Customer Success Strategy - Specialize by Market/Industry/Solution etc. or One Size Fits All??

Jill Russack
Jill Russack Member Posts: 1 Navigator
edited August 2023 in CS Org Conversations
Hello there! This is my first post and I so appreciate any feedback this amazing community can provide.  I currently lead a team within our larger Customer Success team that supports two "single vertical" markets in Long Term and Post Acute healthcare.  These are new-ish markets for the company, and a few years ago, we were not structured this way - All CSMs handled multiple verticals, even though the verticals themselves were different end users, with different workflows, and different challenges (not to mention, different solutions to handle the challenges).  What occurred then was a REALLY bad NPS score, an overall market sentiment that we were not designed for these markets, and that our people did not know the market and it has taken us several years to bounce back from these things (although we have with the structure I put into place nearly 3 years ago.)  At the same time, over the last 3 years, the company has grown and of course, "we need to scale."  My question to this community is - Do you think it's reasonable to expect Customer Success Managers with portfolios in the range of 100-300 customers to be able to support multiple verticals with a range of solutions and services?  Should we expect a certain level of CSM to do this? 

I am working through a proposal for "CSM market specialists" (role title still TBD - what do you think?) to support the CSM team, in order to scale - the concept would be that these specialists could come into the conversation when the CSM can't dive deep into the 2nd or 3rd level questions about market, solution, workflow, etc. They would be held accountable to metrics like overall CSM NRR, and potentially platform adoption, referenceable customers....still working through this as well of course but some ideas.  They're also responsible for CSM strategy of these markets and help in enabling CSM with content/education.  Kind of an extension of our Enablement team, but doesn't fall under that team (I think?)  VERY important to note - our Sales team sells all verticals and our CSMs partner with Sales to influence CSQLs, so we have tight alignment with Sales.  We have a Professional Services team that handles billable services and consulting PRE-CSM, but we need support on best practice, consulting on workflow, etc. POST implementation (sometimes years after) With high turnover of staff, it's a regular occurrence to ask our CSMs "What's the best way to get x?" "How can I solve for Y?" and our CSMs are trying to answer across all verticals, which has been an incredible challenge. 

Would love any ideas, feedback, recommendations based on what I've noted above.  I am struggling with business case, as this is not a billable service so I'm really relying on outcomes of enabling CSM.  Thank you all!!