Customer Success functions have larger umbrella coverage, as do their associated roles and responsibilities. This blog post covers 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 everyday activities that all these roles actively participate in:
- Believe in the Customer First philosophy and empower the Customer Success
- Represent the brand value of the company through an engaging persona
- Proactively nurture the customer relationship with long-term goals
- Play an active role in post-sales hand-off, product onboarding, and smooth engagement process
- Be the customer's voice and make customers feel important
- Be the trusted advisor in terms of Dollar Value, Relationship, and Product / Service utilization
- Design, Plan, and Deliver 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 situations of Appreciation, Recognition, and Escalations.
- Last but not least - ensure the subscription model's recurring nature remains intact.
01. Account Manager - AM
Key responsibilities: Renewals, up-selling, cross-selling, and handling the dollar value
In the subscription-based model, the recurring dollar value of any contract is always the most important factor of the deal. Hence, it needs to be handled with dedicated expertise. The account manager continually ensures to keep these numbers in check post-hand-off (from the sales team) for the entire contract life cycle. They focus on timely (mostly in advance) renewals and act as deal makers on any up-selling or cross-selling possibilities. Occasionally they also handle a specific aspect of down-selling and price actions based on the subscription commitments from the customers.
One business-sensitive aspect Account Managers handles is their speedy strategic reach to decision-making higher management from the client side. They maintain these viable direct communication lines meticulously at a personal level.
Of course, Account Managers don't interact with the clients as frequently as CSMs or TAMs, but they are often a part of 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 connection, relationship building, and customer advocacy
The differentiating factor for any engagement model is pre and post-sales scenarios and driving the flawless channel of healthy interactions between post-sales and subsequent renewal durations. No product or service provider company can afford to reach customers precisely before the renewal and play the number game. The subscription-based business model is more important to ensure effortless logo retention.
Customer Success Managers keep the engagement flow moving and happening and bring predictability into renewal, up-selling, and cross-selling activities. Throughout the subscription period, CSMs ensure to gauge the customers, engagement impacting factors, and most importantly, provide 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 QBRs, designing the success plans, and getting the necessary consent from the customers.
CSMs ensure to interact with the customers quite frequently (compared to AMs) with a frequent cadence and expand their interactions with internal and external stakeholders.
03. Technical Account Manager
Key responsibilities: Product onboarding, adoption, implementation of best practices, integration guidance, and risk mitigation
The commercial and relationship aspect of the engagement are taken care of 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 skills onboard. With vast product/service knowledge, they ensure the client (and team) knows the subscribed products and services well enough to get into the implementation or utilization phase.
TAM works closely with the development or implementation partners to ensure the right direction for the activity and best practices are followed. This engagement method helps TAM identify any risks in advance and suggest the best way to handle them.
At times, TAM assists the implementation team with any technical analysis and adds value with definite directions and recommendations for optimal 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.