Maranda Dziekonski, Vice President Customer Success and People’s Operations at Swiftly, shared her insights into CSM’s career paths and ways to further develop the skills needed for a customer success manager career path.
According to Maranda, there are two things to consider in the CSM career path: attitudes and skills.
We all know exploring new horizons widens our knowledge of the world. If you’re a curious individual, then you’ll like adventure, new finds, education. Your curiosity brings with it new experiences. It does not only lead us to venture into uncharted waters; in some cases, it takes us away from our comfort zone.
Therefore, your curiosity and learning mentality are inextricably linked to each other. Your willingness to try new things also encourages your eagerness to learn.
If you are part of an organization, be one of those ‘yes people’ who attracts/wants more opportunities. You don’t need to say yes to EVERYTHING and get burnt out but always be open for new learning opportunities. Be curious. Be flexible. Be open-minded.
a. Customer empathy
A great CSM has a strong sense of empathy that helps to understand the journey of its customers. If you are empathetic towards your customers, you are ready to bond and develop long-lasting, successful connections. It doesn’t just work for the customers, but also for the team that you handle as a CSM.
b. Build rapport
Establishing a relationship is a vital skill that the CSM must embrace. You build these relationships with your customers by attending customer success events, checking up on them, or even having a little bit of chitchat. It’s not just about creating connections, it’s about improving the knowledge-base of your customer’s success.
c. Strong listening skills
Without strong listening skills, the process of communicating with customers could be erratic. This is why asking the right questions is vital in clarifying any confusion you have with what they’re trying to pertain. Remember, don’t just ask to get an answer but ask to understand.
d. Analytical skills
As a CSM, you need to have great analytical skills to plan, execute, and lead a project successfully. This is vital for you to be able to systematically accomplish your goals and produce predictable results. Analytical skills can come naturally, and sometimes, are acquired by continuously learning.
Internal and External Career Development
Your career path as a CSM is a process. Learning to broaden your knowledge can be explored within your organization, joining online and live events, reading books related to your specialty, or by asking advice from the experts.
Here are some Customer Success Slack channels that you can join to get updates about CS live events:
- Customer Success Leadership Network
- CS In Focus
- Women In Customer Success
- Customer Success
- Customer Success Berlin
CSM as People Manager
As a People Manager, you can shape and reshape someone’s career by serving as their guide, by creating an impactful outcome with your team, removing barriers, and by being visible and proactive inside your organization.
There are two sides to a coin, being on top can be a tad isolating. As per Maranda:
“You don’t get invited to as many happy hours, you don’t tend to be in the know of what’s going on at the water cooler. It’s a little bit lonely, the saying that it’s lonely at the top is very true so be prepared for that.”
Workloads can bombard and pressure you. What’s the silver lining? Well, in the end, a hard day’s work is always fulfilling and rewarding. Especially when you love what you do. As a People Manager, you make tough calls that can either negatively or positively impact your organization.
But as Spidey says, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
“It’s true if you just want to go into people management.” – Maranda, Vice President Customer Success and People Operations at Swiftly.
How CSM Practice Can Help?
At CSM Practice, we work with Customer Success executives to define the proper organizational structure, CSM role definition, Team Performance Indicators, etc.
Take it to the next level! Ask CSM Practice about the services we provide and learn how we can help you transform your organization into success.