You’ve been looking to get out of your dead-end job and into a path with a bit more promise. One of those possibilities that’s within reach is as a Customer Success Manager in SaaS tech. Maybe you’ve looked at a few job ads, opened up a few position descriptions and can see a few similarities amongst them. But is there a definitive answer to what the responsibilities of a CSM actually are? That’s what I’m going to put together in this blog post, drawing on my own experience.
The following list isn’t exhaustive, but the main responsibilities I think a CSM in a tech company should be responsible for. It may be more than this, depending on the size of the company. Here it goes!
Growing your book of accounts is the main reason for the existence of a Customer Success Manager. Your book of accounts is the list of customers you look after. Ideally, what you should see is that every year, the average value of your customers goes up.
This might be from them buying more licenses, upgrading the purchase, or expanding the use of your product within their organization, say interstate or internationally.
Customer Health/Churn Management
On the flip side of the coin, there’s looking at the “bad side”, that is churn. Closely linked to this is customer health. If customers are unhealthy, that is, they aren’t using your digital SaaS regularly, key stakeholders leave, the accounts shrink instead of grow, then you have to kick into action churn management procedures.
No one likes doing it, but good CSMs are able to turn bad into good, maybe even turning customers who had once churned, bringing them back in as customer and helping them grow.
Customers are the best testimonial when it comes to referral business and word of mouth. Customers should be willing to provide unsolicited praise and comments about your company, which only comes about from a complete, positive experience that’s capped off by comprehensive customer success experience.
Along with the unsolicited praise, being able to call on them to act as product advocates, say at expos, trade shows, conventions and the like is also a key goal of being a CSM.
It’s crucial that you know your product inside out. Maybe not to the extent of knowing the code that builds it, but definitely knowing how it might be configured to help different customers achieve success. It might work out of the box and help most customers this way, but being able to show its different modes and formats is where you shine as a Customer Success Manager.
You may be called upon to do a demo with the sales team. It then becomes a skill set that you don’t show off the whole kit and kaboodle, but the main features that will seal the deal. Sometimes, less is more.
Lastly, helping improve and keep your product competitive in the marketplace is key. As the custodian of the customer relationship, you hold the keys to critical customer feedback that can take your product in the right direction, or mire it deeper into tech debt and endless bug fixes that will only slow your company down.
To do this well, raising feature requests and documenting the frequency of bug fixes, as well as instances where a specific workflow is occurring more and more often is how you excel in this area.
These five areas: account growth, customer health management, building advocates, product demos and product improvement are the core five responsibilities of a CSM. Is there anything else that I’ve missed? Or do you disagree with any of them? Let me know in the comments below…