customer success managers are the unsung heroes of the business world. People don’t realize how important they are to the success of a business. They are the ones who take care of all of those irritating customer service calls and messages, deal with the tricky ones and then work with the team to get them resolved. Customer success managers are also the ones that get the praise when things go well, or their team is successful, but they are often the first to get the blame when things go wrong.
When a company hires a product success manager, they’re committing to a person whose job it is to make sure the company knows when some of its products aren’t performing as expected. They’re the person who tells the company that their product is behind in sales, and they’re the one who tells them how to improve. They’re the one who’s got the power to make or break a company.
From the successes of the Lean Start-up method to the constant use of webinars and the ever-increasing popularity of social media, customer success teams of companies today are being asked to do more. As the sales cycle evolves, and customers become more sophisticated, companies are looking for ways to keep them engaged and loyal. But what makes for a successful customer success manager?. Read more about why do you want to be a customer success manager and let us know what you think.
A lot has been said about the sales process and the importance of having a strong customer service staff. However, there is one aspect of the process that we don’t hear much about: the critical function performed by a customer success manager.
But first, let’s clear the air with certain terminology.
What Is Customer Satisfaction?
Customer success is the process of ensuring that your consumers comprehend, absorb, and feel the value of your product or service throughout their relationship with you. Customer success teams work to enhance the customer experience in order to retain customers, reduce churn, and boost customer loyalty.
What Is a Customer Success Manager and What Do They Do?
Customer success management guarantees that your consumers fully comprehend, absorb, and feel the value of your product or service throughout their relationship with you.
So, what role does a customer success manager play?
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Once you’re close to settling on a contract, the customer success manager – sometimes known as a client success manager – begins working with your customers. They ensure that the customer knows the product they are purchasing and has all they need to begin using it. The position serves as a link between sales and customer service.
The primary purpose of the customer service manager is not to sell or give technical assistance. They are there to ensure that the client is satisfied with their purchase — before, after, and throughout the life of the product.
The position is just a decade old, yet it is growing at a pace of 34% each year. This is due to the increasing use of subscription and consumption-based services such as SaaS and cloud by businesses.
Customer happiness, repeat purchases, and a low churn rate are considerably more important in these “recurring-revenue” models. The customer success manager is critical to achieving this goal.
A typical sale to post-purchase route is shown below, along with the essential responsibilities that a customer success manager plays:
The prospect-to-customer path begins with a salesperson and concludes with a customer care or support staff. The customer success manager serves as a facilitator throughout this journey, guiding the customer through the sales process and transitioning them from sales to support.
I’ll explain what a customer success manager performs, how they fit into the prospect-to-customer sales cycle, and why they’re so important in this article.
At the pre-sale stage, the Customer Success Manager
At the pre-sales stage, the customer success manager’s primary responsibility is to show value to the client while also assisting sales in demonstrating proof of concept.
A customer success manager isn’t just another customer service representative. It is not the main responsibility of the customer success manager to answer technical questions or assist customers in configuring their software; rather, it is their responsibility to help them understand what their product can accomplish.
Excellent customer success managers are also crucial in assisting sales teams in closing transactions with complicated or difficult-to-demonstrate needs. While closing sales, savvy salespeople utilize the services of a customer success manager as a bargaining chip or value-added service.
During the pre-sales stage, a customer success manager also aids in the development of a good image of an organization’s assistance. The customer success manager is primarily responsible for the prospect’s first perception of the degree of assistance that can be anticipated from an organization by serving as a single point of contact for the prospect.
In an ideal world, every opportunity would be allocated to a customer success manager. This, however, is not always possible.
As a result, one of the first decisions every company should make is what criteria will be used to determine when a customer success manager will be presented to a prospect. These should be tailored to the product and organization, but some examples include:
- A technical prospect with a lot of needs
- A high-potential client
- A modest possibility that will ultimately add a large number of licenses
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Onboarding is ALWAYS supported by Customer Success Managers.
The customer success manager assists in the creation of new accounts and the onboarding of clients once they have completed a purchase.
Because the customer success manager has a strong knowledge of the client’s business requirements from the pre-sales stage, they collaborate with them to ensure that they get the most value out of the product after purchase.
During the onboarding process, the customer success manager discusses previous feature deployment and assists with the installation of a remedy to the client’s issues.
Instead of assisting a customer in configuring a feature, the customer success manager first determines why the client needs the feature and then recommends the best approach to accomplish the customer’s goals.
The goal of onboarding a client is to ensure that they get the most out of the solution and that it becomes an essential part of their day-to-day operations. In effect, a customer success manager aids in increasing the solution’s’stickiness’ inside a company. Customer turnover is reduced as a result of this. In fact, most companies use churn as a statistic to evaluate the effectiveness of a customer success manager.
After Onboarding, the Customer Success Manager
The client is introduced to the support staff after he or she has signed up. The transition should be smooth if the customer success manager has been pushing the client towards the support staff throughout onboarding.
An abrupt transfer, on the other hand, may give the impression that the customer success manager has lost interest in the client and is preoccupied with more pressing matters. After turning over to support, a customer success manager should remain in touch with clients.
