What Makes a Great Customer Success Leader?

By Kristen Hayer

InspiredImages / Pixabay

As the field of customer success grows and develops, more and more management jobs and executive roles are opening up. It is absolutely critical that customer success managers who want to move into these positions start developing strong management skills. Being a terrific CSM isn’t enough to make you a great leader.

Many customer success leaders are “home grown”, especially in the startups we work with. These professionals are top-notch CSMs that have helped get their company’s customer success efforts off the ground. However, in order for these leaders to develop and scale with the business, they need to pick up some new skills. If you want to grow into a Director or VP of Customer Success, make sure you’ve got (or build) skills in these 5 areas:


Being a great CSM doesn’t automatically make you a great manager of other CSMs. You’ll need to pick up some new skills to keep motivation high and turnover low. The biggest shift should be in your perspective: Your role is now to help other people succeed, in their own way and their own time. If you’re a top performer it can be really tough to let go of being a “doer” and shift to serving your team members by giving them the coaching and resources they need to succeed. Don’t worry – if they shine, you shine too. That said, there is a fine line between coaching and micromanaging. My favorite book for new managers is The 12 Elements of Great Managing (Wagner/Hartner).


When you’re a leader, there is no room for excuses in analytics. Don’t know what to measure? There are countless articles and blogs on the KPIs for success teams. Don’t have great data? Figure out what you want to measure and put some manual data collection points in place. It only takes a few months of solid customer data to figure out the areas you need to dig in on, and if you explain that to your executive team they will generally give you that time. Need better tools? Work with the tools you have for now, and make it crystal clear to the rest of your leadership team which tools you need and what you’ll be able to deliver once you have them. Not comfortable with spreadsheets? Do your career a favor and take a Lynda class or two. Your finance team will thank you. Speaking of which…


You need to know how to read financial reports, build a budget, and interpret business models. I’ll admit, financial reports are not my favorite. However, they are what your board of directors uses to understand the overall health of your business. You need to know how your team impacts financial reports, both in terms of costs and revenue. Additionally, you should own your own budget. Hopefully you have some experience with managing a budget in terms of your personal finances: Doing this for a team is the same but on a larger scale. Business models Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

Be Sociable, Share!