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  • Writer's pictureMarc Chia

3 Different Customer Success Managers (CSM) Styles – The Business Consultant

Customer Success (CS) is still a relatively new term that organisations are still coming to grasp with. Tying together different functions like support, implementation, business advisory and more the role of a CSM is varied not just between organisations but even within an organisation.


In the following we detail 3 different profiles of CSMs; the Product Expert, the Business Consultant; the Sales Orientated Manager. All 3 play different roles and leverage different strengths to support customers. In this article we examine each profile and explore how the strengths of each can be leveraged to deliver results. Today we continue with the 2nd part of our discussion with the Business Consultant.


The Business Consultant


The Business Consultant is a big believer in how technology can be leveraged to achieve organizational aims. Often having a prior background in business administration, consulting and/or project management. The Business Consultant brings to the table an ability to organize and direct with a deep knowledge of business processes.

Business Consultants may lack deep in-depth product knowledge but can offer value to customers by helping them re-envision and restructure organisations to best leverage the product. On the flip side their vision for how technology empowers business strategy also shapes product road mapping.


Pros


1. The Business Consultant is familiar with business operations across a broad spectrum of companies.


No matter the customer being handled, the Business Consultant is quick on the uptake on organizational goals and can offer input to achieve these. He deftly blends knowledge of the product with knowledge of organisations and how they can or should function to assist customers in achieving their goals.


2. The Business Consultant can offer insight for product teams.


Straddling the divide, the Business Consultant combines insights with technology in terms of how development roadmaps can align with topline strategic goals of the customers they served. When pared with the Product Experts understanding of user challenges this can serve as an exceedingly good starting platform for product teams to proceed on


Cons


1. The Business Consultant may lack the in-depth knowledge of the Product Expert.


This may mean a longer turn around time on issues raised. The Business Consultant CSM should leverage the skillsets of other members of the team to help address this. It is also important to be communicative on steps taken to both external and internal parties while acting as a facilitator for communication.


2. Similar to Product Experts, the Business Consultant may not themselves be sales orientated.


Accordingly, they may also benefit from a scheduled and planned way of approaching these conversations. Without a plan of engagement, it is more likely than not that they may be caught up in other matters. It is also worth it to think about leveraging on the strength of their team whether it is the Sales team or the Sales Orientated CSM.


One advantage Business Consultants have in this regard is in combining their knowledge of strategic needs with product offerings to craft messaging to customers. The best sale to the Business Consultant is the sale that offers long term value and aligns with the direction of the customer.


Conclusion


In the sense of serving the needs of a customer’s success, the business consultant can sometimes be the most closely aligned as they approach issues from an organisational goals’ perspective. This macro perspective tied together with on the ground execution and a close partnership with Product Experts and development teams becomes a powerful driving force for long term success both internally and externally.


For the growth of the Customer Success team as a whole, the Business Consultant CSM should regularly share and engage other CSMs to help share his wealth of experience and broaden the value that the entire Customer Success team can bring to customers.


Marc is the founder of Usertip where he leads the customer success and operations teams. Usertip's no-code digital adoption platform enables anyone to create in-application walkthroughs for end users of software.





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