Client Success Management (CSM) was already having its moment under the sun, and along came the pandemic and thrust it well and firmly into the limelight. With most of the world functioning online, almost all businesses have, over the last three-odd months, scrambled to find solutions to retain and satisfy existing customer base using modern SaaS platforms and with the help of Client Success Manager Jobs. It comes as no surprise then, that the SaaS sector according to reports, is expected to hit $164.29 billion by 2022.
CSM Roles are the Most in-demand Jobs
But an interesting offshoot of this surge has reached the job market that is seeing an expansion of customer success management outside the software industry. While many companies have placed the onus of steadying their businesses, and even growing it, on their client success manager, others are discovering the need to invest in one. This has made Client Success Manager Jobs top the job market – a new study based on LinkedIn data has revealed that in a gap of about a year, CSM has grown 736% – and is among the top 10 fastest growing professions. But what makes a good CS manager?
How to Ace a Client Success Manager Role?
Though job descriptions vary across companies, the basic philosophy behind a CSM role remains the same – that of winning and retaining clients over and again. And with customer expectations rising, client success strategies and statistics take on a whole new meaning with most focusing on getting to know the clients more intrusively.
The secrets to succeeding at Client Success Manager Jobs
The key findings of a Gartner survey, that revealed how 64% clients rate customer experience to be more important than the price of a product when buying something, show how demanding today’s B2B customers are. They demand customer focus, and expect companies to deliver what they need even before they know they need it. In short, the skill sets needed to become a top CSM are a mix of attitude connect with the customer and keen analytical skills. A CSM must possess…
1. Sound technical knowledge:
He or she must know the product inside out, even its flaws, if any. If you are looking to promote loyalty and retention, you cannot gloss over the negatives. The CSM must see their dissatisfaction as avenues to develop and refine the product further, and make the client feedback an essential part of that. He or she needs to go beyond the KPI jargon and work on knowing the product so well that even the product managers respect him. His knowledge of the client’s asks should be such that the product team is eager to share product updates well in advance with you because they trust your ability to forecast how the latest advancement will impact address client needs and drive sales.
2. The ability to listen, to empathise:
Client is happy, client is dissatisfied, is a nag sometimes, wants more than what can be given, is demanding, exacting, but knows one thing for sure: that as the CSM, you’ll listen, and understand. It is this empathy that always works at encouraging return users and increasing retention – because the client is comfortable with you. In other words, you’re always welcoming client feedback by perfecting the act of listening patiently. By focusing on customer feedback, you can gauge from their mood and tone what their reaction is towards your product and use that to leverage their success with your product.
3. Accountability and ownership:
A CSM must become the natural advocate, a trusted advisor for the client. They must come to rely on your engagement with hem for updates, etc. They must turn to him or her for data-backed information. And this can happen only when the CSM takes full ownership of the product and becomes its advocate, often goes out the way to comfort the client, or extend a helping hand. The client feels that you are the go-to person for all his need-based goals – in short, the CSM lives the client’s success journey. Jennifer Chiang. author of The Startup’s Guide to Customer Success, says, “Customers no longer just buy things, they require an experience.” The CSM who takes accountability of his or her clients, adapts functioning styles to their individual needs and understands their unique personalities can sell anything to his clients.
4. Persuasive skills; effective communication:
Many a time, this alone can endear a CSM to the client. That is why success hacker Andrew Marks has it in his top 12 CSM traits list. Not only can a persuasive CSM coax a resolution out of a difficult client, he or she can assess situations before they arise, and persuade the clients to go for solutions they hadn’t thought feasible in the beginning.
A persuasive CSM can even turn a product drawback into an advantage for the company by getting the client to work right past it. They also have the ability to turn around a company’s success roadmap by communicating client insight and feedback proactively and enable product updates and advancements, reduce churn and increase recurring revenue.
5. Problem solving abilities:
A good CSM can strategize and plan the success of the clients and handle difficult confrontational discussions with equal elan. This is the key skill especially for CSMs of SaaS companies that rely on them to develop client as advocates.
A good CSM can enhance company reputation by handling client relationship with a fair degree of openness and integrity, by handling difficult questions without resorting to falsities.
Such CSMs gather new accounts with speed even while maintaining old ones by striking a good balance between networking and relationship building. They connect with the clients, and push them to succeed in ways that will maximise the company’s product value, and build brand worth.
In a nutshell, the secrets to acing a client success manager jobs are the same as secrets to leading a balanced, fine life
- Be confident, and courageous
- Listen more, talk less
- Find a balance between the good and the bad
- Build long-term relationships
- Respect your peers and their experience
- Always be open to learning and asking for help
If you have the above traits, you will not only excel at meeting client demands, you can teach, guide and lead your clients to achieve great success using your products and tools, too.