Automating an email campaign that highlights best practices and forthcoming events and delivered in the customer success manager’s name is a simple method for customer success managers to keep in contact with customers. This will enable your customer success managers to assist new clients while still staying in contact with current customers and maintaining open lines of communication.
What are a Customer Success Manager’s Responsibilities?
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In various companies, the customer success manager position is regarded differently. The position must strike a delicate balance between competing objectives. Some believe that since the customer success manager is a member of the sales team, they should be in charge of selling the product they work on.
Others believe that the customer success manager is more of a consultant to the customer, and that when arguing for how the software product is developed in the future, the customer success manager should take the client’s side.
The following are some of the most important duties.
1. Recognize the requirements of your customers in order to assist them in making the most of your software.
Your customer success manager must show the product quickly and effectively to meet the requirements of your prospects. If they don’t, the prospect’s chances of becoming a lost lead skyrocket.
Instead than ticking off all of the product’s capabilities on a list, the customer success manager should focus on the client’s immediate requirements and highlight that aspect of the product. Rushing a prospect through a demo may seem dishonest or as if your CSM is uninterested. It’s much better for your CSM to introduce the prospect to a member of the support staff who can guide them through the process.
2. Recognizing the worth of your customers
This one may seem straightforward, but understanding the worth of a prospect is critical, particularly beyond the buy stage. You may believe you don’t have a large customer, but if it’s a SaaS or IT firm that’s just gotten financing, you can be sure they’ll be a major client.
Extra product coaching is excellent for ensuring that the client is effectively onboarded. You’ll also want to make sure your customer success manager has notified the support team lead if you’re dealing with a large client or a big prospective customer. Support teams may then strive to decrease churn in a proactive manner.
In this case, the customer success manager should work with a support account manager. Good account management aids the client in implementing the software at their place of business.
This procedure assists the client in molding the program to meet their needs. It also provides expertise and assists customers in growing their businesses, which is a positive step toward establishing a long-term connection.
4. Renewing your license
You don’t want your customer success manager to be too aggressive when it comes to sales. They should be thought of as being on the client’s side. However, they should be aware of when renewals are due, ensure that the client is satisfied with all aspects of the renewal process, and ensure that everyone is in position to negotiate a successful renewal. It’s not about them selling; it’s about your sales staff utilizing the connection effectively.
5. Referrals and upsells
The same may be said for upsells and expansions. Customer success management isn’t about finding new ways to make money. It’s not about aggressively pursuing chances to persuade a customer to give you additional business. The customer success manager, on the other hand, should be aware of when an upgraded subscription is in both sides’ best interests.
6. Recommendations and comments
And it’s the same narrative every time. Customer success management ensures that customers have a positive experience with your product. Customers that are satisfied with your product will recommend it to others.
7. Advocacy for clients
The customer success manager, as someone who has worked in both camps, may assist you in determining what the client need. They should be consulted when your business considers new product innovations and modifications, and they should have the authority to assist employees in all departments understand what their customers really want. In other words, they may serve as the customer’s voice inside your organization.
What Does It Take to Become a Successful Customer Success Manager?
When it comes to recruiting a customer success manager for this position, you’ll need to consider the following factors:
- An emotional intelligence-based customer success manager. This will make it easier for them to sympathize with and comprehend the needs of the client.
- It is critical to have a solid knowledge of project management. Two teams will be working with the customer success manager. It’s critical that they know how to provide the appropriate quantity of information and allocate particular assignments to certain teams or individuals with defined objectives.
- Proactive in their approach to processes and eager to enhance them. This entails establishing a feedback loop with the sales staff in order to educate instances during product demos that make buyers say, “Wow, that’s precisely what I need.”
- Use a take-home skills exam before hiring to evaluate how they would manage a hypothetical situation. It’s better to utilize a real-life discussion from one of your upcoming trips.
These four details can assist you in finding suitable customer success manager candidates for your organization. However, don’t be afraid to think beyond the box. Make recruiting decisions with this in mind since you know your company and culture better than anyone else.
Interview Questions for Customer Success Managers
You learned more about finding the appropriate individual on your team in the section above. However, you must dig down throughout the interview process before you may do so. Here are some of the most effective interview questions:
- Can you describe what our product or service does in your opinion?
- What method do you use to solve problems?
- How can you spot up-sell possibilities?
- What previous experience and skills do you have that you can use to this position?
- Do you have any previous experience working with salespeople in your present position?
These are just a few questions to get you started. You should tailor your inquiries to the characteristics of the job, your business, and your objectives.
Create long-term customers by using customer success.
Finally, for companies that provide subscription-based goods, the job of a customer success manager is critical.
A customer success manager is responsible for not just reducing customer turnover, but also ensuring that consumers get the most out of the product on offer.
A customer success manager’s job is far broader than most people realize, and it should begin before a prospect becomes a client and continue after the sale is completed.
Do you have customer success managers in your company? What role do they play in the sales process?
As a customer success manager, nothing impresses me more than a client who has overcome a major obstacle to using our product. I’m fascinated by the skill sets that go into this type of problem-solving. Does this person have the ability to handle a complex situation effectively and patiently, or is she in the right place with the right support to help the customer succeed?. Read more about senior customer success manager job description and let us know what you think.
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