How do you measure the performance of the CSM function? What metrics do you add as you mature?

Jeff Breunsbach
Jeff Breunsbach Member Posts: 266 Gain Grow Retain Staff
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edited July 2020 in Metrics & Analytics

We've gotten a number of questions that relate to this from CEOs and Board Members. 

Help us round out an answer that takes into account multiple perspectives.



  • Samma Hafeez
    Samma Hafeez Member Posts: 24 Expert
    First Anniversary
    edited June 2020

    Obviously depends on the industry, stage, maturity, and size of the team & company, but here are some measurements I believe are very impt and incentivize the right set of actions:

    1. Gross Retention (signals to CSM that they need to keep their current customers)
    2. Net Retention (signals to CSMs that they need to drive clear wins and nurture expansions/upsells - can't just rely on usage and engagement but need to drive outcomes)
    3. Ability to produce a minimum number of champion confirmed "success" stories (which are verified customer outcomes) that typically stem from EBRs. (signals to CSMs that they need to develop deep, multi-threaded relationships and socialize wins formally with execs - internal and external).
    4. Documentation: CSMs must be active documentation contributors. Have them contribute towards self-service content, internal training content, blog content, etc. This helps CSMs nurture their trusted advisorship. 
    5. Min # of Validated Customer References: These are customers who meet established minimum criteria for your Champion's Program - typically champions have been a customer for a year or more, have a clear ROI story, are generally excited about your product/company, not in a current escalation, etc (pushes a CSM to provide superior customer service and maintain a high degree of responsiveness and proactive engagement).

    I could name several more, but these have resonated with my teams over the years. Hope this helps!

  • Andreas Knoefel
    Andreas Knoefel Member Posts: 74 Expert
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    edited June 2020

    I assume you are looking at the whole enchilada a CS leader is responsible for, not each CSM.

    With the startups I accompanied through their growth I have seen the following progression as they mature through the B,C,D, ... rounds of funding:

    First it's logo retention, as a company is building a retention base. CS is a cost center and focus is on establish success despite the capability gaps which may exist

    As the customer journey congeals around a common path, and the processes and playbooks standardize, Net Revenue Retention (and unfortunately still NPS) become the next focus for the Board.

    The final stage is Net Profitability, considering the initial CAC as well as the cost to renew, upsell, or cross-sell a $ of revenue. Once here, it's analyze, optimize, tune, refine, analyze, optimize, tune, refine, analyze, optimize, tune, refine,... to get the last % points out of each sub cluster

  • Alex Turkovic
    Alex Turkovic Member Posts: 61 Expert
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    edited June 2020

    @Samma Hafeez mentioned it briefly, but focusing on whitespace expansion and upsell metrics (beyond net retention) is a great indicator to show the value of the CS organization as a whole. Expansion into additional customer units shows brand adoption and satisfaction with the purchased products. An upsell into additional products displays customer confidence with your brand to provide the products they need to be successful.

  • Chris Jones (CJ)
    Chris Jones (CJ) Member Posts: 12 Thought Leader
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    edited June 2020

    I think in the simplest terms for us it would be;

    • Retention - Both Net and Gross, these are the main and largest indicators of CS
    • Reference - These customers will help drive growth and are used to also indicate your CS teams engage and effectiveness.
    • Growth - Again shows how engage your CS teams are with their customers, allowing them to find areas for growth and expansion.

    Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) are not as heavily used presently as we find that their are so many factors outside of the CS team that feeds into these indicators.

  • Joran Hofman
    Joran Hofman Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited June 2020

    We look at different metrics in the lifecylce of a client: 
    1. MRR trained in first 30 and 90 days per CSM 
    2. Renewal Rate (annual clients)
    4. Training feedback scores
    5. Net Churn 
    6. And in special again to Expansion revenue (even though is part of 3). 

  • Alex Farmer
    Alex Farmer Member Posts: 62 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment GGR Blogger 2021
    edited June 2020

    I agree with the metrics above, but came across an interesting article from Octopus Ventures about how these are all wrong and enterprise B2B SaaS should take small churn rates for granted and focus on aggressively expanding the value of contracts -- controversial!

    Curious to hear the thoughts of the GGR community

  • Andrea Kottong
    Andrea Kottong Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    edited July 2020

    I agree that net and gross retention are crucial metrics. But shouldn't those be metrics for the company as a whole, not just the CS team? There are so many factors outside of CS that factor into those metrics.