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Have you struggled to build genuine, strong relationships with your target audience?

If so, don’t worry; this happens to several companies because they don’t have a customer success manager (CSM) on their team!

Hi, my name is AJ! After recently selling my business for multiple seven figures, I changed my focus to helping aspiring entrepreneurs build the empire they’ve envisioned.

My company was successful because I had the right team by my side, including an excellent CSM!

What does a CSM do? And how can they help your company? Keep reading to learn more!

Key Takeaways

Related Reading: Best Small Business CRM

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What is Customer Success Management?

Customer success management focuses on customers transitioning from sales prospects to paying customers for your products and services.

This type of management aims to support customers in every way possible, ensuring people who shop with your brand have a positive customer experience.

Also, customer success management emphasizes customer loyalty and building genuine, long-term relationships!

Put simply, customer success management views aspects like customer satisfaction as integral to a successful business.

What is a Customer Success Manager?

Customer success managers guide customers through the sales cycle, from the initial point of contact to post-sale support.

It’s critical to note that customer success managers differ from customer service agents.

For example, a CSM creates a personal and direct relationship with your customers, providing them with information, propositions, and one-on-one support.

On the other hand, a customer service rep handles customer complaints and problems and doesn’t build as deep of a relationship as a customer success manager.

These managers are in charge of the following things:

Helping customers growHelping clients achieve their goalsStrengthening each client’s relationship with the business

Pro Tip #1: Rely on your CSM to provide information about how your sales and marketing departments perform and communicate about new products, features, and client feedback.
– AJ Silber

Customer Success Manager Job Description

Customer success managers work closely with customers, ensuring they have the proper tools and know-how to achieve their goals.

Part of a manager’s job is advising customers on purchasing decisions and advocating for what is best for their business and budget restrictions.

Also, a customer success manager must onboard new users after they purchase software (if applicable).

A customer success manager understands a customer’s needs better than anyone.

Therefore, these employees are responsible for sharing customer behavior patterns with the sales, marketing, and customer service teams.

Customer success managers are also responsible for the following actions:

Increasing customer retentionKeeping clients engagedGather customer feedbackEnsure other departments focus and know about customer goalsReduce customer churn

What Does a Customer Success Manager Do?

A customer success manager is responsible for several aspects of the customer lifecycle!

From handling client requests to reducing customer churn, customer success manager jobs are not for the faint of heart!

Here are the details these managers are responsible for!

Build Customer Loyalty

Customer success managers work one-on-one with customers.

Therefore, they have more opportunities than anyone else in the company to build rapport with the client.

Prioritizing the customer relationship is critical, and with that comes customer loyalty!

Reduce Churn

Customer churn is the percentage of customers who stopped using your products or services during a specific time frame.

With every client relationship, your company should strive to make it long-term.

By connecting with customers and increasing customer value, customer success managers can reduce churn!

Keep Customers Engaged

It’s important for customers to stay engaged with your products and services.

Customer success managers should keep the customer experience top-of-mind by doing things like:

Conducting surveysSending newslettersRunning campaignsProviding resourcesConnecting with customers in person or virtually

These actions help remind customers of your company and the value it provides!

Bridge the Gap Between Sales and Support

The customer success manager works with the sales, marketing, and customer support teams to ensure a customer has a smooth experience transitioning from one department to another.

For example, if the sales team offers something outside the customer support package, a customer success manager should be able to bridge that gap!

Advocate for Customers

A customer success manager works directly with clients.

Therefore, CSMs advocate for their needs to other departments (marketing, production, etc.).

A CSM must know a customer’s likes and dislikes, which they can learn about through the following communication techniques:

SurveysReviewsReferralsPhone calls

Foster a Customer-Centric Team Environment

The customer success team must build a culture that prioritizes the customer experience before anything else.

A customer-centric approach includes working one-on-one with customers and providing feedback to other departments on best serving the clientele.

A customer success manager must foster this environment of putting the customer first!

Resolve Customer Issues

Customer success managers are also in charge of handling customer complaints and problems as they arise.

Whether it’s a problem with software functionality or contacting someone within the company, a customer success manager must keep the client happy.

Ensure Customers Get Facetime

A customer success manager should also set up meetings between customers and other departments within the company.

