Reimagining Team Structure

Natalie White
Natalie White Member Posts: 2 Navigator
edited July 2020 in CS Org Conversations

Currently my org has two levels in the Customer Experience team; 
1. CSMs 
2. Team Lead 
Previously we had reps split to have either an Onboarding focus or Retention/Growth focus which resulted in a couple of areas we were overlapping on when it came to incentive.  

What are some of the team orgs you have worked in or implemented that have worked well? 



  • Will Pagden
    Will Pagden Member Posts: 99 Expert
    edited July 2020

    I have seen a team that work in "Swim lanes". So they have a CS team lead per vertical, then within that vertical they have an onboarding specialist, First year contract CSM focused on ROI and growth, then a 2+ year CSM who is lower touch but expert in the product to try and drive future adoption. They may have more than 1 of each per vertical.

    Certainly an interesting approach but it worked for them!

  • Jenny Leman
    Jenny Leman Member Posts: 15 Thought Leader
    edited July 2020

    @Natalie White  --- curious how you're incentivizing them now vs then?  How is the structure of goals different between the two options you've run?


  • gurd3v
    gurd3v Member Posts: 70 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited July 2020

    We implemented a "Customer Experience" team which leads all churn/escalated initiatives. The initial org structure had been an implementation team and a customer success team, one pre activation one post activation. We are a high touch implementation though. Leads carry about 50% of a ramped CSM account load and are typically checking in with the CSM's in their pod to ensure alignment and achievement against goals. 

    If you don't need a dedicated implementation team, you could have a CSM own the customer relationship and have a support team executing the implementation and ongoing support of a customer. CSM can then manage churn/upsell conversations, and as you scale you could start thinking about putting a resource to not just combat churn, but collect data and champion change internally. 

  • Jim Ashley
    Jim Ashley Member Posts: 7 Contributor
    First Anniversary
    edited July 2020

    I have my org split by onboarding and CSM. 

    I have an onboarding team that is comprised of an onboarding manager and then a four onboarding consultants.

    Currently, I have 2 CSMs (hiring for a third) that are assigned a BOB that is a mix of our high growth, key retention, and strategic accounts. 

    The onboarding team owns the customer until GoLive. After, it is the CSMs. The key metrics for Onboarding are # of go lives, TTGL, and quality metric we measured based off support tickets post 30 days.  

    The CSM team is bonused on retention, upsell, and CSAT. 


  • Paul Mason
    Paul Mason Member Posts: 8 Contributor
    First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited July 2020

    Our Customer Success/Experience organization has several layers. After the Implementation Manager has successfully onboarded the customer the account is transitioned to a CSM (that owns the overall relationship for a certain defined book of business based on ARR) and at that time they are also introduced to our support team.  Beyond that, in our CS org we have a professional services team that works across all of these roles to assist the CSM and customers on key projects to ensure customers are achieving their KPIs and adding measurable value.

  • Jarren Pinchuck
    Jarren Pinchuck Member Posts: 38 Expert
    edited July 2020

    Hi Natalie, I like the model you mention where you have a team that is focused on enablement and implementation (onboarding) and then another team focused on growth and adoption.

    Your challenge with this; "a couple of areas we were overlapping on when it came to incentives."

    I'd suggest that team structure should be dictated by company goals or even better, customer needs. If you're early stage and not necessarily volume-focused then having one team could work. However, as a company grows and therefore the teams, so the need for segmentation may arise. So if a structure works for your customers then it shouldn't be discounted just because the incentives overlap. That can be easily remedied but creating team incentives.

    In my mind, and it does depend on your product, but training and onboarding is quite different from retention and can be incentivised as such. This structure also gives CSMs a growth path within your business. E.g jnr CSMs could start off in training and learn the product and segments well then they could be promoted to CSMs which look after retention. Once the business grows on that structure you can hire )or promote) Team Leaders to run the teams and also potentially double as Enterprise CSMs if needed.

    Anyway, that structure has worked well for me in the past. Hope it makes sense, I am sure I could find a flow diagram somewhere.