Landing First CSM Role

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Archive User
Archive User Member Posts: 24 Thought Leader
edited August 2023 in CS Conversations

Hi All!

Thank you for accepting me into the group. I was referred after networking and reaching out to several VP of CSM (upwards of 100 individuals). 

By way of introduction, my name is Ariel and I am looking to get into the Customer Success position and wanted to gather insights from successful and senior CSM individuals in this group as to the best ways to go about landing my first role. 

A little more about my skills and interests:

  • I have 10 years of sales experience
  • Used to own and manage every aspect of a multi-million dollar residential construction company before I sold it
  • Have recently been a full-desk (New Business development and candidate recruiting) recruiter for Tech sales professionals for roughly the past 4 years (6 years total recruitment experience). 
  • I am passionate about the customer experience, retention, up-selling and account management.
  • I love to learn about new products and thoroughly enjoy investigating issues to problem solve

I am the kind of person who would rather take a process or product and figure out a way to make it better/profitable/more efficient than to create it from scratch. #ProblemSolver #Fixer

Had I known about the CSM position years ago I would have started my career with that growth path in mind, but we live and we learn and we adjust.

While I am sure this isn't the appropriate platform to discuss this, I'm thinking outside the box and looking to connect with other CSM professionals to gather the best advice and tactics to make my dream come true!

Huge thank you in advance for any suggestions and help!

Comments

  • Alex Tran
    Alex Tran Member Posts: 38 Expert
    First Anniversary
    edited July 2020
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    Hi @Ariel Turner ! Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn! https://www.linkedin.com/in/alextran91/

     

    If you have success stories of how you've made others successful and coached/guided them along, that would prove very valuable in Customer Success land. 

    The skills between Sales and CS overlap quite a bit. Both roles require you to persuade and convince others to take a certain path and problem solve. 

  • tjwwheel
    tjwwheel Member Posts: 18 Thought Leader
    First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited July 2020
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    Hi @Ariel Turner please connect with me on LinkedIn as well and I can look to connect you with one of my colleagues who came from "outside" the tech world or that didn't start their career in CS. 

     

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/travis-wheeler-4855a741/

  • Laura Lakhwara
    Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited July 2020
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    @Ariel Turner - Happy to help! I made this transfer and can advise. Let's connect on LinkedIn and chat. 

    I'm OOO until 8/4, but would love to talk after my return. This is definitely achievable! :) I was in your boat 4 years ago.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauralakhwara/

  • gurd3v
    gurd3v Member Posts: 70 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited July 2020
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    Welcome! Having gone from CS to Sales/BD and now back to CS, happy to talk about some learnings I've had. Feel free to connect with me on LI here, would be more than happy to chat further. 

  • Scott Smith
    Scott Smith Member Posts: 15 Thought Leader
    Photogenic First Anniversary
    edited July 2020
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    Hi @Ariel Turner have made the transition myself and happy to provide some insight. Feel free to connect and reach out on LinkedIn

  • Julie Pine Parker
    Julie Pine Parker Member Posts: 6 Contributor
    edited July 2020
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    Hi Ariel, I am in a similar position myself and really resonated with your post. Please feel free to connect on LI and perhaps we can help each other with our journeys! https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliepineparker

  • Archive User
    Archive User Member Posts: 24 Thought Leader
    edited July 2020
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    Hi everyone!
    I am in a similar position to both @Ariel Turner and @Julie Pine Parker .
    Glad to see several professionals offering their contacts!

  • Mahesh Motiramani
    Mahesh Motiramani Member Posts: 21 Thought Leader
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    edited July 2020
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    Hi @Ariel Turner I transitioned to CS after spending several years in Engineering, Delivery, Pre-Sales, Sales, Program Management, etc. While the past experiences in the Customer facing roles did come in handy while operating as a CSM, the experience of working with internal teams in my past roles, made the CSM role easier I think. In any case, I am happy to offer my insights and invite you to connect on LinkedIN here

    Good Luck!

  • Archive User
    Archive User Member Posts: 24 Thought Leader
    edited July 2020
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    That’s a really good point! Thank you, I’ll be sure to incorporate that into interviews and frame my resume to reflect. 
     

    This happens to be a large part of my early career focus so I’m glad this is transferable because it’s also what I am passionate about doing. 

  • Archive User
    Archive User Member Posts: 24 Thought Leader
    edited July 2020
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    Love this thank you! Request sent. 

  • Archive User
    Archive User Member Posts: 24 Thought Leader
    edited July 2020
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    That’s so great to hear so thank you in advance! Have a great vacation and request has been sent! 

