Topics/Ideas for CSM Team Meetings

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tjwwheel
tjwwheel Member Posts: 18 Thought Leader
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edited September 2021 in CS Org Conversations
Hey Folks! We are looking at getting our CSM team together for a team meeting, and I'd love to hear ideas that others have to make in person team meetings interactive, fun and productive. We will be tackling some of the basics as refreshers (since we have new folks, have been remote, etc) such as role best practices, working with internal teams, unresponsive account reviews, and so on. 

Does anyone here have other suggestions or ideas that have made their team meetings productive? We will be together for 2 full days at the office and would love to hear how others have engaged their teams outside of the 'standard' exercises. 

Thanks!!
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  • Brian Hansen
    Brian Hansen Member Posts: 75 Expert
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    edited October 2021
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    This sounds exciting, Travis. A couple of ideas come to mind - objection handling role play can be fun,and you could hold a session about question asking, getting down to the level of "so what?/why?". The goal of that session would be to talk through what your CSMs are trying to get to with contacts - peeling back superficial to dig deeper into goals/wants/needs. You could ask them to study a webinar by Bob London prior to joining...he's got some great question asking ideas and content.
  • Santhosh Mahizhan
    Santhosh Mahizhan Member Posts: 1 Navigator
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    edited October 2021
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    Hi Travis, just to throw some of my thoughts here. I see most of the organisations are not into a pure customer led growth approach which is very important for future of CS. Mostly companies are into PLG and SLG. May be they can brainstorm on what is CLG is all about and how it is possible to bring the CLG model into an org. 

    Also CS is all about team work may be it could be with customers or peers. So there can be some games organised which will show them how important is team work and knowledge sharing Teamwork activity! - ruggedthug | Teamwork activities, Team building  activities, Team building games
  • Will Stevenson
    Will Stevenson Member Posts: 16 Thought Leader
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    edited October 2021
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    It sounds like this is a team "onsite", so my response is a little different, but I love this so much I have to share. 

    In the past I've had weekly team meetings and I tasked each person to bring a "team learning" every week. So it's essentially a live knowledge share. It could be anything from something product related to something team or customer specific. The team really engaged with this and it drastically increases the learning velocity. 

    Hope this is helpful!

  • Jene' Stewart
    Jene' Stewart Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited October 2021
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    Hello Travis - internal QBRs are my favorite!!!  Love building the team and driving excellence across skill sets.  I would like to know more about what you mean by 'tackling some of the basics as refreshers' so that I am not repetitive here, so feel free to contact me offline if interested.

    Here are some ideas to get started on the planning.
    Opening Sessions:
      - Cullture - Have each team member describe the team using 1 word.  Write this baseline down, then do the same at the end of your time together - this will help you understand the impact of the 2 days on the team and what they learned about each other/if you moved the needle on the team vibe with this time commitment.
     -  Group Norms - listing out this on whiteboard at the beginning of the session helps to create the safe space you need as provide a foundation for the 2 days ahead.  Stimulates more free flow of ideas to leave as a reminder (i.e. judge free zone, no silly questions, be positive, give constructive feedback, no multi-tasking, active listening and participation, etc.)
     -  Goal Setting - layout the aspirations from you as leader for what you are hoping to accomplish in the next 2 days and allow the team to share what they want to get out of this time together as well.  Once agreed upon, it is nice to list (on wall whiteboard) and gives you something to revisit at the end to ensure that you measure the success of this precious time away from 'normal' activities

    Team Building:
     -  Team Motivators (I have a powerpoint to guide this exercise) but essentially each person answers a series of questions individually and then you share across the group how many of each of the person's answers fall into the various categories of 6 motives (Achievement, Autonomy, Power/Influence, Relationship, Security, Balance/Comfort) - you can then review as a team where you fall on the spectrum which will lead to better communication and delivery going forward
     -  Here are a couple resources to help give reasons and ideas for team building exercises:
                  - https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/creative-team-outing-ideas?utm_source=morning_brew
                  - https://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2012/02/my-favorite-team-builder-perfect-for-team-cohesion.html

    Happy to discuss how to make the 'business discussions' part of your meeting more meaningful as well.  This is what I consider the 'meat' of the sessions and there are several ways to liven up the training portions that you need to cover.  For example, we did a 'Question Master' brainstorm to help the team think about how they engage with partners in more meaningful ways.  We also did an "Objections-OverRuled!" exercise to tackle the most common (and difficult) pushback items from customers.

