The customer Success Manager's engagement model and depth differ 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 the 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 a 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 a limited set of features in the form of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Consumers would always know about the limitations and perhaps the ETA of specific parts in the pipeline. The GAP between the product's availability and the client's expectation is significant. This Value gap is understood and raised by both sides.
Product adoption is a little time-consuming, and at times it depends on the product company's expertise, too, as wherever the product is not fulfilling the business needs - workaround solutions may be needed. CSM needs to devise a mechanism to get timely product feedback from clients and convey it internally.
CSM Engagement - Value Gap
- CSM needs to be very technical with thorough product knowledge to reduce the Value Gap.
- Most of the time is spent assisting the client with technical complications and solutions.
- This engagement also results in time-consuming activity with a deep association with the customer team.
02. Critical Maturity Stage
At this stage, products and associated services achieve a certain level of feature-rich maturity. Hence, customer product utilization becomes more accessible without much dependency on the product company. Through guided journeys, customers and product companies can work together to deliver the aimed value.
Product adoption goes a little easier as the product is well-designed and has precise documentation, learning material, and training resources. Customer onboarding can be smooth as well.
CSM Engagement - Value Delivery
- Strong communication, conversational diplomacy, and quicker client connect demands are 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 a reactive to a proactive mode of engagement.
03. Feature Rich Product
There are a few well-designed products and well-executed, and its eco-system is mature enough to automate specific business processes. This helps achieve the products' desired value in a predictable manner. Customers primarily depend on product utilization in this case and may need minimal intervention only during level-up expansions.
Product adoption processes are well-structured and well-received by 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 the client.
- There is enough scope to expand client relationships and subscription footprint and unwind the up-selling / cross-selling possibilities.
- CSM can make his executive presence felt across the departments and c-level stakeholder lines, bringing more visibility.