Figures from Deloitte show that client-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that aren’t focused on customers. This statistic underscores the vital importance of great customer success.
Customer success involves the process of working proactively to develop strong partnerships with your customers over an extended period of time. It’s a delicate science. If your team is going to work effectively, you’ll need to find a superstar customer success (CS) manager.
In this post, we’re going to show you how to hire the perfect CS manager for your team.
We’re going to cover:
- What CS managers do
- The average salary for CS managers
- The step-by-step process of hiring your CS manager
Let’s get started!
What Is a Customer Success Manager (and What Do They Do)?
A CS manager is ultimately responsible for ensuring that your entire customer success team provides your customers with the tools and support they need to use your product/service effectively.
Your CS manager will handle these common tasks…
Lead and motivate your team.
Since your CS manager will become a figurehead in your business, he or she will need to lead from the front and motivate your CS team. This talented individual will utilize great communication skills and a keen understanding of your customers, in order to make sure your team is always moving in the right direction and providing optimal support.
Develop techniques to reduce churn.
Customer churn will negatively impact your monthly recurring revenues. Your CS manager has the difficult but exciting task of identifying techniques and opportunities that will reduce that churn. In other words, your CS manager will use his or her experience and industry understanding to develop novel campaigns and strategies. Collaborate with sales and marketing.
As the head of your CS team, your CS manager will need to work alongside sales and marketing colleagues on cross-department initiatives. For instance, this manager might need to collaborate with marketing on the rollout of a new feature or with sales to coordinate the handover of new customers.
What Salary Do You Need to Offer Your Customer Success Manager?
It’s becoming increasingly expensive for businesses to acquire new customers, which is one of the key reasons customer success is becoming more prominent. These hard-working teams generate more value for customers and, in turn, your business.
Because of the popularity and strategic importance of customer success departments, CS managers can command relatively high salaries.
In fact, statistics from Glassdoor suggest that the average salary of a CS manager in the United States is around $81,414. In terms of range, CS managers can expect to earn between $55,000 and $126,000.
Learn How to Hire a Customer Success Manager
Now that we have a clearer picture of a CS manager’s role, let’s dig a little deeper into the steps you should follow to find the best possible candidates.
Where Can You Find Customer Success Managers?
First things first: It’s important that you know where to place your job adverts and source the best candidates. Here are some ideas…
Once you’ve created a compelling job advert, job boards will be your first port of call. To reduce your costs while surfacing the right candidates, you’ll want to choose the right platforms and make the right decisions.
Here’s a quick look at the key job boards you’ll want to use:
- Google for Jobs
Many businesses now use talent pools to sort and surface talent. These talent pools are essentially groups of candidates sorted according to key criteria. For instance, you might have an internal talent pool, as well as an alumni talent pool composed of previous employees.
When possible, you should use talent pools to keep track of key talent and reduce your costs. Your ideal CS manager might be waiting in one of your talent pools!
Some businesses will leverage the power and expertise of recruitment agencies to find the best CS managers. While working with recruitment agencies can be expensive, it might be the best option for fast-growing businesses that don’t have the internal capacity to make management-level hires yet.
What Skills Do You Need to Look for in a Customer Success Manager?
Your CS manager will need to embody your customer service philosophy. In addition, he or she will need the technical and practical skills to get things done.
Here’s a look at the essential skills for any CS manager…
Your CS manager needs impeccable communication skills—because he or she is going to communicate with your customers, your team members, and your executive team. Your CS manager’s confidence and communication skills will make sure that important information is relayed in a timely and clear way.
It’s very important for your CS team members to understand the important role they play in the success of your customers. So you should select a CS manager who has a natural sense of empathy and proudly puts that quality on display. In addition, he or she should set this example for the rest of your team.
A respect for data
The most effective CS teams collect and interpret data from a range of sources. They use this data to understand the way customers interact with a particular product/service, and they utilize those insights to offer support and suggestions. So you should find a CS manager with an analytical mindset who can make the most of your data.
Since customer success is an exciting and dynamic field, you need a CS manager who can stay on top of all that change and keep you at the forefront of your industry. The best CS managers make sure they constantly learn and develop the new abilities they need to lead their teams to success.
Great organizational skills
When it comes to communicating with your customers, timeliness and accuracy are essential factors. It’s important for your CS manager to set a great example about being an excellent organization. They’ll use that ability to flawlessly communicate with your customers and support them as effectively as possible.
Familiarity with tech tools
Over the course of an average day, customer success managers will use a suite of sophisticated tools across a range of categories. For instance, they’ll regularly use communication and reporting tools, so you’ll need to choose a candidate who has the appropriate tech experience and skills.
How to Write a Job Description for a Customer Success Manager (including Templates and Real-Life Examples)
If you’re going to attract the best candidates, you’ll have to invest a lot of time and effort into creating a great job description. Here’s the way we recommend you approach this process…
1. Painstakingly outline your requirements.
Before you put pen to paper and start writing your description, it’s important that you take the time to carefully outline the fundamental information you’ll include in the description itself.
Here’s a look at the key areas you’ll want to cover:
- Tasks and responsibilities
- Qualifications and other requirements
- Background information
You should painstakingly collect all of that information before you start writing.
2. Define your description style.
Now that you’ve collected your information together in one place, it’s time to think about the style you’d like to adopt in your job description. While this decision will largely be determined by your brand identity, it’s worth thinking about.
For inspiration, take a look at some other job descriptions. For instance, will you choose a fun and engaging style or a more corporate one?
