Curious to know what organizations are doing around CS Career Pathing in their organizations

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Jeff Breunsbach
Jeff Breunsbach Member Posts: 266 Gain Grow Retain Staff
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edited August 2023 in CS Org Conversations

One example we've come across recently...

CSR - Customer Success Representative

CSM - Customer Success Manager

CSE - Customer Success Executive

In this organization, the title you held was indicative of the type of portfolio that you could command and the types of activities you would engage with the client around. 

Any other examples?

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  • Jeff Breunsbach
    Jeff Breunsbach Member Posts: 266 Gain Grow Retain Staff
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    edited May 2020
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    @Jeremy Donaldson I took this from a discussion I saw that you had started around this topic!

  • Jeremy Donaldson
    Jeremy Donaldson Member Posts: 71 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    @Jeff Breunsbach - Awesome! Thanks for taking the lead to post this here. It has been on my list for too long. 

  • Jeremy Donaldson
    Jeremy Donaldson Member Posts: 71 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    We are structured as follows: Associate CSM (tech touch) >>> CSM (Mid-market) >>> Sr. CSM (enterprise/strategic) >>> Principal CSM (Strategic/team lead) >>> Manager/Director of CS >>> VP of CS >> CRO

    However, we don’t have any clear, repeatable process for how one can get promoted from one role to the next. We are still very much a 18 year old start up in many ways when it comes to career development.

  • Sara Bochino
    Sara Bochino Member Posts: 21 Thought Leader
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    edited May 2020
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    We use a similar growth format as Jeremy with a few deviations. Please see below: 

    • Associate CSM (tech touch/commercial accounts)
    • CSM (Commercial, regional accounts)
    • Sr CSM (Growth/enterprise, regional accounts) <-- has the choice to move to a team lead or account director
    • Team Lead (Part IC, Part mentor, Strategic global accounts) 
    • Account Director (IC, limited # of global strategic accounts)
    • Key Account Director (Dedicated to one Account, one Account Manager)
    • Manager, CS
    • Director, CS
    • Sr. Director
    • VP
    • CRO
  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 185 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    We are a small shop, and recently reorganized our CS to flow accordingly (45 people in our org, with 7 in CS):

    • Customer Success Associate - 1 to 3 years experience, taking on the heavier lift of configuration, etc.  Grooming opportunity for next level
    • Customer Success Consultant - 4-7 years
      • We split our team into support, engagement and onboarding.  Each micro team has consultants assigned to that line of work
      • Engagement - owns a book of business - responsible for churn, upgrades, renewals, etc
      • Onboarding - serve is primary POC during onboarding phase before hand-off to Engagement
      • Support - own the support channels which include customer experience portal
    • Customer Success Manager - 7+
      • Own a book but more importantly have consultants reporting up to them.  This is intended to give those folks a chance to manage an opportunity to do so.  Not a requirement to manage people but available for the taking.
    • Senior Director - 10+
    • CEO
  • Kevin Mitchell Leonor
    Kevin Mitchell Leonor Member Posts: 248 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    At Duetto

    Customer Success Specialist - low touch and assists Managers

    Customer Success Manager - accounts 10k-100k (some CSMs like myself were given strategic accounts that were 100k-250k ARR

    CSM level 2 - A lot like a strategic account CSM

    CSM level 3 - Manager of Customer Success/Team Lead. Handles 3-4 of the largest accounts.

    Customer Success Director - accounts 100k+

    VP of Customer Success

     

    At RingCentral, it is easier to go from Top to bottom.

    Top tier - VP of Customer Success

    Fourth tier - Directors of Customer Success for four divisions (Signature, Mid-Market, Majors, Enterprise) , Renewals Director

    Third tier - Managers of CS for the 5 divisions listed above

    Second tier - Senior CSM

    First tier - CSMs

  • Kevin Mitchell Leonor
    Kevin Mitchell Leonor Member Posts: 248 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    difference between CSM and Senior was two years of internal experience.

