Author – Jeremy Donaldson 5/12/2021
One morning I decided to ask my 4 year old daughter, “What does daddy do for work?”
“Daddy, you wake and have meetings. You take a break to have breakfast with me. Then you take me to preschool. You go back home for more meetings. You pick me up from preschool. We have lunch then you go take a work call while I nap. When I wake up, you have meetings. We will eat dinner and then we all go to bed.” - Chloe
BIG DAY! I have finally made it as a professional meeting attender!
There is a LOT of truth to Chloe’s summary of my day. Yes, I average 4+ hours a day in meetings; however, there is more to being a customer success manager than meetings.
Q: What does an average day as a CSM look like?
The schedule above is only for Mondays through Thursdays. Fridays are set apart for deeper dive, multiple hour projects where I will have little to no meeting interruptions.
Q: What types of activities are you engaged in, and how is the time allocated to each?
A: Daily breakdown:
Customer meetings 🡪 2 Hours (25%)
Internal collaboration 🡪 2 Hours (25%)
Escalations 🡪 1.5 Hour (18.75%)
Emails / slack / social 🡪 1 Hour (12.5%)
Business review / ROI prep 🡪 <30 minutes (<6.25%)
Strategic / special projects 🡪 <30 minutes (<6.25%)
CRM / Admin / reporting 🡪 1 Hour (18.75%)
*Assumes an 8-9/hr work day
Q: What methodology do you use for time management?
A: I have adapted “timeboxing” - the idea of allocating a certain amount of time to an activity in advance and then complete the activity within that time frame.
Timeboxing allows me to plan guilt free time for all activities – meetings, escalations, business reviews, scoping, implementation & onboarding, certification / e-learning, and even social media time.
One word of wisdom, if you choose to leverage timeboxing, make sure to bake-in “flex time” for those escalations and unplanned activities. It will make sure that other project won’t suffer being bumped or turn into future escalations. If you don’t need the time for unplanned events, repurpose the time for those urgent and/or important project.
Q: How do you balance competing priorities?
A: As a CSM, we are gatekeepers and guardians of the investment our customers have made into our products and services. This is why I use Eisenhower’s urgent or important matrix to help me prioritize all internal and customer facing activities (see below).
The CSM does NOT need to know all the answers; however, ranking each activity in your queue will make you focus on the most important and most urgent items first.
Urgent and Important (Planned, but often unplanned activities)
- Customer fire drills
- Leadership requests
- Quarter or fiscal year activities
Building and executing account success plans
Important but not (as) urgent (Tasks of strategic importance to your personal or professional career goals)
- Certifications / Continuing education
- Reviewing and revisioning processes
- Networking / idea sharing
Not important but urgent (Tasks that can and should be delegated or rescheduled whenever possible)
- Items where others are seeking your involvement or input
- If you declined, could the team carry on without you or reschedule?
Not urgent and not important (Tasks and activities that are distracting and should be avoided at all costs)
- Technical support triaging
- Only escalating tactical items
- Focusing only on the renewal
Q: What do I love the most about being a CSM?
A: The people. I love having the ability to positively influence the success of others.
“Sociologists tell us that even the most introverted individual will influence ten thousand other people during his or her lifetime!” – John C. Maxwell
Q: What do you love the least about being a CSM?
A: Anything admin or repetitive. Please don’t ask me to do the same thing twice!
Remember, CSMs are in the “people” business. We will be successful only when we understand and help other execute on what makes them successful.
“Sometimes you just need to give them (your customers) a hug. That will make them feel happy.” – Chloe