SaaS Customer Success is a rapidly growing field and lately, there has been a huge demand for Customer Success Managers (CSMs). According to Linkedin, Customer Success Manager is the top emerging job with 34% annual growth. Infact, it is in top 15 roles internationally as per a report published by LinkedIn. Though many of you have started looking out actively for SaaS customer success roles, like all job profiles, no matter how good you might be, it is NOT meant for everyone.
So how do you decide whether SaaS customer success is right for you or not?
We recently conducted an insightful webinar on “How to start a career in Customer Success” with Maranda Ann Dziekonski, Vice President of Customer Success, Pared. She gave a crisp and to the point answer to the same question.
Certain qualities can help you become a great Customer Success Manager.
How do you know if you have those qualities or not? Well, here are a few things that you need to ask yourself and answer honestly before coming to a conclusion.
Since you will be entering the “customer success” field, it’s a basic requirement that you should love interacting with your customers and help them to be successful. How else do you think will you become a rockstar CSM?
To be a better CSM, you should understand how important customer success is and what role you play. It is vital to know why you are crucial in helping the customers achieve their goals. For that, you need to be patient and be a good listener too. You need to understand what the customer is trying to say.
You should also be able to explain to the customers on how to use the product in a better way. Suggest something in a certain way so that it makes their lives better in the long term.
2. Are you passionate about the product that you are supporting?
Don’t recommend something that you will not like to try yourself.
If you yourself are not convinced about the product, how can you convince your customers to be successful by using your product?
No matter how good a CSM you are, if you are not passionate about your product, it will show no matter how hard you try. Then, not only will you be doomed but it can also put your company in a dangerous situation.
The good thing is that all major companies require customer success managers. Make sure you choose to work for a company whose product you absolutely love. Try to understand the value your product brings to the lives of the clients. Once you are convinced about the product, your customers will, naturally, be convinced about it.
3. Are you persuasive and know how to build a strong business case?
To get to a certain goal, a specific process needs to be followed which will consume time and energy. So, you need to be able to convince the customer to trust the process so that they can achieve their goal.
Being persuasive is not only helpful in convincing your customers, but also helps you to convince the different team members in your company. You have to persuade your sales team to sell the product to the ideal customer profile. Convince your marketing team to promote certain features as those are what customers are looking for and are the company’s USP.
4. Are you a natural investigator?
As a customer success manager, you should have a curious nature. Only then can you find the root cause of a problem and suggest the right solution to the problem.
If you just look at the problem from the surface, you will find the symptoms of the problem. It is important to solve the root cause of the problem and not the symptoms. Solving the symptoms may lead to the problem disappearing for the time being but it will recur.
There are many ways to find the exact cause of a problem. You can use the 5 Whys Method (pioneered by Toyota) in which, each time you ask Why a certain thing happened, you find out a cause. After repeating the process 5 times, you finally find out the root cause which caused the problem.
5. Can you own a room?
This is one quality which is not spoken about much but nevertheless, it’s quite critical that you work to improve it.
As a SaaS customer success manager, you will have to give presentations both internally (customer success team leader, CCO, etc.) and externally (QBRs).
6. Can you sell a product without actually selling?
The focus should always be on providing value rather than just selling your product. For example, make the customer understand the value they will get if they upgrade.
For that, you first need to step in their shoes and understand their problems. Only then can you convince them of the advantages your expansion program offers.
7. Do you love data analytics?
Data analytics is your friend. As a CSM you will always have a lot on your plate. You can neither guess which customer is facing a road block nor can you call each of your customers every week to find out regarding the same.
How will you know when you should focus on what?
Many SaaS customer success teams use Excel, subscription management tools, even support tools in tandem. Though it is more effective than calling each customer, they still cannot get an accurate risk alert and it is time consuming.
This is where customer success software comes to the rescue as it goes through millions of data points to tell you which customers need your attention and when.
For example, CustomerSuccessBox shows different types of customer health scores like product adoption, financial, service and relationship health. This will help you know exactly which type of problem a customer is facing.
For example, if a customer has stopped using your product since a long time, the software will generate a risk alert. Once you know which customer is facing an issue, you can directly contact (mail/call) from within the customer success platform. Based on the response of the customer, you can create playbooks to help them overcome the roadblock.
(Source: Maranda Ann Dziekonski’s presentation in the webinar titled “How to start a career in Customer Success”)
Along with answering all the above questions, another thing that you should do is read books and blogs, watch videos, participate in forums, attend webinars and meetups, and network to gain an in-depth understanding of what exactly is SaaS customer success. This will help you gain theoretical and practical knowledge which is pretty useful.
(PS: If you want to read our weekly blogs and attend fortnightly webinars on various topics in the field of customer success, subscribe and we will keep you updated).
If all the answers to the above questions are positive or at least most of them are positive, SaaS customer success can be a rewarding career option for you. This is not an exhaustive or the only list of questions that you should consider but it will give you a pretty good idea of the things you need to consider before entering the field of customer success.