon cadence calls which can be weekly depending upon the customer and stage in their customer journey. If you find you have a lot of high maintenance green accounts you may want to loop at tips & tricks sessions so you can scale better.

  • Chad Horenfeldt
    Chad Horenfeldt Member Posts: 57 Expert
    Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Anniversary
    Can you create workshops to help your clients improve their sales motion? Rather than doing 1:1, can you handle this in a 1 to many approach?
  • chrisdishman
    chrisdishman Member Posts: 9 Navigator
    Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Comment Name Dropper

    @Jillian - What you described plagues most of us in some way! If and when possible, I would highly recommend a CSP. That will help with the customer information (timeline / tracking), tasks, automation on workflows for driving onboarding, adoption, expansion, renewals etc. That helps with some of the foundational items you mentioned.

    Outlining customer engagement expectations can be difficult. (especially if they are oversold in the sales process). I have leveraged some of the above email automations to help with that, and also stand up office hours, do 1:Many webinars, and somewhat of a "genius bar" where customers can get a block of time with a CSM. We did that more specifically for a full digital touch model, but the same could work in helping get customers what they need outside of a zoom call with your CSM.

    Last thought...strong enablement content, best practices, etc...and if you have a strong KB or Community, thats another place you can leverage. Goal is to get them the info they need, without it coming from the CSM on a 1:1 call.

  • NaomiAiken
    NaomiAiken Member Posts: 8 Navigator
    First Comment Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited June 2023

    Love those early scrappy days! Here are some tips from my experiences at multiple pre-Series A startups:

    • Document, document, document - It's hard to find time to beef up user documentation in those early days but it is so worth it! Figure out the top ten questions you are answering over and over, document the hell out of 'em (both written and short videos), and keep those links handy to distribute! Also send these out proactively-- distributing documentation does not have to only be reactive!
    • AI is your friend - It's incredible how much AI can help you save time in your day! Everything from process documentation, to email writing, to task execution. Personally I get a lot of AI tool tips from the Superhuman newsletter. Highly recommend this for productivity tips.
    • Internal customer notes - Slack is a chat tool, so be careful about storing critical customer notes in it. Things get lost very easily. Until you have a CSP in place, you can use notes fields in your CRM. And if you are super scrappy it's not so crazy to have a running Google doc of notes for each customer or a giant spreadsheet, but only as a stopgap until you have a CSP!

    Happy to answer any other questions you have!


  • Anna Alley
    Anna Alley Member Posts: 70 Expert
    Photogenic First Anniversary First Comment Name Dropper

    @Jillian one thing I'd as well is early identification of critical milestones and time to value moments. You mentioned outreach centering around renewals dates, which is a common first step, but if you can identify those early milestones that are indicative of a customer wanting to renew, or risk of not renewing, that could help your team identify most critical outreach before it's actually time for renewal. I.e. Five of their 60 customers are outside the normal timeline to reach the milestone X. That triggers an outreach to see if they need additional assistance, are having issues, etc.