Customer Success Manager (CSM)

Customer Success Manager (CSM) | Telephones for business

What is a Customer Success Manager (CSM)?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering… “What’s the difference between a CSM and a CSR?” We get it. There’s confusion and overlap between various sales titles used at different organizations. What’s more, titles are often changing and adapting to industry trends.

The fast-growing, competitive nature of the SaaS industry has created an environment where new titles are needed to accommodate for completely new positions. What’s more, (slightly) different titles – à la Sales Development Rep vs. Business Development Rep – are created to sound more relevant, modern, and in line with company values and culture.

If you’re new to all this sales jargon, look no further! We’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out exactly what a customer success manager does, average salary for CSMs, career outlook, and available CSM jobs.

In SaaS, the acronym CSM generally stands for Customer Success Manager. CSMs usually work in customer success teams, where they support clients with relevant information, troubleshooting, and understanding.

Customer Success Manager Job Description

Customer success professionals guide clients from the sales to the support phase, by being a reliable, friendly and knowledgeable resource for customers. These employees are key in maintaining and improving customer satisfaction.

What does a Customer Success Manager do?

CSMs not only troubleshoot client challenges and provide relevant information, they also build relationships with their portfolio of clients and are an advocate for their needs within the company. Similarly, customer success teams also advocate on behalf of the company and encourage upsells and cross-sells to existing customers.

Effective customer success managers increase a customer’s lifetime value and improve customer retention rate (CRR), encouraging loyal customers who not only continue with the company, but also upgrade and purchase premium products and services.

Another relevant concern of a customer success manager in SaaS is reducing churn, or limiting the number of customers who cancel their memberships or plans. By providing excellent customer service and meeting the needs of clients, CSMs can reduce churn and even increase CRR by up- and cross-selling.

As their title suggests, customer success managers may also be responsible for one or many direct reports on the customer success team, and can be involved in training and motivating a small team of customer service professionals.

Customer Success Manager Salary

Customer Success Managers make, on average, $90,850 per year in total pay in the US (source: Glassdoor). However, this number can vary significantly based on the portion of the pay that is base vs. performance-driven. Salaries also vary based on company size, location, and years of experience. For example, CSMs at Microsoft make an estimated $125,190 per year.

CSM Career Outlook

With the abundance of automation, software, and complex cloud-based tools available on the market today, it may come as no surprise that customer support positions are projected to grow rapidly in the future. In fact, LinkedIn named Customer Success as one of the top emerging jobs in the US in 2020.

If you’re looking to grow your career in the customer success industry, don’t worry - as the market outlook for customer success managers is positive, with a large portion of new opportunities being created in the SaaS field.

Customer Success Manager Jobs

Looking for available CSM jobs? Here are a few resources to help your search:

Which customer success role is right for me?

The right role for you depends on your experience and expertise, but customer success can be a good industry to get your start if you are entering the job market for the first time!

Some key characteristics of great customer support professionals include:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Great communicators
  • Passion for what they are selling
  • Willingness to roll up their sleeves and get the job done
  • No fear calling and following-up with clients
  • Positive attitude
  • Creative and passionate about helping others
  • Sincere empathy for people and clients
  • Ability to multi-task across different platforms and forms of communication
  • Ability to work well under pressure and with a team

Does this sound like you? Kixie is hiring, and we’d love to hear from you! We are looking for jovial, hard-working colleagues to share our journey as we change the landscape of business telephony.