In Customer Success, it’s easy to take on an “everything to everyone” level of responsibility, but that is not your job, it shouldn’t be anyone’s.
While Customer Success Managers (CSMs) wear many hats, there is a way to manage it all that doesn't involve burnout. LeeRon shares her thoughts on the many roles taken on by the average CSM, from the perspective of an educator. She shares:
1. ‘Customer Success Manager’ is one role, but you better believe that it consists of innumerous jobs:
I don't like when people call [Customer Success Managers] the quarterback… They're not [just] the quarterback. Sometimes they're the quarterback, sometimes they're the linebacker, sometimes they're the kicker. They change roles depending on the segment, the period of lifecycle, and where the customer is. They're not always the quarterback, the ball moves.
To me, Customer Success is a team sport, not an individual sport.
The more you play with the rest of the team and move to different positions in order to make sure the team and the customer is moving forward, the more successful you will be.
2. Customer Success folks are Sales folks. Our roles are more alike than you think:
‘Sell’ is not a dirty four-letter word.
Everyone sells. Are you someone's partner, parent, child, friend, colleague? If the answer is “yes”, you're selling; you're selling all day long.
A Customer Success Manager’s role is to sell. You're constantly selling. It's a much softer sell: it's continuous, it's never ending, it's you making sure that they're realizing the features or parts of the product that they're not using to the best of their ability. You're constantly reminding them of why they bought, what were their goals, how are they achieving them, how are they tracking; that’s selling. It is a softer, more consultative form, but it is selling.
3. Customer Success folks are educators; you might as well add “educator” to you resume:
I was in education for many, many years and kind of rose in the ranks from a classroom teacher, to a school administrator, to a district administrator.
I truly believe that Customer Success is education.
What you're doing in order to get customers to be successful is educating them on how to best use the platform or system or product that they just purchased.
The way that I look at Customer Success… is always through that journey lens. The same way I looked at my students: What are you ready for? At what time? What kind of lessons do you need? What type of format should I present this to you? [etc.] What do you need in order to serve you in the right moment for you to have that ‘aha’ [moment] of, “oh, I know that”, or a value realization, the two kind of meet for me in the same concept.
4. A piece of advice for those who are everything to everyone:
I like to describe this to people…I heard this on a podcast. As human beings, we're constantly juggling balls in the air. What we need to come to realize is some of those balls are bouncy balls. So if they fall, they bounce right back. Some of them are cotton balls; if they fall, it's not that big of a deal. But some of them are glass and if you can realize which ones are glass and keep those up in the air and don't lose too many cotton balls, you're doing an amazing job at what you do.
… Within the world of Customer Success, you're managing a lot of balls and you're not supposed to keep them all in the air.
Some you can pass to others, some you can bounce, some can drop, but some really need to be gently cared for.
Thanks to LeeRon Yahalomi for imparting wisdom about how to manage it all!