What does a Customer Success Manager do?

Here’s another one in our 2 minute short series about Customer Success fundamentals. So, what does a Customer Success Manager (or CSM) do?

To review the definition of Customer Success, it’s: the business function that ensures customers realize value throughout their journey with your company.

Logically given this definition, the Customer Success Manager ensures that customers continues to realize value after their initial purchase of a product or service.

The activities of a CSM vary, depending on the type of business and orientation of the Customer Success team. Typically, the CS team will be attached more closely to either Customer Service or Sales.

When attached to a service function, the Customer Success Manager is concerned with on-boarding, adoption, retention, and satisfaction. When attached to sales, the CSM is more concerned with renewals, cross-sales, and up-sales. Of course, all of these functions are interrelated. Overall, a customer who is realizing value from the product is going to one that spends more money over time.

It’s important to note that the CSM is not a customer service rep or a salesperson. These roles have very specific day-to-day activities that may not be concerned with customer value. The CSM is 100% focused on customer value – and therefore is often focused more on proactive activities, versus fire-fighting or selling.

And there you have it, a very simple definition of the Customer Success Manager role.

See you next time.

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Ben started his career as Lead Engineer at a social software company, acquired by Student Advantage, and co-founded a company that built award-winning web sites for Nokia, The North Face, Sony Pictures, and Calvin Klein. In 2002, Ben became CTO of DFILM, a web and mobile company with clients such as Sam Adams, Hyundai, Old Navy, IBM, The Sierra Club, and Scion. Ben graduated from Stanford University with Honors, Distinction, and Phi Beta Kappa.

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