Anyone have experience having other CSM's come speak to your CSM team?

Emily McIlwain
Emily McIlwain Member Posts: 7 Seeker
edited May 2021 in CS Org Conversations

Posting for the first time, I have been looking for ways to train my Customer Success Managers.  One of our hypothesis is to tap into outside CSM's to come and speak to the team about their experience as CSM's.  The goal would be to illustrate what "right" looks like from an outside perspective.  I imagine these working much like a Lunch and Learn. 

Does anyone have experience doing something like this?


Does anyone have anyone they would highly recommending tapping into their talent?  

Thank you in advance. 
Emily McIlwain


  • Katie Baker
    Katie Baker Member Posts: 9 Seeker
    edited May 2021
    We use Gainsight and a couple years ago when we were really pushing to move our CSM role from CS/Support to strictly success functions we had our Gainsight CSM  do a 'day in the life' presentation (she also did one for our team managers that was great). Basically, she walked through what she did on a daily basis utilizing their software (of course) to support her customers, what she looked for as 'red flags', how to manage/monitor her book of business, prioritization, etc. While it was very geared toward what their platform could do, our team found it really helpful to hear from another CSM...especially one in a company setting the standard for the CSM role. Not exactly what you're asking for, but I definitely think hearing from fellow CSMs is a great idea! Do you have a software vendor that could do something similar? or maybe reach out to others in your industry who are a little farther along in their Customer Success journey so they can speak the same 'language' as your CSMs?
  • Maddie Blumenthal
    Maddie Blumenthal Member Posts: 5 Seeker
    edited May 2021
    Hey Emily!

    I've had solid success with this.  We were going through a major product update at a company I was at - we had to transition all our customers to a new platform.  We tapped into all our networks asking for CSMs who had been through a similar transition to discuss best practices, how to manage communication, etc.   We tapped into our networks by asking other employees in our company if they knew anyone and asking via LinkedIn.  CSMs generally jump at the chance to knowledge share!  If you can narrow down a specific area you are looking to improve - a more focused topic - it might prove to be more useful to your team!

    Hope that helps!
  • Xavier Perez
    Xavier Perez Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited May 2021
    Hi Emily,

    I've been thinking about something similar over the last few weeks but maybe with a different lens. My company is about to transition into a SaaS model and I'm helping launch many CS initiatives. While the L&D approach from a CS speaker may bring different value to us, I'd be curious to know if you are successful in finding anyone that would be supportive.

    As I do more research into CS frameworks, it's apparent that there is not one way to find success. So, maybe it might be a good idea to seek different schools of thought leadership outside of what we expect training should look like. 

    I'd be happy to collaborate on any level. If something sparks, reach out and we can chat. I see this as a Zoom Summit / Seminar / Panel Discussion.

  • Ashton Liu
    Ashton Liu Member Posts: 29 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited May 2021
    First of all, please let me know what works/doesn't work for your team once you've completed this. 

    I think there are some great comments posted above. I'm adding my two cents in case it's relevant. My organization's CS work is so domain-specific that you cannot hire a generic CSM to come in and do it, and as a result we tend to hire from the industry. For similar reasons, we struggled to adopt CS best practices earlier in our development. If I were to go back and do it again, I would approach it like a discussion or white-board session where we all discuss the customer journey, and how to incorporate best CS practices while keeping a positive customer experience. I recall that we did get a day-in-the-life presentation from our Gainsight CSM at the time, but it was too far removed for us.
  • Joe Spellman
    Joe Spellman Member Posts: 3 Navigator
    edited May 2021
    I really like this idea. I think it can be very helpful to hear what the other CSMs are going through. Often CSMs might think the grass is greener other places and/or other orgs really have this whole function nailed down. I've rarely found that to be the case ;)

    But having peer contacts to bounce ideas off of and/or hear how they address challenges can help the team come up with new approaches and/or see what's possible. They can ask questions of the other CSMs that might be questions they are afraid to ask internally. And they can be reminded this job is complex and requires constant exploration of what others in the industry are doing. If only to keep one step ahead of your competitors.
  • Emily McIlwain
    Emily McIlwain Member Posts: 7 Seeker
    edited May 2021

    Thanks Maddie, my goal is to help expand the view of Customer Success and help start defining what right looks like.  My believe is having a set agenda for the discussion would be necessary.  I'm thinking things like: 

    * Tracking Health Score

    * Managing expectations

    * Tracking data

    * Client segmentation 

    * Value of personas 

    * Communication techniques 

    I appreciate your thoughts!


  • Emily McIlwain
    Emily McIlwain Member Posts: 7 Seeker
    edited May 2021

    I actually think this is would be helpful.  Especially for those coming from roles OTHER than Customer Success. I have a mentor and top notch CSM's that have worked for me in the past that I'll like tap into for a presentation of this sort. 

    Thanks for the idea.
  • Matt Myszkowski
    Matt Myszkowski Member Posts: 143 Expert
    First Comment Photogenic First Anniversary
    edited May 2021
    Hi Emily,

    This is a great way to train your team in a practical and cost-effective way. In previous roles I have used CSMs/CSM leaders that I have a close relationship with to talk about their experiences, the do's and don'ts, processes, etc. I have also been asked a few times to come in and present on key topics (mostly about my approach to outcomes - shock, for those of you that know me!).

    I think @Alex Farmer suggested something similar on LinkedIn a few months back so interesting if he has any recent thoughts.

    BUt all in all, go for it, great idea!
  • Alex Farmer
    Alex Farmer Member Posts: 62 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment GGR Blogger 2021
    edited June 2021
    Thanks for looping me in Matt!  @Emily McIlwain I asked a similar question on LinkedIn and was blown away by the reaction:

    I've already hosted one CS leader and hosting another next week - really good feedback from my team and think its a great way to exchange information and also challenge your company's thinking.  
  • Kevin Mitchell Leonor
    Kevin Mitchell Leonor Member Posts: 248 Expert
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    edited June 2021
    I'm open to speaking with your team. Just let me know what material you are needing. I could even do a Q&A