Author – Russell Bourne 3/24/2021
If you’re new to the Customer Success profession, or if you’re considering a move into it, this article is for you. The focus here is on individual contributors.
Right off the bat, there are two major positives to draw on. First, the Customer Success community is incredibly supportive. People who are drawn to CS tend to be deeply empathetic and view their work as a team sport - both in their company and in the CS community. If you’d like to find a mentor, many will be willing.
Second, you may have already been a CSM and not know it. If you’ve worked in any kind of Hospitality or Retail role, you have experience helping customers reach the outcomes they desired. You know what it means to listen, adapt to changing needs, find workarounds if conditions aren’t perfect, and follow up to make sure they came away satisfied. Have confidence that you can draw from these transferable skills.
Unlike other departments, Customer Success can mean many different things across different companies. Although that may seem overwhelming, with a little clarity, a job-seeker has a lot of choice about what kind of role they pursue.
For example, how technical do you want to be? Some CS organizations are responsible for customer implementations and/or Tech Support. Large organizations have likely specialized those roles, where smaller organizations look for generalists who can perform them alongside other CSM duties.
On the other hand, how much commercial responsibility do you enjoy having? CSMs range from owning:
- All Renewals and Expansions
- Renewals only (expansions are passed to an Expansion CSM or Account Executive)
- Expansions only (working as a team with a Renewal CSM)
- No commercial responsibility (renewals and expansions are passed to a Commercial CSM or Account Executive). Typically a non-commercial CSM would instead own things like adoption or health scoring metrics.
Most CS roles include acting as the “voice of the customer” internally - in other words, communicating customer feedback to your company. It’s important to have a good system for getting and sorting feedback so that you can present it to others in a clear, actionable way.
No matter the CS path you choose, know that today the field is not only thriving, but still growing. In closing - lean on the community!