Customer Success Manager's enagement model and depth differs based on the product maturity, onboarding, adoption and involved stakeholders. Most importantly CSM can add more value as and when product maturity is upscaled to next level.
This is almost similar with the way we get to see more advanced features with every next segment of the same car brand. Entry level car may have basic features , mid level car may have more security features and top level car may have luxurious features such as climate control, sun roof and voice control. Same way -
Let's look at few of the most common product maturity levels and it's impact on product adoption and value addition expected from CSM.
01. Early Stage
The products at this stage are often launched as a BETA offering with limited set of features in the form of Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Consumers would always know about the limitations and perhaps the ETA of certain features in pipeline. The GAP between the product's availability and the client expectation is significant. This Value gap is understood and raised by both the sides.
Product adoption goes little time-consuming and at times it is dependent on the product company's expertise too, as wherever product is not fulling the business needs - workaround solutions may be needed. CSM needs to device the mechanism to get the timely product feedback from client and convey it internally.
CSM Engagement - Value Gap
- CSM needs to be very technical with thourough product knowledge to reduce the Value Gap.
- Most of the time is spent on the assisting the client on technical complications and solutions.
- This engagement also results in time consuming activity with deep association with customer team.
02. Critical Maturity Stage
At this stage, products and its associated services achieve certain level of feature-rich maturity and hence product utilization for the customers become easier without much dependency on the product company. Customers and product companies can work together to deliver the aimed value through guided journeys.
Product adoption goes little easier as product is well-designed and precise documentation, learning material and training resources are in place. Customer onboarding can be smooth as well.
CSM Engagement - Value Delivery
- Strong communication, conversational diplomacy and quicker client connect demands to be the core competencies for the CSM.
- More discussions and outcomes can be planned and executed around value delivery from the subscribed services.
- This way CSM can move from reactive to pro-active mode of engagement.
03. Feature Rich Product
There are the few products which are well-designed, well executed and its eco-system is matured enough to be able to automate certain business processes. This helps in terms of achieving the desired value from the products in predictable manner. In this case customers are mostly independent on the product utilization front and may need minimal intervention only during level up expansions.
Product adoption processes are well-structured and well-received from customers. Often products at such maturity level ensure to deliver the business case specific product adoption training material which can enhance the knowledge base for the customer's implementation teams.
CSM Engagement - Value Expansion
- CSM has the best possible scope to bring in the strategic side of the engagement upfront and emerge as a trusted advisor to client.
- There is enough scope to expand client relationship, subscription footprint, unwind the up-selling / cross selling possibilities.
- CSM can make his executive presence felt across the departments and c-level stakeholder lines bringing more visbility.