Congratulations! You have customers, and your company is growing. Now it’s time to put processes in place to make sure those hard-earned customers are happy and to keep growing. Here’s my secret get-started tip: You will keep your current customers, whom you worked so hard to win, and assure they are the foundation for even more growth if you hire the right Customer Success Manager (CSM).
About this Important Hire
The size of your company determines the best way to fill this critical position.
If you are a medium-size to a larger company, consider hiring a CSM expert who doesn’t mind getting his/her hands dirty but can also lead a multi-functional team. This Customer Success (CS) expert may initially have to cover everything to understand which customer success flavor combinations your company needs. S/he should be a combined problem solver and strategic builder who approaches problems from both inside-out and outside-in thinking.
Inside-out analysis identifies potential strategic gaps in market alignment and the company’s objectives. It also reveals new business or growth opportunities generated by the customer success department.
Under outside-in scrutiny, the CSM should be able to translate customers’ needs and requirements into care initiatives and processes. While doing so, the CSM keeps a keen eye on share of wallet (SOW). The combined responsibility of customer care and revenue enhancement is not for everyone. It will distinguish a good fit from a perfect fit for your company.
If you are a small company, you need a more modest strategy. You need someone who gets the job done like a swiss army knife. Someone with skills and tools for most situations. Look for the person who can handle both customer care and incremental sales. For this new hire, prioritize the expertise your company needs most.
A CSM with less experience will be able to cover both responsibilities, but will most likely be stronger in one skill. For this reason, it is worth it to hire as much experience as your budget can handle. Depending on your business, 5+ years of experience could be necessary. It is also essential to hire someone who can see one or two steps beyond your current market position and maturity level. This way you won’t have to go through the hiring process again.
Overcome Budget Constraints
Sometimes reality gets in the way of perfection, and you can’t afford to hire that ideal CSM right off the bat. In this case, you can still get an expert’s guidance by using a service such as The FreeAgent to get a quick assessment of your needs and help to find the perfect CSM for your firm when you are ready. You can also hire the consultants at The FreeAgent to map out a three-to-five-year customer success strategy with different growth scenarios, and provide continued support to your team.
For any company, the skills of your next hire should complement those of your first. As your team grows, the individuals on the team will change from jacks-of-all-trades to highly skilled specialists.
No matter how many CSM specialists you hire, one thing won’t change: Your entire company must have the customer success mindset! Read more about what that means here.