The success of your company depends on how you deal with the needs and goals of your customers.That’s why many businesses are shifting their customer strategy, including the ongoing customer growth plan from the Account Manager to the Customer Success Manager. The Customer Success Manager plays a critical role in the development of customers since he/she is the one responsible for understanding and guiding customers through the entire process. Read about the responsibilities of a customer success manager. CSM to product manager might be a good extension of roles. But before let’s talk about an extremely important question.
Should a customer success manager have a seat on the product management table?
The answer is 100% Yes. First of all, it is a product manager who has designed and built the technology but it is you the customer success manager who talks to the customers and makes sure that you are able to deliver the outcome that your sales promises.
But the second part is even more important. This is where you actually take all the feedback that you’ve gathered, all the learning that you and only you have. Because you’re the one who’s plugged into where the rubber meets the road. This is where technology hits the real use case, and you’re helping your customers get to that outcome. Due to the customer facing role that Customer Success Manager has, s/he can identify the customer pain points, can give you a peek into the customer thought process, most popular features and also give a specific peak into reasons why customers churn.
What are the blockers? What feedback are you getting from the customer? What use cases are still left unmet and maybe nobody in the entire industry is solving them? And if you do lose a customer, what are the reasons behind those kinds of churn? Are you losing to competitors, are you losing back to Excel sheets?
Whatever that key learning is, only you have it in your head, and that is the key part that you want to take information back to your product management teams. This is where you will be collaborating with the product management team.
And this in turn will influence the product direction, the entire product roadmap, and that requires you as a customer success manager to be a part of it. Or it can be one of the customer success managers if you’ve got a large group. You definitely want to consolidate that information and one of you should have a seat on the product roadmap discussion table.
Why CSM to Product Manager is a natural transition?
1. Recognize that product management is synonymous with customer success
Understanding that these positions are not as distinct as many people believe is an excellent starting step.
Yes, your job title and daily responsibilities will change. However, consider the goal of both roles. Isn’t the goal of customer success managers and product managers the same? Isn’t it true that they’re both attempting to assist customers thrive by using the company’s products?
You’ll feel lot more at ease taking the steps to make this job change after you realize the parallels between the two roles. You’ll also have a lower chance of succumbing to imposter syndrome and giving up. Most importantly, you’ll gain the courage to tell your boss why your CSM experience could help you advance your career.
2. You must genuinely care about your clients.
The favourite part as a customer success manager was making a good difference in a customer’s day. Usually by assisting them in resolving a difficult challenge. Understand that working in product would enable you to have a bigger impact on your customers. That’s one of the aspects of this role that will appeal to you the most.
If you get a comparable sense of fulfilment and success from assisting clients, product management could be a good fit for you. In fact, this is one of the ways CSMs may excel as PMs. It’s critical to remember that your priority as a product manager should always be to serve your consumers. Your creations are a work of art.
Customer Success Managers play a vital role in taking a business to new heights and upscaling Customer Success. With all the responsibilities that a CSM has, it is equally important for him/her to have a say in product management discussions. And this will only make things more efficient and smooth. So, Are you already participating in product roadmap discussions?. If yes, what is the frequency, and how’s that working out for you. Have you in the past been influencing product roadmaps? How are you communicating them back to your customers? Let us know in the comments.
P.S. – The main image has been taken from pexels.com