One role in B2B tech startups that is incredibly important, but not talked about as much, is that of the customer success manager. Several years ago at Pardot we called them client advocates, and tasked them with making our customers successful, knowing that a comprehensive software product, no matter how cool the interface, still requires on-going training and help. Whereas the support team is reactive with customer issues, the customer success team is proactively reaching out to customers to make sure everything is going well and helping customers get more value out of the product.
Here are a few thoughts on customer success managers:
- A customer “touch” cadence should be used whereby customers are pinged once a month/quarter/year
- Analytics and engagement tools should be used to track which customers are actively using the critical features in the product and which customers are at risk of leaving due to little/no usage
- The old adage “It’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than sign a new one” is even more true for SaaS businesses
- As major new product features are released, the customer success team should help customers incorporate the new product functionality
- Some of the best customer success managers are sales people that loved helping prospects but didn’t like asking for the sale
- Upselling and cross selling is usually part of the customer success team, so it’s often a revenue-generating function
Customer success managers are critical and should employed earlier than expected in B2B tech startups. As a proactive, customer-facing team, they often develop some of the strongest customer relationships and add tremendous value.
What else? What are some more thoughts on customer success managers?