  • Jeremy Donaldson
    Jeremy Donaldson Member Posts: 71 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    @Sara Bochino - Thank you for your insight. 

    Your "account director" would be the equivalent to our Principal CSM. Always less than 10 accounts preferably less than 5 on a global scale.

    I am advocating to add "team leads" I think it is huge for career development.

  • Jeremy Donaldson
    Jeremy Donaldson Member Posts: 71 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    @Brian Hartley - Starting small is the best place to get good habits formed! Have you considered giving 1-2 key members extra-curricular leadership activities to test them?

  • Jeremy Donaldson
    Jeremy Donaldson Member Posts: 71 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    @Kevin Mitchell Leonor - How many accounts do each of these roles average? 

    Better question: How do you feel about each role being appropriately size to handle the relationship and value add components needs to be successful?

  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 185 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    Yes @Jeremy Donaldson I definitely try to keep this in mind for those who are keen on advancing to the next level.  For example, I am asking one of our consultants to own our NPS program, which is a cross departmental collaboration. 

  • Jeremy Donaldson
    Jeremy Donaldson Member Posts: 71 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    Awesome! I spent 7+ years in the HCM space so I am a big advocate of giving people the opportunity to grow. 

    You've given me a great idea about posting an NPS discussion topic. Thanks! 

  • Kevin Mitchell Leonor
    Kevin Mitchell Leonor Member Posts: 248 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    It's huge. We saw that the level of work doesn't change just because of portfolio size. One account worth 4M in ARR gives one CSM as much work to do as 20 accounts total worth 4M ARR. So just because we move into a role where we are enterprise or midmarket, we are still optimized to handle the workload because we recognized the levels of engagement has a correlation to ARR size not just number of customers handled.

  • David Ellin
    David Ellin Member Posts: 170 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    In my previous organization at a large division of eBay, we sent like this:

    Vice President of Customer Success

    Customer Success Director

    Customer Success Manager III

    Customer Success Manager ll

    Customer Success Manager l

    Customer Success Analyst 

  • Joshua Maberry
    Joshua Maberry Member Posts: 8 Seeker
    edited May 2020
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    Here are the roles, cliff note version, I've worked out for my CS Org.

    • Director of Customer Success
      • Sets vision/direction for CS
      • 4 pillars of Success
        • Communication Management
        • Relationship Management
        • Problem Management & Resolution
        • Reporting & Roadmap
    • Lead/Manager of Customer Success
      • Can be 2 separate roles pending the size of the org
      • Tactical execution of vision for the org
    • Senior Customer Success Manager
      • High touch/High ARR clients
      • Trains CSM's
    • Customer Success Manager
      • Maintains client relations
      • Manages client communications
      • Builds and executes success plans
    • Customer Success Operations/Marketing
      • Responsible for documentation of process
      • Gathers team metrics for internal performance
      • Creates collateral for the team (QBR's etc.)
      • Creates communication templates (e.g. Outage, Service Degradation, General Announcement)
    • Customer Success Engineer
      • Similar to a TAM
      • Expectation is to be a technical resource for the CSM 
  • Andreas Knoefel
    Andreas Knoefel Member Posts: 74 Expert
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    edited May 2020
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    I found it problematic to have only one career track which leads into management. For one, you are losing your best contributor, and secondly a great contributor doesn't make a good team leader or executive.

    Instead I set up multiple tracks that you can progress into and move to laterally. With a small CS team, the CSM's are like Swiss Army knives and do everything. Later on, I can split the team into TECHNICAL: TAM's/Architect/Enterprise Architect, SUPPORT: level 1,2,3, CSM: level 1,2,3, BACKOFFICE:Admin, Data science, COmmunity,Marketing and EXECUTIVE: team lead, leader of teams, executive. 

    As long as possible, the compensation is in lock step on the tracks. I had Sr. Architects earn more than me on the top, because they were worth it. (or may be my negotiation skills are under-developed???)