The Customer Success Professional's Handbook

Book description

The definitive “Customer Success Manager How-To-Guide” for the CSM profession from Gainsight, who brought you the market-leading Customer Success

The Customer Success Manager has become a critical asset to organizations across the business landscape. As the subscription model has spread from the cloud and SaaS to more sectors of the economy, that pivotal role will only grow in importance. That’s because if you want to compete and thrive in this new environment, you need to put the customer at the center of your strategy. You need to recognize you’re no longer selling just a product. You’re selling an outcome. Customer Success Managers (CSM) are committed to capturing and delivering those outcomes by listening to their customers, understanding their needs, and adapting products and services to drive success. Although several existing resources address the customer success imperative, there is no authoritative instruction manual for the CSM profession—until now.

The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook is the definitive reference book for CSMs and similar roles in the field. This practical, first-of-its-kind manual fills a significant gap in professional customer success literature, providing the knowledge every CSM needs to succeed—from the practitioner level all the way to senior leadership. The authors—acknowledged experts in building, training, and managing Customer Success teams—offer real-world guidance and practical advice for aspiring and experienced CSMs alike. The handbook is written by practioners for practioners. An indispensable resource for front-line Customer Success Managers, this much-needed book:

  • Demonstrates how to build, implement, and manage a Customer Success team
  • Helps new CSMs develop their skills and proficiency to be more employable and grow in their careers
  • Provides clear guidance for managers on how to hire a stellar CSM
  • Presents practical tactics needed to drive revenue growth during renewal, expansion, and customer advocacy opportunities
  • Explains proven methods and strategies for mentoring CSMs throughout their careers
  • Offers valuable insights from Gainsight, the Customer Success Company, and the broader customer success community with more than a dozen of the industry’s most respected leaders contributing their perspectives 

Currently, with over 70,000 open positions, Customer Success Manager in one of the fastest-growing jobs in the world. The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook: How to Thrive in One of the World's Fastest Growing CareersWhile Driving Growth For Your Company will prove to be your go-to manual throughout every stage of your CSM career.

Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Contributors
  3. Foreword
  4. PART I: What Is Customer Success and Why Is It a Great Career?
    1. 1 Customer Success Management: The Birth of a New Profession
      1. The Age of the Customer
      2. The Critical Missing Function
      3. The Birth of the Customer Success Manager
      4. Endnotes
    2. 2 Defining the Customer Success Manager Role
      1. Goals: Increase Retention, Reduce Churn, Drive Growth
      2. The Consumption Gap
      3. The Customer Success Equation
      4. What Customer Success Management is Not
      5. A Career or a Springboard to a Real Profession?
      6. Endnotes
  5. PART II: The Core Skills of a Great CSM
    1. 3 A Day in the Life of a Customer Success Manager
      1. Putting Customer Success into Practice
      2. Being a Customer Success Manager – A Personal Testimonial
      3. The Three Core CSM Competencies
    2. 4 The CSM Skills Required in an Ever-Evolving Business World
      1. How to Develop Your Industry and Category Knowledge
      2. Network with Mentors and Industry Experts
      3. Product Expertise Is Your Ticket to Greatness
      4. Endnote
    3. 5 Learn How to Empathize and Build Relationships with Customers
      1. 1. Be Introspective and Self-Aware
      2. 2. Communicate with Intent, Precision, and Persuasion: Be a Trusted Advisor
      3. 3. Consistently Follow-Up to Create and Grow Trust
      4. 4. How to Respond When You Don't Know the Answer
      5. 5. Stay Focused and Positive When Situations Are Difficult; Learn From Them
      6. 6. Read People In-Depth and With a #HumanFirst Lens of Compassion
      7. 7. Genuinely Connect with Customers: it is Personal and it is Your Business
      8. Endnotes
  6. PART III: Operationalizing Customer Success
    1. 6 Preparing for Your Engagements and Asking Questions Like a Problem-Solving Consultant
      1. The Need for a 360o View of the Customer
      2. Do Your Homework: Prepare for Every Customer Engagement
      3. The Art of Discovery: Asking the Right Questions to Get to the Heart of the Customer's Problem
      4. Endnotes
    2. 7 Defining the Journey to Customer Outcomes
      1. Customer Lifecycle, Journey Map, Customer Journey
      2. Segment Your Customers
      3. Endnotes
    3. 8 Operationalize Your Customer Journey with Moments of Truth
      1. Identifying Your Moments of Truth
      2. Sales-to-Onboarding Handoff
      3. Welcome the Customer and Onboarding Kickoff
      4. Launch or Go-Live
      5. New Customer Executive or Champion
      6. Business Reviews: For the Executive and More
      7. Renewals
      8. Endnotes
    4. 9 Using Customer Health Scores to Manage Your Customers
      1. Health Scores: How to Know If Your Customers Are Doing Well
      2. Designing Your Outcomes Health Score
      3. Designing Your Experience Health Score
      4. Setting the Right Thresholds
      5. Other Frameworks to Design Your Health Score
      6. Putting Health Scores to Work for You
      7. The Future and Human-Element of Customer Health Scorecards
      8. Endnotes
    5. 10 Voice of the Customer and Your Tech-Touch Strategy
      1. How to Get Meaningful Customer Feedback
      2. The Hidden Value of Customer Feedback
      3. Tech Touch: The Secrets of Low-Touch Customer Success
      4. Onboarding Tech-Touch Workflow
      5. Renewals Management Tech-Touch Workflow
      6. Risk Management Tech-Touch Workflow
      7. Advocacy Management Tech-Touch Workflow
      8. Endnote
    6. 11 Help Customers Achieve Their Business Goals
      1. Adoption Management: How to Proactively Manage Product Use and Adoption
      2. Success Planning: Make Sure the Customer Gets the Long-Term Results They Expect
      3. Identify Business Objectives
      4. Strategy Session
      5. Document the Plan
      6. Track Value
      7. Product Experience – Improving Your Product is Your #1 Priority
      8. Endnote
    7. 12 Drive Revenue Growth Through Engagement, Proactive Risk Management, Churn Analysis, Expansion, and Advocacy
      1. Stakeholder Alignment: How to Manage Executive Sponsors and Other Customer Stakeholders
      2. Risk Management: What to Do When a Customer is Trending Toward Cancelling: How to Proactively Escalate Risk and Save the Customer
      3. Reduce Churn with a Deep Understanding of Why Your Customers Have Left
      4. Expansion Management: Understanding White Space in Your Customer Base to Upsell and Cross-sell Your Products and Services
      5. Advocacy Management: How to Turn Your Best Customers into Evangelists
      6. Endnote
  7. PART IV: Retaining and Developing the Best CSMs
    1. 13 Managing a Customer Success Team
      1. Segmentation and Aligning a Customer Success Manager to the Right Customer
      2. Determining the Best Customer Success Manager-to-Customer Ratio and CSM Profiles
      3. Compensating Your Customer Success Managers
      4. Dashboards to Manage the Customer Success Team
    2. 14 Creating Career Paths for Your Customer Success Managers
      1. Designing CSM as a Career
      2. Creating Career Paths within the CS Function
      3. Conducting a Comprehensive Talent Review Process
      4. Creating Career Paths Between Functions
  8. Conclusion
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. About the Authors
  11. Index
  12. End User License Agreement

Product information

  • Title: The Customer Success Professional's Handbook
  • Author(s): Ashvin Vaidyanathan, Ruben Rabago
  • Release date: January 2020
  • Publisher(s): Wiley
  • ISBN: 9781119624615