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Why we have Customer Success Managers instead of a support team (and we're looking for one!)

Mar 30, 2016 6:00:29 PM

Why we have Customer Success Managers instead of a support team (and we're looking for one!)

All across the B2B SaaS industry, a new role has quickly emerged. The name of this role: Customer Success Manager. A quick search on this job title on Google shows over 14,000,000 results. On LinkedIn, 18,000 people hold a position as a Customer Success Manager, and there are 2,000 jobs available with the same title.

At SRXP, we have Customer Success Managers as well. In this article, we explain what Customer Success Managers do, and why the role has become so popular in SaaS companies. 


What does a 'Customer Success Manager' do?

The Customer Success Manager has a cross-functional role, collaborating with both commercial and technical teams. A Customer Success Manager takes over the contact with an organisation when Sales has closed the deal. An important task of the Customer Success Manager is to do the implementation at a new customer. But 'Implementation Manager' doesn't cover the responsibilities that this role has. The operational role of Customer Success Management also includes participation in product design and involvement in roadmap decisions to create the tool that customers need. Through onboarding and training, (s)he ensures that all customers are fully engaged and getting the value that they expect.  It is the responsibility of the Customer Success Manager to have a structured and proven approach to this.

According to the Customer Success Manager Association, 'the ultimate strategic goal of the new role is sustainable corporate profitability and growth. The method is to make your customers as profitable and productive as possible.' The Customer Success Manager is therefore key to ensure retention of customers and to employ expansion initiatives as well.


Why do we have Customer Success Managers instead of a support team?

Just like our competitors, the revenue model of SRXP is based on a subscription model. Therefore, our product is purchased as a service and does not require a large upfront investment. As a result, the barriers to churn are low. It becomes much more important to manage customer relationships to ensure that customers are realising the full economic value of the product they are subscribed to. 

It is important for SRXP to actively manage customer relationships to minimise churn and to increase revenue from existing customers through up-sell and cross-sell. Our Customer Success Managers also handle the implementation at clients and answer support questions. Every question is an opportunity for the Customer Success Manager to identify opportunities to make our onboarding process and user experience better, to realise maximum adoption, and to identify product improvements. Because of this integrated approach, we receive very few support questions.


Everyday activities of a Customer Success Manager

Of course, every company has their own job description for Customer Success Managers. In some companies, the Customer Success Manager is in the implementation or technical team. In other companies, the Customer Success Manager can be found in the Sales or Account Management team. Nonetheless, it is vital to understand that no matter where it is positioned, a true Customer Success Manager deals with both the commercial and the technical team. These are common activities for a Customer Success Manager:

As mentioned before, the Customer Success Manager takes over contact with a company from the moment the contract is signed and the company has become a customer. Following predefined implementation and engagement processes, the SaaS product is setup in such a way that it fits the needs of the customer. The goal is to achieve maximum value for the customer from the product. 

Additionally, Customer Success Managers handle product training, which gives them the chance to network with their users. This interaction is a valuable source of product input and is key for identifying product improvement opportunities. The goal of product training is to drive optimal engagement.

Product training is not exclusively for new users. SaaS companies constantly release new features. The existing customer base must be updated to the value that the new features bring to them as well. The Customer Success Manager must, therefore, ensure that product training happens throughout the customer life cycle.

Because Customer Success Managers do the implementation, product training and support questions, they are always up-to-date about the needs and wants of the customers. Sometimes the need for a product improvement or feature is hidden in questions from users, and sometimes it is explicitly expressed. It is a core responsibility of the Customer Success team to gather the feedback and communicate it to the technical team. That way, the Customer Success Manager plays a vital role in a creating a successful roadmap and planning.

The Customer Success Manager is in the unique position to know how well a product is adopted by a company. Is the entire company already using the product, or is it only one department or country? Is their current product plan sufficient or could they benefit from a more comprehensive plan? The Customer Success Manager is always on top of these questions and realises upsell opportunities if possible.


Interested in a job as Customer Success Manager?

Did this trigger your interest? It happens to be that we have a job opening for a Customer Success Manager here at SRXP! Click here to check out the vacancy and apply directly online.

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Pieter Verbruggen

Pieter Verbruggen

CEO & Founder
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