Roles of Customer Success Manager

6 Key Responsibilities of a Customer Success Manager in a SaaS Company

A Customer Success Manager or CSM has a rapidly expanding role in any SaaS company today.

The customer success manager role started on a simple promise of transforming customer engagement from a traditional ‘reactive’ to a ‘proactive’ mindset. Today the roles have expanded. They have taken over many new responsibilities and proudly form one of the main pillars of ‘growth’ within a SaaS organization.

Why Are Customer success managers Increasing?

Subscription-based (such as SaaS products) or consumption-based sales are becoming more common in high-tech industries (such as cloud services). Our consulting firm’s per-employee spending on recurring-revenue technology products has increased in the last three years. We anticipate that expansion to continue, with Customer success managers from our suppliers assisting us in extracting even more value from our investment. Hardware sales, from data storage to jet engines to elevators, are likewise shifting to usage-based and up time-based pricing structures. The pattern doesn’t end there.

Businesses that generate recurring revenue are not new. Revenues are earned steadily over time rather than as one-time sales of consumer products, chemicals, and medications, for example. Customers’ usage is the biggest indicator of renewal and development in such firms, according to sellers. And utilization is determined by how easy it is to implement and how valuable it is to the consumer.

Customers want constant assistance in adapting to complex and developing technology offerings and realizing value. The flywheel that keeps customers coming back is customer value realization. The customer success managers (CSM) could be the force that propels the flywheel forward.

Below are the core six tasks that keep CSMs busy, really busy, all day, week, month, and year:

Customer Onboarding Template

1) Customer Onboarding:

New customer onboarding is the most important task for any customer success manager. But, CSMs make several mistakes that cost the company heavily in the future.

For example, you do not need to teach all the features of your product to the customers. You need to teach only those features that help the customer achieve early value.

For best results, customers must be taken through the shortest path to value so that they can get some ROI (Return on Investment) as soon as possible. This will help them realize the importance of your product. It’s well-proven time and again that the seeds of churn or growth are sown early. At the same time, Customer Success Managers are also responsible for training. Training ensures, they understand how your product can help them achieve their business goals. The training can be imparted offline or online depending upon how complex your product is.

Hence, it is important that the CSM designs a well-thought-out customer onboarding framework that makes the lives of the customers easy.

Read: Drive early time to value your customers

2) Account Escalations:

Support or respond to any alerts, red flags, or poor health. It can also be directly from a customer reaching out for some issue or any critical or overdue customer support ticket. This ensures that you control the fire when it is small and manageable.

Also, the customer feels that you are always there to help him/her when required and help to build a relationship. This is helpful during renewal time when you can upsell to the customers as you will guide them to achieve the necessary goals.

3) Renewals:

Customer renewals are what keep the recurring revenue recurring. It is the lifeline of a SaaS company since the majority of the revenue comes through existing customers.

Hence, it is necessary to follow up on current month/quarter renewals to avoid any last-minute surprises. Especially, when long-term contracts are due for renewal. The larger the value and/or duration of the contract, more the effort required.  Sometimes it even requires fresh paperwork.

Additional Resource- Renewal template

4) Upsell Campaigns:

Upsell, expansion, and upgrades are the three core ways in which CSMs can drive their portfolio growth. It is also the best way to increase the lifetime value (LTV) value of your customer. If you have guided your customers throughout their journey and helped them solve their problems, this process will be much easier.

A focused campaign or a planned nurturing campaign requires good timing, data, and strategy to be effective.

5) Periodic health checks:

Success managers cannot leave even the healthiest, happiest, or oldest customers to chance. Calculating the periodic health of (at least) key accounts is an important activity in maintaining that ever-increasing mix. It will aid the CSM to take effective steps in case some customers are unhappy with the product or for some other reason.

Since it is quite difficult to figure out the exact condition of all customers in real-time, it is recommended to use a customer success platform that will help you in monitoring account health and improve your efficiency by a mile.

6) Customer Advocacy:

Given that customer success managers are the customer relationship owners, it makes sense for CSMs to convert that relationship and value into real advocacy.

It could come in the form of an internal NPS survey, external reviews, a case study, or the good old referral. Referrals lead to huge financial growth without putting in much effort. A successful relationship leads to financial growth in ways you may not have imagined.

“You can focus on adoption, retention, expansion, or advocacy; or you can focus on the customers’ Desired Outcome and get all of those things.” – Lincoln Murphy

Account manager vs. customer success manager

Customer success managers are salespeople as well as customer service representatives. Customer success managers, on the other hand, aren’t focused on earning the next account or putting out individual fires like account managers are. Relationship managers are responsible for growing client accounts, increasing customer retention, resolving customer complaints, and increasing customer satisfaction.

Check out the blog on ‘Customer Success Manager vs Account Manager‘ to know more.

Grow your multi million dollar portfolio with the best Customer Success Software!

Getting a job as a Customer Success Manager

The finest customer success manager, at the end of the day, just cares about their clients. They understand what their clients are working on, what their objectives are, and what they want to accomplish with the company’s products.

Customer success manager uses this information to help clients achieve short- and long-term success by offering fresh ideas for how to use their products and resolving issues before they even realize they’re there. You can check out the client success manager salary here.

Suggested Read: Ten Interview Questions to hire the best Customer Success Manager (CSM)


It’s clear that the Customer Success Manager’s roles and responsibilities are going to be key. Any SaaS organization in the days to come, cannot do without a certain executive seat. The Customer Succes Manager job description entails the above roles and responsibilities.

A CSM should measure a few KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), so that s/he can be sure that the company is moving in the right direction at the right speed. KPIs that need to be measured for each company may be different from others so it is critical to choose the right ones.

A good CSM along with a focused team can totally change the path of the company. A good customer success team literally is responsible for making or breaking the company.

It is also important to give the CSM powers so that s/he can make independent decisions without feeling unnecessary pressure. This will lead to the CSM taking decisions keeping the company in mind since s/he is bringing in the majority of the monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

Bonus Tip: The Ultimate Guide to Customer Success Manager

Puneet leads CustomerSuccessBox. He is deeply passionate about the three product joys - the joy of producing, the joy of selling, and the joy of ownership. His inspirations come from family, friends, mentors, people he works with and from free thinkers like Eric Ries (The Lean Startup), Tim Brown (Change by Design: Design thinking) and many more.