Creating more differentiation within CS career growth framework

Peter Tight
Peter Tight Member Posts: 1 Navigator
edited August 2023 in CS Org Conversations

Hi all, 

I recently took over as the Director of CS for a 20 person CSM org. Our career growth ladder for CSMs is as follows: 

  • Customer Success Specialist (no previous CS experience required) 
  • Customer Success Manager
  • CSM II
  • Senior CSM 
  • Principal CSM

We do a few things now to differentiate between CSSs and CSMs but as our relatively junior team advances through the career growth ladder, I'm looking for ideas about how we can create differentiation between a CSM and a CSM II or between a CSM II and a Senior CSM. Things I'm considering:

  • Adjusting KPIs by role (RUM, EBRs completed, expansion, etc)
  • Giving high dollar clients only to tenured CSMs
  • Limiting conferences/client travel to tenured CSMs
  • Allowing tenured CSMs to own big OKRs
I'm sure there are things that folks in this community have tried and I'd welcome your feedback on what does and doesn't work to motivate CSMs to stay engaged as they progress through the CSM career growth framework. 


Director, CS 


  • Andrew Marks
    Andrew Marks Member Posts: 54 Expert
    Office Hours Host 2022 5 Likes First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited March 2022
    I would consider adding the following elements to your list
    • Completion of product or industry certifications - as a requirement to move through the various stages.
    • Smaller books of business for more tenured CSM's.
    • Contribution back to the practice - as a requirement at different levels.
    • Quantifying levels of experience (e.g. you need to have X years of experience doing Y).
  • Valde Sandberg
    Valde Sandberg Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited March 2022

    Depending on the nature of your accounts and your CS strategy going forward, you may want to consider adding the option to specialize further, as your CSM advance. In broad terms something like: 

    - Mass Market CSM (+ Senior/Principal), specialized in doing scalable things to keep your customers successful
    - Key Account CSM (+ Senior/Principal), specialized in fewer, more high touch accounts
    - CS analyst (+ Senior/Principal), specialized in owning and mining your solutions to analyze customer behavior in order to supercharge the work of your hands on CSMs

    The Key Account people at least, you would prefer to be fairly tenured CSMs generally - however I myself would want at least one heavy hitter on my mass market team as well.