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The Key to Profitable Customer Experiences: Finding the Right CSM

There are a lot of B2B companies out there claiming to value and care about their customers. Think about it – nearly every business claims to offer a one-of-a-kind customer experience, provide support around the clock, and know exactly when and how to care for their customers.

No doubt, the desire to provide great customer experiences is there for many of these businesses. So why do so many poor customer experiences still occur? It’s because the commitment isn’t there – it’s a lot of talk with little execution. As a result, businesses are missing out on a lot of additional revenue. In fact, research shows that companies prioritizing the customer experience generate 60% higher profits than those that don’t. So how can companies better deliver on these promises?

That is why the Customer Success Manager (CSM) role is so critical. A CSM is an individual committed exclusively to maximizing lifetime value across the entire customer journey.

  • They jump in at the very beginning of the customer relationship to facilitate a more informative and transparent sales process and overseeing a seamless onboarding and implementation phase.
  • Even after a customer is onboarded for their new product or service, CSMs provide support by conducting regular health checks, solving usage problems, and ensuring the customer is getting the most value possible from the relationship.
  • CSMs will adapt to continue to meet a customer’s evolving demands; what a customer needs on Day 1 of a B2B relationship will change by Year 3.

There is a strong financial case to be made for investing in the CSM role, including:

 


True Customer Success is about all of the moments in between renewals that help the customer achieve their desired outcomes.


CSMs are essential to more profitable and longer-lasting customer relationships. But how do you integrate an effective CSM strategy into your business?

Finding the Right People

CSMs are the front line in your customer relationships. They are the face of your company and the first people your customers turn to when something goes wrong. It’s important that you take the time to hire the right type of people for this role. Here’s are the top attributes we look for at ServiceSource when bringing on new CSMs.



CSM Soft Skills

  • Empathetic and emotionally intelligent
  • Competitive
  • Acutely analytical
  • Collaborative and service-oriented
  • Diverse


CSM Hard Skills

  • Sales and consulting experience
  • Program/project management proficiencies
  • Pattern recognition and ability to “connect the dots”
  • Oral, written, and presentation communication skills
  • Negotiation abilities


Converting, Growing, and Retaining Successful CSMs

After finding CSMs with the right skillsets and attitudes, they need to be equipped with the appropriate tools and technologies to begin making an impact. At ServiceSource, we have taken this to heart and developed PRISM, our own enterprise-class sales management platform that lets our CSMs track every customer interaction, collect and analyze key data, and forecast the right plays and sales motions to expand customer lifetime value.

PRISM also provides our account team managers with an in-depth overview of every CSM on their team, measuring how they are interacting with customers and identifying the right training and coaching opportunities. A CSM development strategy is vital to ensuring that not only are your customers receiving increasingly higher levels of service as the relationship progresses, but also to retaining the best CSMs by offering them a clear path to growth and career fulfillment.

This is part one of a three-part series on Customer Success Managers. As the largest employer of Customer Success representatives in the world and with nearly 20 years of experience in the revenue growth and retention space, we know how to find and develop CSMs who are as dedicated to our clients’ success as they are to their own careers. Why? Because our clients depend on the level of expertise and care that they can’t get anywhere besides ServiceSource, and we’re committed to meeting and exceeding those expectations.

Interested in bringing a CSM team to your business? Learn more about our Customer Success solution and discover how we help the world’s leading B2B companies create Customers for Life.