  • Archive User
    Archive User Member Posts: 24 Thought Leader
    edited July 2020
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    I was beginning to think that I had to be a BDR before I could transition into a CSM position.

    Request sent! 

  • Archive User
    Archive User Member Posts: 24 Thought Leader
    edited July 2020
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    Beautiful! Request sent, really looking forward to hearing more! 

  • Archive User
    Archive User Member Posts: 24 Thought Leader
    edited July 2020
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    Official partners in crime to accomplish our goal! Let’s do this! 

  • Archive User
    Archive User Member Posts: 24 Thought Leader
    edited July 2020
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    Love this, I have been hearing that a CSM position is a lot of cross functional work in the same way that a product manager is. How do you say those are similar or different in that aspect?

  • Will Pagden
    Will Pagden Member Posts: 99 Expert
    edited July 2020
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    Hi @Ariel Turner - Feel free to connect on LI, happy to also have a chat. When I recruit for my teams I look at the much bigger picture than just previous experience. 

    You have a good background and I would imagine some great transferable skills.

    The most important thing to remember however, is to just be you! Stay true to yourself, dont become someone else, something you want to be as that cover will be broken. Be authentic, confident and go and smash it.

  • Kevin Mitchell Leonor
    Kevin Mitchell Leonor Member Posts: 248 Expert
    First Comment Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited July 2020
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    It's the golden question. 

     

    Here's what I'll say. I have attended so many Customer Success meetups and I am finding that CSMs are commonly created by one common thread. They were applying for a CS role in a field they have experience.

    Fintech CSMs came from finance. My colleagues at RingCentral never did Customer Success before. They came from telecom who we compete against. I came from hospitality and worked for a hospitality tech company as a CSM.

     

    But that isn't the only qualification, it just gets you past the pesky "must have SaaS experience" requirement that stonewalls so many applicants. But companies are willing to forego that requirement in exchange for industry experience. Why? Because if customers know you used to do their job, they listen to you more.

  • Ariel Turner
    Ariel Turner Member Posts: 8 Contributor
    edited July 2020
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    Thank you @Will Pagden Its so good to hear individuals in your position taking a holistic view of someones experience. 

    I have connected and spoken with several Sr Leaders in CSM and consistently people have mentioned I have numerous transferable skills and after having networked with so many individuals I believe it. 

    Now to find a company who thinks like you :)

  • Ariel Turner
    Ariel Turner Member Posts: 8 Contributor
    edited July 2020
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    That makes perfect sense and I really appreciate you finding and pointing that out. 

    My early career was in construction and now I am in recruitment primarily for the tech space. I wonder what your thoughts are on the fact that I know the CSM role well from a recruitment standpoint rather than a specific product?

  • Mahesh Motiramani
    Mahesh Motiramani Member Posts: 21 Thought Leader
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    edited July 2020
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    @Ariel Turner There are indeed a lot of common skills between a CSM role and a PM role. The key differences are the Objectives, key results and PRIMARY metrics these roles are tasked to achieve. So, for the CSM, the objective is driving customer value, Company's growth and net-retention. Whereas, for the PM, the objective would likely be creating (and enhancing) the product value-prop and product-market-fit, drive company growth and overall product consumption.

    There are many good sources to learn more about the intersection and divergence of these roles. You can look here and here.

  • Ariel Turner
    Ariel Turner Member Posts: 8 Contributor
    edited July 2020
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    @Zhenya Kuhne Here is the comment I was referring to.

  • Ariel Turner
    Ariel Turner Member Posts: 8 Contributor
    edited July 2020
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    @Mahesh Motiramani Thank you for providing those links and the detail. 

    About a year ago I was interested in becoming a PM but opted out of it due to my lack of technical experience but reading what you put, I am glad I chose not to be a PM as the CSM role aligns more closely with what my passions are. 

  • Laura Lakhwara
    Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited August 2020
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    Hi @Ariel Turner @Julie Pine Parker,

    Back from vacation and resurfacing this thread, what if we hosted a call on this topic? Thoughts @Jay Nathan and @Jeff Breunsbach? I would be happy to share my story or moderate from the list of great CSM leads commenting below.


    I just got off a call with a woman looking to transfer into CS, and I ran through the following:

    Draft Agenda: 
    1. Personal stories 
    2. What makes a great CSM?
    3. Transferrable skills
    4. Looking for CS opportunities
    5. Resources

    FYI - Here is my list of CS resources.

    Thanks!

    - Laura