    Finally,  the biggest impact I have made with these "Internal QBRs" was to incorporate games.  Quick 5 minute brain breaks throughout the day were hands down the biggest hit with the team and helped keep them excited and engaged with the learnings.  There are several examples I have used (essentially after each training/presentation) that were high energy and fun which got the team moving around and didn't really take us way off course to get back at it in a brief time.  Those who despise all-day meetings are even a fan if you keep it fun and not feeling like all-day meetings;)

    Happy to discuss further if you are interested!

    Make it a great day,
    Jene' Stewart
    Team Builder - Customer Success/Account Management Leader
  • Chad Horenfeldt
    Chad Horenfeldt Member Posts: 57 Expert
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    edited October 2021
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    A few ideas:
    -What is the mission and values of your team? Consider an exercise where you define these. You need to know your "why".
    -You can learn more about each other by doing a strengths finders or Disc assessment
    -Role playing as suggested is great
    -have other teams come to the meeting from product, marketing etc.. Do an "ask me anything?"
    -Do something fun. You can ask questions such as where did you grow up and how many siblings do you have? Then go deeper and ask "what are you most afraid of?". 
    -Start off with an exercise of writing a letter to your future self or someone that is important to you. Describe how things will be in a year's time.
  • Tine Van Dyck
    Tine Van Dyck Member Posts: 13 Thought Leader
    edited October 2021
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    Hi Travis,

    Some additional ideas...

    I usually like to start our bigger team meetings with a retrospective - looking back at the past months/year, ask the team what are you proud of? What could have gone better? Lessons learned, these type of things. And I also like to finish with looking into the future - ask the team what they would like to accomplish in the coming 3 to 6 months and what do they need for that.

    The very first meeting I had with my current team, I also did a DIKA workshop (what do we want to Drop, Improve, Keep, Add) to get insights in where we want to change the way we work. This allowed us to define a number of initiatives to work on. Even if you already have solid CSM processes in place, it's an interactive way of looking at what is going well and what could be done differently. You can even narrow it down to a very specific topic, like collaboration with certain teams or working with a specific customer segment.

    Seeing that you have new team members, you could also ask each of them to share 3 pictures (you can spread it throughout the 2 days) about them/their lives and have them share  story around it. Another thing that can be fun to do is 2 truths, 1 lie: everybody prepares 3 statements about themselves of which 2 are true and 1 is a lie. The group then has to guess which one it the lie.

    Hope this helps!
    Tine
  • tjwwheel
    tjwwheel Member Posts: 18 Thought Leader
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    edited October 2021
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    Thanks Brian! Definitely adding objection handling to the list - we used to do this in sales and there is no reason it shouldn't transfer over to CS!
  • tjwwheel
    tjwwheel Member Posts: 18 Thought Leader
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    edited October 2021
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    Thanks Chad - we are looking at having other teams come in to cover areas like product, marketing, etc as you mentioned. Important to keep the CSM team up to date on everything, as we are the front line to the customer. Great rec!
  • tjwwheel
    tjwwheel Member Posts: 18 Thought Leader
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    edited October 2021
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    Agreed - and combined with one of the other points below, really doing a look back/learning session on what has been achieved and what could have been improved over the past (x) amount of time.
  • tjwwheel
    tjwwheel Member Posts: 18 Thought Leader
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    edited October 2021
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    Can't forget some sort of team building activity - great reminder!
  • tjwwheel
    tjwwheel Member Posts: 18 Thought Leader
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    edited October 2021
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    Thanks Tine - I really like the look back/lessons learned. Especially for the newer folks, hopefully they can avoid some of the little hiccups the rest of us had to make. We are definitely doing something similar to your "DIKA" Idea, trying to ensure that there is feedback taken back to leadership on where the most busy work is in the role and how we could spend more time customer facing. Dinners at night are a great time to showcase pictures and hear about folks lives outside of work, absolutely looking forward to that part!
  • tjwwheel
    tjwwheel Member Posts: 18 Thought Leader
    First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited October 2021
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    Jene' - thank you for taking the time to list this all out, extremely helpful. "Back to the basics" for me more so meant covering things like:
    -WHY do we do what we do, and HOW does it impact the company
    -What is expected from a CSM at our org, and how do we define being successful at it
    -Tools we have to use, support system, etc. 

    The team building is a crucial part, in the past with the smaller team it was easy just to get out to dinner/activities and we all meshed really well. Now as the team has grown, this part may need to become a bit more formal so thank you for a few of your ideas! Absolutely want to break up the all-day meetings as much as possible and keep everyone semi-focused :)
  • Brittany Newman
    Brittany Newman Member Posts: 7 Contributor
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    edited October 2021
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    Hey Travis, 

    Just wanted to chime in here: if you're looking for some "outside the box" thinking, there's a great book I just got called "Creative Acts for Curious People: How to think, create, and lead in unconventional ways". 

    Cheers!