3. Craft an initial draft.
Equipped with a clearer picture of the key information you need to include (and what you want your job description to look like), you’ll want to create an initial draft. To get started, you might decide to use an example or template. (We’ll take a look at those soon.)
4. Get your marketing and hiring professionals involved.
You’ll want to share the draft of your job description with marketing, who can then work their magic. For instance, a copywriter might make some adjustments, and he or she will be able to ensure that your job description fits your guidelines for the tone of voice.
You’ll also want your hiring professionals to review the job description and ask for their input—before they finally publish it on your chosen channels.
Examples and Template of Job Descriptions for Customer Success Managers
To give you some additional inspiration, here’s a look at a few examples of job descriptions for CS managers.
Customer Success Manager: Microsoft
In this job description for a CS manager, Microsoft does a great job of clearly outlining the responsibilities of the role and the qualifications it wants candidates to meet. You should draw a lot of inspiration from the clarity and direct nature of this option.
Associate Customer Success Manager – Adobe
We really like the way this job description for an associate CS manager from Adobe sets the scene. This description really outlines the challenge that the candidate needs to fulfill, and this big-picture thinking will be sure to attract inspired candidates.
Associate Customer Success Manager: Gameloft
This CS manager job outline from Gameloft does a great job of clearly outlining the requirements and qualifications of the role. Because the job description is so clear, Gamesoft’s hiring professionals will be able to quickly identify which applications closely read the description. Job Description Template for Customer Success Managers
This job description template for CS managers is an excellent example offered by the good people over at Betterteam. You can use it as a starting point for your own job description for your next CS manager.
What You Should Look for in a Customer Success Manager’s Resume
If you’re following a traditional hiring process, your first step will involve collecting and sorting through resumes from your candidates. This step is an important opportunity to filter your candidates, but you don’t want to be too hasty and discard a potentially viable option.
Here’s a look at the exact things you should look for when you first read a candidate’s resume…
Excellent written communication
First things first: You’ll want to carefully scan every resume and assess the quality and accuracy of the written communication. This tactic will give you a good indication of what you can expect, in terms of your candidate’s ability to communicate.
Your own language
You’ll need to know whether your candidate took the time to really explore the role and investigate your business. You should compare the resume you receive to your initial job posting, in order to see whether your candidate has properly understood your needs.
Great experience and skills
Of course, you’ll want to pay careful attention to all of the information included in the resume, but you’ll need to pay particularly close attention to the experience and skills sections. Since you’re hiring a senior role, these sections will help you assess the suitability of your candidate.
10 Interview Questions You Can Use for Customer Success Managers
Once you’ve shortlisted your candidates, you’ll want to ask them a series of interview questions. Here are ten of the best interview questions to use while interviewing your candidates for your next CS manager:
1. Can you tell me about a time you went above and beyond for one of your customers?
This question will give you a good idea of what your CS manager considers to be above and beyond the call of duty, in terms of CS.
2. Which techniques or tools do you use to manage your time?
As we touched on earlier, time management skills are critical for a great CS manager. So use this question to gauge whether your CS manager has these skills.
3. Could you please describe our product?
Your CS manager may need to be the biggest product advocate in your company. So use this question to assess his or her knowledge.
4. What are the three most important ways to fight churn?
Your CS manager will need to reduce churn as much as possible. So you should use this question to get a better idea of his or her priorities.
5. Which metrics do you think are the most important ones for a CS manager to measure?
Since data is critical to the success of your CS department, ask this question to check whether your priorities align.
6. How do you keep track of multiple customers at once?
If you have a large number of customers, your CS manager will need a keen strategy to keep track of them all at once.
7. Can you tell us about the ways you keep up with our industry?
As we mentioned earlier, it’s important that your CS manager keeps him or herself at the forefront of your industry. Use this question to assess whether he or she can keep your business at the cutting edge.
8. What type of environment do you try to cultivate in your team?
Since your CS manager will have a big impact on the overall environment and culture of your team, you should check to see if their priorities align with yours.
9. Could you tell us about a time you handled an angry customer?
There’s a good chance that your CS manager will face challenging situations, so you should use this question to see if he or she has what it takes to handle those scenarios.
10. Which tools and techniques do you use to create reports?
Since your CS manager must produce detailed and clear reports for the rest of your team, use this question to see if he or she has what it takes.
What Are Common Career Paths for Customer Success Managers?
There’s a good chance that your CS manager will start his or her career as a CS representative or product expert. But what about the future of this manager?
Here’s a look at the two common directions CS managers might choose to move in…
Customer Service Manager
This move is kind of sideways, but some CS managers will decide to move into customer service. They’ll use their various experiences and customer-oriented mindset to tackle new challenges in another area of business.
CS managers will often use this tactic to complement their existing knowledge and experiences, as well as build a clearer picture of a business.
VP of Customer Success
The most experienced and high-performing CS managers might eventually move into a senior role as the VP of Customer Success. This promotion might be internal, or a particularly enterprising CS manager might move to another business to pursue this challenge.
It’s obvious that CS managers will need a lot of experience and proven results before they’re able to pursue this type of challenge. If you’re growing your business and plan on hiring a VP of Customer Success in the future, you might want to hire a CS manager first and promote them internally.
Feeling inspired to find the perfect CS manager? We hope this piece helps you find the perfect candidate for your business.
If your new CS manager is going to get the best results possible, you’ll need to provide him or her with the appropriate tech stack. So why not empower this manager to engage and support your customers using Messagely?
Learn more about our platform and start your free Messagely trial today.