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CSM coverage

Serges Lemo
Serges Lemo Director, Customer SuccessMember | Enthusiast ✭

Hello TSIA community,

I am conducting an internal conversation on how CSMs should cover our top accounts. A key question that emerged is the internal need from some of our business units to have their own CSM in addition to the account CSM. The goal is for that Business Unit CSM to drive growth of that specific business line. The concern here is that we will have two CSMs interface with the same account. Does anyone here have a similar use case and how did you deal with it?

Comments

  • CarlosAlves
    CarlosAlves Sr. Product Manager TSIA Administrator, Moderator, Founding Member | admin

    I previously worked dividing CSMs by region, and then some of them were dedicated to specific customers. We always tried to keep one single point of contact. One important tip: every company may have several people talking to the customer, so internal alignment (meetings, tools, etc.) is a must-have.

    @DarleneKelly , any thoughts?

  • Serges Lemo
    Serges Lemo Director, Customer Success Member | Enthusiast ✭

    Thank you @CarlosAlves . Based on your comment, the recommendation is that the customer (a person at the client account) only has 1 CSM point of contact who can work cross-functionally to drive alignment. Did I understand that correctly? If so, I agree with that coverage. For example, a regional split for large accounts may be necessary.

    That being said, have you or anyone else seen the assignment done by product or product lines?

  • CarlosAlves
    CarlosAlves Sr. Product Manager TSIA Administrator, Moderator, Founding Member | admin

    Yes, you got it right. Yes, I've seen assignments by product lines so CSMs could get a deeper knowledge of the product. However, I prefer to focus CSMs on the relationship and adoption process. Usually, this function ended up evolving into a TAM (Technical Account Manager).

  • Serges Lemo
    Serges Lemo Director, Customer Success Member | Enthusiast ✭

    Thank you. That's what I was thinking. A product-line CSM is more like a TAM.

    Thoughts from others?

  • CarlosAlves
    CarlosAlves Sr. Product Manager TSIA Administrator, Moderator, Founding Member | admin

    @Marc Troyan , @DarleneKelly , @MWilliams , any thoughts?

  • Marc Troyan
    Marc Troyan Director, Customer Success Research Member

    Hi Serges -

    I agree with you and Carlos. A best practice is to have one single CSM that is the "relationship manager" regardless of region, size of account, number of contracts/products, etc. That CSM would, as you described, be the "point of contact who can work cross-functionally to drive alignment."

    That said, if you have specific regional, language, vertical or product expertise needs, you can have a different role that is assigned to the account (or a group of accounts) based on the need.

    Examples of specialist roles are:

    • Technical Account Manager (TAM)
    • CS Architects
    • CS Engineers
    • Industry/Vertical CSM
    • Product CSM

    These resources tend to be pooled resources and are assigned to groups of accounts based on specific criteria such as geography, language skills, industry expertise or product expertise. They get engaged with customers on an as-needed basis as determined by the CSM. These specialist teams still report in through CS leadership. However, they focus more on the specific expertise they have to help drive adoption rather than focus on nurturing relationships, building success plans, running QBRs, reporting on customer health and renewal/expansion commercials which are the focus of the CSM.

    Finally, you can also have regional CSMs especially if you have large, global accounts that require an in-region presence for time zone/language considerations. However, these CSMs tend to be part of an account team that is led by the "Global" CSM on the account.

    Marc