These face-to-face meetings help build strong relationships and trust between both parties.

Creating opportunities for client facetime also ensures everyone understands the client and their goals!

Keep a High-Level View of the Support Process

Customer success managers oversee the entire customer lifecycle.

From marketing to sales, CSMs must ensure everyone is on the same page and giving customers what they need.

To do this, a CSM should review reports to spot opportunities for improvement and identify areas where customers are struggling.

What Makes a Good Customer Success Manager?

Customer success managers must have several skills and attributes to make them successful at their jobs.

Because someone in a customer success role interacts with people daily, these managers must have excellent people skills.

Remember, your customer success manager is the first person a client turns to when something is wrong or they need advice.

Therefore, this person must be approachable and easy to talk to.

Also, most customer success managers have several years of experience working with the company.

Extensive experience is helpful because the manager will understand the business’s products or services, prices, and features better than someone who’s only been at the company for a year.

Some additional attributes that make for a good customer success manager include the following:

Excellent communicatorProblem-solving skillsCustomer-first mindsetTechnically proficientEmpatheticPersuasiveCreative thinkerExceptional time management skills

As you can see, customer success manager jobs require a special person! That’s why these positions are so valuable.

Pro Tip #2: Meet with your CSM regularly to check in on new and existing clients, their needs, changes to their products or services, and more!
– AJ Silber

Customer Success Manager Qualifications & Skills

Below, I’ve compiled the qualifications and skills customer success managers must have to be effective.

Build and Foster Customer Relationships

Customer success managers work with potential and existing clients every day.

These employees must create excellent relationships to ensure customers trust your brand wholeheartedly.

Proactive Problem Solving

A customer’s business can experience a problem at any point.

And who will they turn to when they need help? Your CSM!

These managers must be quick on their feet and able to provide solutions immediately!

Brand Promotion

A customer success manager must also be able to promote your brand.

There are numerous ways CSMs can promote your brand, including the following techniques:

Customer referralsSurveysCampaignsSocial media platforms

Whatever strategy they choose, these employees should know how to get the word out about your company’s offerings!

Leadership Skills

CSMs must be able to identify and solve problems and lead others in the same direction.

When necessary, these managers must motivate other departments, like sales or customer support!

Also, potential and existing customers rely on CSMs for direction, meaning they must be confident and ready to lead.

Customer Empathy

All members of customer service teams must be empathetic.

Even if they have little to no experience in the client’s industry, your customer service manager must be able to relate to what the client is going through.

Empathy allows CSMs to gain a deep understanding of their clients.

Product Knowledge

Your customer success manager must know your product or service inside and out.

Knowing your product includes:

Understanding how it worksWhat features it offersEach product’s pricing structure

Additionally, CSMs must stay current on any changes or updates you make to your product.

Communication Skills

I’ve already said it numerous times throughout this guide, but your CSM MUST be excellent at communicating.

Your CSM is a trusted advisor for both the client and your employees in each department.

Therefore, a successful CSM must understand how to talk with everyone clearly.

Time Management Skills

CSMs must be excellent with time management.

Most businesses have these employees work on multiple tasks and projects at once.

Therefore, a CSM must have the organizational skills to track deadlines and meetings.

Customer Intelligence (High EQ)

Client success managers must have a high emotional intelligence (EQ).

For instance, your CSM must be able to understand how customers feel and act accordingly.

Knowing their clients means CSMs must understand the following things:

Customer’s emotionsA client’s business goals and motivationsBehaviors patterns

Collaboration Skills

CSMs must be able to collaborate with other departments and team members.

These employees must work well with sales, marketing, or customer service teams (as well as your clients!).

Also, your CSM should be able to manage different personalities and remain professional in any situation!

Industry Knowledge

Every customer success manager must have an in-depth understanding of the industry they work in.

That way, they can answer client questions, give advice to remain competitive, and ensure the sales process is up to par!

Active Listening

Active listening means understanding what a customer is saying, why they’re saying it, and reacting appropriately.

This type of listening helps a customer success manager do the following:

Build trust with customersGain an understanding of their challengesProvide solutions or advice tailored to the client’s needs

Technical Monitoring

Customer success managers must be able to monitor technical issues.

That said, a CSM should know how to use customer relationship management (CRM) software and other tools used for tracking processes, such as project management or issue-tracking software.

