Anna Connell: It depends. The first thing I’d ask her is “What do your customers need to be truly successful at using and expanding their use of your product? How can you attain that?”.
In general, I don’t believe each customer must have a dedicated customer success manager, but all customers can leverage self-serve tools that provide them insights into what your solution is doing for them.
Moreover, you need to be able to afford your infrastructure. If there are different levels of support which provide additional meaningful value to customers, then charge for them. However, don’t underestimate the need to have a customer advocate who is there to ensure that your customers are really getting the value they expected to get from your product. The world is changing and people have lots of easily adoptable choices now.
In addition, the customer success as well as renewals management roles are tough. These professional contributors listen to the problems and issues of our customers, and yet in the face of that, need to bring in revenues and uplift customers. I think it’s imperative that a lot of coaching is done on how to deal with challenges and overcome objections as well as empower the customer success and renewals team to act in the best interest of the company and the customers. I’ve seen too many rules placed on CSM and Renewal officers and that hamper their ability to grow and their desire to succeed.
Give your customer success managers coaching and set them up with a mentor. It works.
Finally, treat the team with professional compassion – it’s a tough gig.