Enhance my CS Team or Hire More CSMs

Cody Member Posts: 4 Navigator
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edited February 16 in Strategy & Planning

My company is going through a transition where historically our CS org was more of a high-touch consultative program in support of a SaaS application but now going to a more tech-touch true SaaS motion and fewer consultations.

With that said this transition will happen slowly over the next 6-8 months. In the meantime, I'm trying to decide if I should hire more CSMs to meet the demands of the current customer base or enhance my team by hiring more Analyst, Support Team, and Operation specific roles.

Right now our biggest challenges are data imports and management, support (high touch customers), and customer QBR creation.

Would love some thoughts on best CS structure and strategy here.


  • JLondon
    JLondon Member, CS Leader Posts: 4 Navigator
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    @Cody - I'd be very interested in participating in a round table on this topic. Happy to share my perspective and would appreciate hearing from others too.

  • LaurenWood
    LaurenWood Member Posts: 1 Navigator
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    @Cody I've gone through this transition a few times and have a lot to share!

    In short, you need to focus on actions that scale and build the team to support those actions. An operations and data expert will be essential to giving you leverage by helping you to effectively segment customers and automate actions. Simply hiring CSMs will be inefficient and costly.

    I'd be happy to chat about this live, here's my calendar: https://calendly.com/hellolaurenwood/30min

  • shahman
    shahman Member Posts: 1 Navigator
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    I would agree, if you are moving to a more scaled Digital Touch model, you will need specialized skills to support that function. Some from within the team some from outside. Hiring additional CSMs won't make sense and in fact you may get pressure to reduce the number of CSMs. Other things to consider are maintaining the high touch model as a paid option for customers who need it. You mentioned two roles business analyst and operations. Both are valid but others you may want to consider include CS Marketing and Content Generation resources. These may reside outside of CS. Happy to discuss further individually or on a group call.


  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 209 Expert
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    Hello Cody,

    Here are some things that work.

    Have you segmented your customer base? Typically it's Enterprise, Mid-Market and SMB. We created a community and assigned every SMB customer to the segment Community Success. We had a pool of CSMs who were assigned to Community who had a background as CSMs and experience with digital forums, all with a strong sense for the customer experience. This is critical, because so much will be thrown at them that they will have to handle with that in mind. The landing pad for SMB was the community with specific forums that were invite only where they could engage directly with the CSM team. (Every customer had access to the community but SMB customers had access to specific private forums designed just for them.) In addition we built out mini-QBRs, automated reports with specific data points that were provided to the right stakeholder (admin, C level) during the right time of the journey (on-boarding, adoption, renewal/expansion) that provided a metric, or series of metric updates that were very specific. It was not brain surgery but it was useful data and I took each from the QBRs the Enterprise and Mid-Market team were using.

    To measure we used the exact same metrics as Enterprise and Mid-Market: renewal, expansion, number of support cases, NPS and health score. Over time we saw the metrics improve and the Community Success team on par and even BEATING the other two sectors. It was a hard pill to swallow for some, who saw us as wasting time with that "bunch of emails" approach and "that stupid community." (I had to sit stone faced when I heard these responses.)

    If I had to do it again (and I just might!) I would work on getting buy-in from other key partners, do a lot more discovery to understand all other communications and engagements in place. (A bunch were revealed over time.) And make sure I was reporting diligently at a very high level all the key metrics to the entire executive team.