There’s Something Missing in Your Customer Success Job Description
Customer success is still an emerging profession within B2B enterprises. As more and more businesses switch to recurring revenue business models, we are seeing more and more customer success jobs open up across all industries. The reason is simple:
The success of your business is intertwined with the success of your customers. If your customer’s achieve their desired outcome while using your products and services, then they will renew and buy more.
Houston We Have a Problem
I see a growing trend that concerns me. While reading reports from analysts or articles from customer success technology companies, such as Gainsight, Totango or Natero, I see customer success defined as managing customer relationships to:
- Reduce churn and improve retention rates by providing continuous value to drive outcomes
- Grow customer lifetime value through cross-sell and upsell
- Ensure the customer renews at an optimal price point
However, when I search job boards for roles or even when I talk with customer success managers, one key thing is missing from how the role is defined. And that is:
Most job customer success job descriptions speak to:
- Seeking passionate individuals that thrive in a high-energy environment
- Ensure customers achieve the highest level of value from our products and services
- Maintained engage, proactive, regular contact with accounts to maximize their success
- Evangelize best practices
- Be the voice and advocate of our customers
- Proactively manage and grow a portfolio of assigned customers
Now the last one almost hits the nail on the head; however, all of the responsibilities in the job descriptions that I looked at speak to how the role helps the customer. Of course, the customer is the priority. However, what about the other side of the value of the customer success team? How does the role translate to growth for your company? Why should your CEO and board want to invest in the right people, process and technology for this team? Is Customer Success a cost center or a revenue generating team?
If you are not including revenue or revenue risk as part of your customer success job descriptions, then you are selling your team short. And if you are a customer success professional and you don’t know exactly how much revenue you are responsible for then you are selling yourself short.
Rethinking the Customer Success Job Description
Now, I have heard it argued that having the customer success position focused on revenue is in direct conflict with being customer-centric. That in the “age of the customer” you must be ready to invest in the customer experience to remain competitive. Basically …
If you build a customer success team, revenue will come!
If only it was so easy. The customer experience is becoming an executive priority, because driving customer success is essential to profitability and growth. Subscription business models remove barriers to purchase, but they also remove barriers to leaving one vendor for another. Executives need to understand exactly how your customer success team is protecting and growing revenue streams.
Yes, build your team with energetic, customer-connected professionals that are product experts and can drive customer onboarding and adoption to deliver outcomes. But also ensure that your job descriptions and each person on your team knows how they contribute to:
- The Value to the Customer – quantify the outcomes you are driving for the customer and the revenue savings or growth they can possibly receive from your products and services.
- Net Revenue Retention – quantify the revenue risk. Define how much revenue is being protected by each customer success manager.
- Customer Expansion Revenue – even if your team is not directly responsible for closing upsell and cross-sell opportunities, each rep should know the possible predicted growth for each customer in their portfolio.
- Customer Renewal Revenue – even if your team is not directly responsible for closing renewals, each rep should know the renewal revenue potential for their portfolio.
Yes, customer health, satisfaction and loyalty are the primary focus for customer success managers. No, this does not mean that customer success is not a revenue generation engine for your company. Don’t lose sight of how your team contributes to the business success. And customer success managers, when asked, “What do you do?” respond with:
“I’m a customer success manager for a million-dollar customer portfolio, that has the potential to generate an additional five million dollars for my company over the next two years.”
Quantify the value of your expertise and passion for customer success. It makes a difference in the future of the profession and is essential part of any customer success job description.
Learn the step-by-step approach to creating a business case for revenue lifecycle management and customer success by watching our Webinar On Demand: Create a Customer Success Charter.
Authored by Michele Ballinger, Solution Marketing for ServiceSource.
In her role, Michele provides market insights and best practice advice to customers.
When she is not writing, you can find her hiking and photographing the breathtaking