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  • Writer's pictureMarc Chia

3 Different Customer Success Managers (CSM) – The Sales Orientated Manager

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 3 part article we examine each profile and explore how the strengths of each can be leveraged to deliver results. Today we finish our 3 part discussion with the Sales Orientated Manager


The Sales Orientated Manager


The Sales Orientated Manager is driven by sales targets and are focused on selling and prospecting with customers. Sales targets for CSMs may include metrics such as renewal rates, up-selling, cross selling and referrals.


They are often personable and are good at building rapport and relationships with customer. While they themselves may not immediately be able to answer questions coming through, the best Sales Orientated Managers are masters at leveraging the strength of others both within and without the organisation to assist customers.


Pros


1. The Sales Orientated Manager is often a master of building rapport

This can prove invaluable in asking for assistance or understanding customer needs better as it provides a more open way to speak on such matters. A Sales Orientated Manager can also offer value to customers by connecting them where it sees opportunity for help and collaboration between customers.



2. The Sales Orientated Manager is likely to be focused on the selling aspect of the job


Customer Success is not intended solely to be a cost centre, indeed without the focus on creating value, they would fall into becoming customer support. Instead, Customer Success is a revenue generating centre with metrics including churn, ability to cross sell and upsell. The Sales Orientated Manager's ability to increase MRR/ARR per customer is likely to be an important contribution of the success of the Customer Success team.


Cons

1. The Sales Orientated Manager will likely need to rely on other CSMs to assist customers with their business or technical inquiries.


The Sales Orientated Manager may lack the deep skills or insight of other CSMs. In many scenarios the ability to manage these in a timely and efficient manner will be important. Setting up appropriate channels of communication and clear guidelines for escalation will help support these tasks.


2. The Sales Orientated Manager may sometimes run the risk of being regarded as just the sales guy by both customers and internal teams.


This may sometimes mean business opinions are less valued or technical discussions will not include the Sales Orientated Manager. While not every technical, product or support related discussion requires the input of the Sales Orientated Manager, it is still important to actively check in on such matters every once in a while. This serves to keep them connected with future developments or plans where they may have important contributions supported by the psychology of customers and their usage of the platform.


Conclusion


The Sales Orientated Manager is one that is constantly focused on the bottom line and uses skills in rapport building to achieve the goals of the Customer Success team. However, this must be carefully balanced against the needs of the customer at hand. Where needed he must be aware enough to engage his own team members to address such issues and provide a complete solution for the customer.


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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