5 Real Struggles Articulated by CSMs

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5 Real Struggles Articulated by CSMs

By | 2019-05-09T21:41:31-04:00 January 23rd, 2019|Customer Success, Customer Success Best Practices|0 Comments

Customer Success Managers (CSMs) have challenging jobs. Tasked with delivering value to multiple customers so that they become loyalists involves lots of work, knowledge, and balance. The better a CSM is at their job, the greater the likelihood that they have some stresses around being able to do all that their job entails. If you’re managing CSMs, take caution to not regard these stresses as indicators of poor performance. If your CSMs are stressed, it’s likely that they are aware of all they have to do and just may need some relief that a Customer Success Management platform can provide. Here are five common situations that may indicate it’s time to get a Customer Success Management platform:

customer success struggle“I struggle to confidently identify what my priorities are.”

I have 100 accounts that I manage. Within each of those accounts, I have multiple people with whom I have relationships. Each of my accounts are in different stages of their lifecycle. Each day, I must identify who needs what (before they ask for it), and which of those needs is a priority. While I feel as though I understand the desired outcomes of all of my accounts, I am frequently overwhelmed with identifying what to do for whom and when.

customer success struggleA Customer Success Management platform that helps CSMs proactively prioritize their work can be very helpful.

CSMs who have Customer Success Management platforms that help them manage their tasks are able to do the right work at the right time and are simply more confident in what they’re doing. This confidence bleeds into their customer relationships and can positively impact customer experiences and ultimately loyalty.


customer success struggle

“My customers don’t always do what I believe they should do to be successful.”

My goals are to facilitate successful outcomes for my customers. They have identified what defines success, and I know how to get them there. I have experience and expertise that I know they need. That said, I often feel like a parent trying to convince my children to do what’s in their best interest, and they just won’t listen to me!

customer success struggleCustomer desired outcomes aren’t typically static, so an agile Customer Success Management platform can make a huge difference.

Their goals evolve, and the customer expects that your solution will evolve with them. Being agile is key to keeping them engaged and deriving value. A customer success platform that supports an agile approach to account management is a great resource that can mitigate this frustration. Such a platform will have the capability of creating and modifying customer lifecycles and playbooks that define a proactive approach to delivery, and also supports an agile approach to work management.


customer success struggleAt kickoff, I find myself having to reset expectations, and align customers with reality.”

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate our sales team and the hard work they do to secure new customers. However, it often happens where I feel as though the customer has a different idea about how our solution will work in their environment than I do. I don’t want to question what they want, so I end up having to resell the solution to them. This can impact our kickoff schedule and their time to first value.

customer success struggleA Customer Success Management platform that provides full visibility into the account can enable optimal cross-functional communication and collaboration.

Internal knowledge transfers can be places where balls are dropped and customers get frustrated because they feel they have to repeat themselves, or were sold something that wasn’t what they thought it was going to be. If both sales and post-sales (Customer Success) teams rely upon the same account information, the likelihood of misinformation or the need to reset expectations greatly decreases.


customer success struggle

“I don’t feel like I have a voice in our R&D team. When I do, I don’t know when and how to effectively communicate that information back with my customers.”

It’s a fine line I walk between my customers and my company. I appreciate my customers’ insights into how our product can be used and improved, and I want to be their advocate. I also recognize the reality and feasibility of some of their suggestions. It’s my job to manage this tension by identifying real opportunities for improvement within our product, and being able to communicate truthfully with my customers about whether something is truly a slated upgrade, or how to streamline a work-around for them.

customer success struggleA Customer Success Management platform that integrates with all the systems throughout the enterprise can be the linchpin in cross-department communications.

Communication across business units is always challenging when there are disparate systems involved. CSMs have intelligence that they receive from customers and want to share with R & D. This is best done when all units are connected to a single platform for all customer data.


customer success struggle

“It’s difficult to provide just the right amount of expertise to each of my customers.”

The expectation is that I will keep my customers delighted enough to renew and also generate interest in expanding licenses. Implicit in this expectation is that I should do what it takes to keep the accounts I work with, but not over-deliver and set expectations too high. The company goal is to deliver consistent superior customer experiences across the board, and to do so without white-gloving them. The reality is that some customers are more demanding, and not necessarily more valuable while some larger accounts warrant that extra touch, and may not be vocalizing their needs. I have to balance these expectations, their needs and my time to deliver just the right amount to each of our customers.

customer success struggleCSMs who have access to a Customer Success Management platform with time tracking have real data on their effort and can better prioritize their days.

Time tracking is a critical capability of a Customer Success Management platform. Without time tracking, CSMs and CS leaders have no insights into how much time tasks and account management are taking. CS team leaders rely upon time-tracking to better allocate resource and capacity plans.

About the Author:

Haresh is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Bolstra. Haresh is a veteran B2B SaaS industry executive having served in key roles with emphasis in product strategy, sales and marketing.