Customer Success functions has a larger umbrella coverage and so its associated roles and responsibility. This blog post is covering only roles which are kind of 100% client facing roles as a part of day-to-day activities.
Roles and its responsibilities do vary from org to org and the scale at which it is functioning. The common thread binding these roles together is these engagement roles are highly Strategic and Pro-active in Nature.
Before we look at each of the roles here are some of the common activities that all these roles actively participate in:
- Believe the Customer First philosophy and empower the Customer Success
- Represent the brand value of the company through engaging persona
- Proactively nurture the customer relationship with long term goals
- Play the active role in post sales hand-off, product onboarding and smooth engagement process
- Be the customer voice and the make customers feel important
- Be the trusted advisor in terms of Dollar Value, Relationship and Product / Service utilization
- Design, Plan and Deliver the customer success with clear KPIs
- Participate and drive the daily cadence calls and QBRs
- Bring measurable predictability to Renewals, Up-selling and Cross-selling
- Remain ready, steady and calm in the situation of Appreciation, Recognition and Escalations.
- Last but not least - ensure subscription model's recurring nature remains intact.
01. Account Manager - AM
Key responsibilities: Renewals, up-selling, cross-selling and handling the dollar value
In subscription based model recurring dollar value of any contract is always the most important factor of the deal and hence it needs to be handled with dedicated expertise. Account manager ensures keep these numbers in check post hand-off (from sales team) continually for entire contract life cycle. They not only focus on timely (mostly in-advance) renewals but also act as deal makers on any up-selling or cross-selling possibilities. Occasionally they also handle certain aspect of down-selling and price actions based on the subscription commitments from the customers.
One of the business sensitive aspect Account Managers handle is they have speedy strategic reach to decision-making higher management from client side, and they maintain these viable direct communication lines meticulously at personal level.
Of course Account Managers don't interact with the clients as frequently as CSMs or TAMs, but they are often a part monthly or quarterly business review meetings and work closely with the rest of the customer success functions.
02. Customer Success Manager - CSM
Key responsibilities: Better client connect, relationship building and customer advocacy
Differentiating factor for any engagement model is pre and post sales scenarios and driving the flawless channel of healthy interactions between post-sales and next renewal durations. No product or service provider company can afford to reach out to customers exactly before the renewal and play the number game. In subscription based model of business is more important to ensure effortless logo retention.
Customer Success Managers keep the engagement flow moving, happening and bring predictability in to renewal, up-selling and cross-selling activities. Throughout the subscription period CSMs ensure to gauge the customers, engagement impacting factors and most importantly ensure to remain genuine voice customers in the form of business advocacy.
CSMs play the key role in identifying the distractors, catalysts and promoters from the client and managing their interests effectively without compromising any aspect of being the trusted business advisor. They are flag bearers of planning and executing the QBR's and designing the success plans and getting necessary consent from the customers.
CSMs ensure to interact with the customers quite frequently (as compared to AMs) with the frequent cadence and expand their interactions with internal as well as external stakeholders.
03. Technical Account Manager
Key responsibilities: Product onboarding, adoption, implementation best practices, integration guidance and risk mitigation
Commercial and the relationship aspect of the engagement are taken care by AM and CSM, so what's next? Technical expertise assistance is still not addressed as yet !
Technical Account Manager brings the perfect blend of interpersonal and technical skill onboard. With vast product / service knowledge they ensure client (and team) knows the subscribed products and services well enough for getting into the implementation or utilization phase.
TAM works closely with the development or implementation partners to ensure right direction to the activity and best practices are being followed. This engagement method helps TAM to come up with any risks much in advance and eventually suggest the best possible way to handle it.
At times, TAM also assists the implementation team for any kind of technical analysis and adds the value with definite directions and recommendations for optimal ways of product utilization.
By end-of-day, all these roles are very closely knit with each other - follows the simple principle of CO-CREATION in every aspect of activities they do. Though these roles sound more like individual performers but they ensure the single voice to customers which further guarantees the CUSTOMER SUCCESS.