Also, these employees should have an understanding of analytics platforms, reporting tools, and success metrics.

Technical Skills

Knowing how to monitor technical aspects of a client’s products or system isn’t enough.

Client success managers must know how customers use your company’s products in their day-to-day work.

Reading and Writing Skills

Although a customer success manager connects with clients face to face at times, most of their communication is via email.

Therefore, CSMs must be proficient at reading and writing so your customers understand and communicate through high-priority tasks.

Strategic Planning

A customer success manager must have the foresight to plan and implement strategies for customer success.

These employees should be able to do the following tasks:

Identify improvement areasCreate onboarding process plansDevise strategies for solving problems quickly


A client success manager must be able to sway your customers into thinking your company’s products or services are the best.

Remember, there’s a fine line between pushing customers aggressively and being persuasive.

Creative Thinking

A customer success manager must have a creative mindset.

These employees must be able to think outside the box and develop innovative solutions for customer problems.

They should also be able to find new ways to introduce customers to your company’s products or services!

How to Become a Customer Success Manager

Here are the five steps to becoming a customer success manager!

Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step is to get a Bachelor’s degree.

While there are some customer success managers who have an Associate’s degree, most positions require a Bachelor’s.

Step 2: Gain Relative Work Experience

Most employers ask for about five years of experience in the field related to the CSM position.

Some positions that can help people gain work experience include the following:

Customer service repSales associateProject managerAccount manager

Step 3: Develop the Above Skills

Remember all the skills and qualities that make for an excellent customer success manager?

Analyze those and put yourself in positions to develop the right skills for the job!

Some technical and workplace skills include the following:

Project managementData analysisCustomer serviceCommunicationProblem-solvingLeadership

Step 4: Apply for Customer Success Jobs

Once you have the necessary degree and experience, start applying for jobs.

Make sure you tailor your resume to fit the job description of a customer success manager.

That way, hiring managers can immediately see you’re suited for the role!

Step 5: Consider Further Career Advancement

Many customer success managers move to different roles or departments that suit them best.

Therefore, a customer success manager might be a stepping stone in your career, not an endpoint!

Some positions to consider include the following

Account manager/executiveProduct salesEnterprise customer success managerMarketing ManagerClient success manager

Customer Success Manager Salary

Let’s see how much you can expect to make as a customer success manager and other related positions!

Customer Success Specialist Salary

On average, a customer success specialist earns about $64,000 annually in their first year.

Customer Onboarding Manager Salary

Regarding a customer onboarding manager, you can expect to earn between $73,500 and $77,500 per year.

Customer Success Operations Specialist Salary

A customer success operations specialist earns an average of $98,562 annually.

Senior Customer Success Manager Salary

A senior customer success manager has a salary between $87,400 and $113,600 per year, depending on experience.

Principal Customer Success Manager Salary

Lastly, a principal customer success manager’s salary is about $72,300 annually.

Customer Success Vs. Customer Support

Customer success and customer support are two very different roles.

A customer support role is more about providing basic answers to customers’ questions.

On the other hand, a customer success manager helps clients achieve their desired outcomes while providing feedback on how to use your product or service.

Client Success Manager Vs. Customer Success Manager

Customer success and client success managers have the same goals and objectives.

However, the difference between a CSM and a client success manager is who the job caters to.

For example, a client success manager focuses on business-to-business clients.

On the other hand, a customer success manager focuses on business-to-consumer and end customers.

Customer Success Manager Vs. Project Manager

The roles of a customer success manager and a project manager are quite different.

A CSM is focused more on the client’s experience and satisfaction with your product or services.

In comparison, a project manager oversees projects from start to finish, handling timelines, resources, communications, etc.

Closing Thoughts

Whether you’re looking to hire or become a customer success manager, you undoubtedly learned a lot about the position in this article!

CSMs are excellent communicators and aim to bring customer satisfaction to every client!

With the right CSM on your team, you can look forward to better customer retention, more conversions, and better communication all around.

Good luck finding the best CSM for your company. Or, if that doesn’t apply to you, good luck finding a CSM position that matches your skillsets!

The post What is a Customer Success Manager? Roles & Responsibilities Explained appeared first on Small Business Bonfire.

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