The main responsibility of your CS organization is to help your customers realize value, see clear ROI and generate (more) revenue on existing business.
The CSM in your company should carry a quota.
Here is a way you can think about it:
You give your CSM 100 customers worth $1 million in ARR. Your new business sales team worked hard to get these 100 customers or $1 million signed. The job of the CSM is to create/build value on top the portfolio that was handed to him/her. At the end of the year, you want (for example) 1.2 million ARR back (120% renewal rate or -20% net churn).
If a customer churns, the CSM should be held accountable. Churn is a serious matter - it can make or break a business. Therefore, you need a division that cares about churn, up-sales and renewal rates more than anything.
The “quotas” or revenue goals will be reflected in how much value your customer success team can create for your customers. The ultimate proof of value-creation is the up-sale or upgrade. Nobody is going to buy more, if you haven’t realized value for them with what they bought from you in the first place.
Are there SaaS companies that don’t put revenue targets/expectations on their customer success teams and are still successful? Yes! You can learn from the (really) large software companies. Salesforce even calls their customer success division: “Customers for life” - the division has it’s own GM and thousands and thousands of people only working on growing existing business.
There are different roles within your customer success division - and there are roles that don’t carry a revenue target, but the division as a whole, should!
Customer Success or Customer Support
Customer Success is not customer support. It is not a reactive function. It’s job is not to just sit there, wait for a support ticket to come in or answer the chat every time someone has a question about your software.
Customer Success is a proactive function. CSMs should be expected to reach out to the customer and ask questions - learn about what they do, their challenges, and consult the customer to help them achieve their goals by utilizing your services.
The do’s and dont's
- Create internal business rules for your customer support and customer success teams - certain questions are channeled to the Customer Success Manager and certain questions are answered by the support agent.
- Don't make CSMs to support. Here are example questions that should be handled by support agent: basic software questions, password, how do I do this or that, add users etc.
- Here are example questions that should be channeled and dealt by the CSM team: feature requests, feature capabilities, customer complaints.
- Set clear expectations on your customer success division - don’t shy away from setting a revenue target!
- Setting a growth target on your customer success team forces your product team to modularize your product and enable up-sales and upgrade opportunities