As the need for the Customer Success Manager (CSM) role increases, more companies are digging into best practices when filling this role. This is a process that does have some challenges; however, I feel these are good steps to help ensure you put the right person in place.
- Confidently knowing what qualities & skills you need:
The “who” or what skill set is perhaps the most volatile area within Customer Success Managers. I believe the industry is normalizing on the concept of having CSMs with a blended background with the following skillsets: (We posted a deeper answer on quora on this topic)
- Project Manager
- Subject Matter Expert
- Implementation Consultant
- Technical SME
- Engagement/Account Manager
This is hard to find and consequently it is important to weigh the various categories of Customer Success Manager skill set to match the complexity of your SaaS offering.
- Getting key leaders to agree:
As you scale, this becomes more challenging given the above challenge and the fact that more people are involved in the hiring process. How to consistently qualify applicants and rate interviewees can be challenging with multiple inputs.
- Not being aggressive with ideal candidates:
Missing out on hiring ideal candidates with a competitive offer & perfect timing.
Ideal candidate matrix (see graphic below)
- Core skills and cultural traits, if you compromise these, it will cost you
- Advanced skills can be developed, but missing core skill sets are a headache
- Culture & role fit, allows for skill sets to be developed
- Ideal candidates, should have offer in hand ASAP