article | January 21, 2019
How to Settle the Battle over Organizational Structure – Where Do the AM and CSM Fit?
Investment by B2B firms into a Customer Success function continues to outpace all other roles. Growth in Customer Success positions in 2018 was more than 80% above 2017 levels. Leadership continues to place their confidence and budget into Customer Success as a growth driver. Sales operations can lead the way to turn Customer Success into a growth engine.
Customer Success has evolved, and your success depends upon keeping up. In its infancy, Customer Success was focused on retention of existing revenue streams. The primary objective of early CS was to deliver service above customer expectations and improve retention. However, the data are clear – delivering great customer service does not drive upsell and cross-sell growth.
Customer Success 2.0 goes beyond retention and is focused on delivering growth of customer spend through cross and upsell. So, the question becomes this: Account Managers and Customer Success Managers are both expected to deliver growth – how will you determine which resource to point at which opportunities?
Get the answer wrong and your significant investment in CS will not result in growth. Get it right and reap the benefits. Mining available data, capturing what you don’t have and building crisp roles, responsibilities, processes and rules of engagement are the keys to success in 2019 and beyond.
Download the CSM and AM Assessment and RACI for an example of a RACI and Assessment questions that will assist in drawing the lines between an AM and a CSM.
What Are the Characteristics of Cross/Upsell Opportunities Today?
Even if your CSM’s are not currently responsible for cross-sell and upsell, understanding what opportunities are being identified is paramount.
Seek answers to the following questions and analyze the results:
SBI has evaluated client pipeline data within all industries across hundreds of clients. Turning that analysis into decision-making insight and step-by-step plan execution makes us different.
What Does Your CSM and AM Talent Look Like Today?
It’s likely that your most successful CSM’s and Account Managers share some competencies and skills. Problem solving, Relationships Skills, Opportunity Management, Business Acumen and Customer Focus are all examples of competencies strong Account Managers and CSM’s likely share.
If you’ve not done so, it’s time to design and deploy a process to evaluate your talent in these roles. Build competency-based interviews that ask specific behavioral questions. Map these answers to objective measures of success. Grade your teams on each competency and stretch your best to leverage their talent in ways that will allow them to grow. SBI has designed and conducted thousands of competency-based assessments. For a bit more on our Talent Management Practice, click HERE.
Both roles should be focused on asking questions to find unmet needs that your solutions can fulfill. Both positions must strive to bring commercial insight to the customer that allows them to see the art of the possible.
Like any other sales role, CSM’s should be aware of changing situations that can create compelling events for a client. Mergers, acquisitions, leadership changes and competitive initiatives can all uncover a compelling event that should drive action.
Build Precise Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Rules of Engagement
Sales positions, like all roles, require clear responsibilities, accountabilities and rules of engagement. Using the data from opportunity analysis and competency evaluations build a RACI for CSM’s and Account Managers. Ensure there are clear lines that determine rules of engagement. For example, set a dollar amount maximum as a dividing line to designate who leads the sales effort. Initially, determine criteria for total customer size that can be upsold or cross sold by a CSM verses an AM.
SBI has built many sales organizations to drive revenue growth. In doing so, a core aspect is to have crisp lines of demarcation to specify who does what. Download the CSM and AM Assessment and RACI for an example of a RACI and Assessment questions that will assist in drawing the lines between an AM and a CSM.
Customer Success 2.0 relies on a new set of expectations for the Customer Success function. Delivering growth is no longer dependent on your Sales Execs alone – drive growth by empowering your best CSM’s to not only retain revenue but further penetrate your customer base.
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© 2018 Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), B.V.
A Business Strategy Consulting Company
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands