Going from CSM to Manager of CS?

Kevin Mitchell Leonor
Kevin Mitchell Leonor Member Posts: 249 Expert
100 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
edited August 15 in CS Conversations
I am now completing my 3rd year in Customer Success and entering my 4th. I am building towards working as a manager-director. 

The challenge many people looking to make this jump are having is the lack of CS Management experience. Myself, I have 9 years of management experience, but only 8 months of that in CS and that was just really managing two CS Associates.

A lot of companies have told me they want to see CS management and are discounting my sales management or operations management experience. So here is what I have been doing to gain the experience without the title.

1) As a new hire at Zoom, I have been leading a new hire CS group to help upskill the team and collaborated with my manager to drive the agenda.
2) I have graduated a cohort of 10 that is now working in SaaS/CS that I am still actively supporting while coaching a second cohort that I am aiming to get them their first SaaS/CS position

What are some other ways I could bridge any gaps in hiring if I don't have the Manager of CS or Manager, Customer Success title?


  • Jordan Silverman
    Jordan Silverman Member, Success Network Members Posts: 103 Expert
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Likes Photogenic
    edited November 2021
    Congrats Kevin, sounds like you are well on your way and making great strides!

    I think being a CSM is some of the best training future managers can get. As a CSM our responsibility is to remove barriers and obstacles stopping clients from being successful.

    As a manager you have the same job, only you are removing the barriers stopping your team from being successful.

    Few things I have done when trying to level up:
    - Work more cross functionally - lots of times other teams (marketing, product, engineering) may lack knowledge of the software. Working with them can help give you great experience
    - Offer to train a new hire (similar to what you are doing) - taking a new hire under your wing and onboarding them is some of the best practice you can get as a new manager. I find Managers of CS are always looking for people who want to help with this undertaking
  • Anita Toth
    Anita Toth Member Posts: 245 Expert
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments Photogenic
    edited November 2021
    I can't add any advice Kevin, but the fact that you're looking for assistance means you'll find exactly what you need to reach that goal. If anything comes my way that might be useful for you, I'll DM you on LinkedIn and pass it on.