How to Become an Entry Level Customer Success Manager

customer success manager entry level guide

While Customer Success Management is generally a job that benefits from experience, this doesn’t mean that it’s absolutely necessary. In fact, one of my colleagues at a Series B scale-up is a CSM. It was his first job out of university.

In a one-on-one, he shared some details with me as how he got into the role, citing the experience that he used to persuade the hiring manager (also his manager in real life) to give him a chance. I’ll also sprinkle in some advice you can use to also get your foot in the door.

What do students do?

Not a trick question: what do students do? They… study of course. They learn things in order to get good marks so that eventually, they graduate with that magical piece of paper.

Of course, as part of studying, a good way to test your knowledge is to teach. That is what my colleague did. Fresh out of high school, he offered tuition services to people who were still in school as a bit of a side gig. Cast your mind back to high school or middle school. Remember differential equations, calculus and the like? How about physics transformations, chemistry formulas and biology flora and fauna?

My colleague simplified complex concepts for students going through school, which is a key skill required to excel as a customer success manager. It’s no surprise now that he’s absolutely killing it at work.

What have you done?

Sorry, couldn’t help it. 😂

Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that you probably have experience in some way, shape or form that you’re not even aware of that makes you a good candidate for customer success, even if you haven’t worked before. Think about:

  • social clubs that you’ve been a part of. Have you volunteered to help with “IT stuff”?
  • family is a good source of training as a CSM. Are you the guy or gal that people go to if their “Google” breaks?
  • if you’ve tried to improve any sort of process anywhere at your part-time job (or even a school project) and communicated this with everyone.

Chances are, if you’ve done something, there’s a way to communicate it as experience that can put you in good stead for your first entry level role in Customer Success.

What can you do?

“But Johnson”, I hear you say. “I’ve done nothing. Like, literally nothing.”

First, I don’t believe you. You’re not trying hard enough. But just for the benefit of the doubt, let’s say you really have been living under a rock. If you’re serious about a job in customer success, just start. Here are some ideas:

  • Look at the apps you like to use. Consider what you like and don’t like about the user experience. Write up a blog about it and post it. share it on LinkedIn (create a LinkedIn account if you haven’t done so yet).
  • Look online and see if there are people asking questions or complaining about how hard something is to do. Look for apps or websites. Make a response TikTok, blog, or YouTube video.
  • Volunteer at a library and be the guy that older folk can get help from with their tech queries. This last one is particularly useful, because if you can help oldies figure out tech, you can help anyone figure out tech.

Whatever you do, stick with it and start documenting it in a resume. Track the results if possible. Get comfortable talking with people and sharing your achievements. Before you know it, you’ll have the experience you’ll need and will be able to find your first IRL customer success manager role. Good luck!

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