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4 Ways a CSM Can Earn a Seat at the Exec Level with Clients


For Customer Success Managers (CSMs), every customer account is critical. For a CSM, “earning a seat at a customer account” means you become the trusted advisor your client uses to achieve goals and make positive impacts. The internal decision makers of your account trust and respect your input enough to give you the inside scoop to their strategy, focus, and future growth. You become part of the team, you earn a seat at the customer account.

Are you at the seat? If not, we discuss simple ways below to earn a seat at a customer account.

Earning a Seat a the Executive Level with Customer Accounts

While it’s critical to establish lasting value throughout an entire organization, CSMs can gain more traction and klout by establishing lasting, personal relationships with executive team members.

End users and influencers can help a CSM build advocates and grow value, but executives can help strengthen a brand’s foothold across an organization. This means putting in the time, effort, and attention to truly make an impression when and where it matters.

4 Ways to Earn a Seat at the Exec Level with ClientsReview

1. Why the Customer Signed with Your Company

Step one means going back to the beginning and reviewing why the customer decided to enter into a partnership with your team in the first place. What projects and solutions were agreed upon? What were the original objectives of the partnership? Looking back into what originally attracted a customer to an organization can help a CSM better understand the inner workings of how a decision is made.

2. Revisit Executive Goals & KPIs

Next, CSMs should look back at the individual goals and KPIs of customer executives. This is where having multiple points of contact throughout an organization is helpful. Knowing the overarching company goals as well as the individual goals of certain executives across different departments allows a CSM to build a clear, full picture of customer operations and processes. It’s also a good way to start thinking about different strategies and project focuses that possibly align with product releases or features.

Understanding a customer’s executive goals and KPIs will also shed light on how a customer is using a product at the executive level. Even if a CSM has personal relationships at the executive level, they might not know the ins-and-outs of how executives are using their product on a daily or weekly basis. Armed with this data and insight, CSMs can present clear, detailed findings to customer executive teams for maximum impact.

3. Plan a Standing Meeting With Your Customer’s Executive Team

Whether it’s with a few decision makers or with the entire executive team, establishing a standing cadence with a customer account keeps both parties in the loop and on the same page. Customer strategies and targets can change rapidly, and the last thing a CSM wants to experience is the realization that their solution has lost relevance. An executive cadence allows a CSM to pulse check customer accounts at the highest level for a clear picture of satisfaction and sentiment. A standing or repeating meeting will also help bridge the gap if there is ever any turnover in leadership, as a CSM can jump right into value-adding conversation without any lag time.

4. Always Over Deliver On Promises

Finally (and this is probably the most important step), CSMs must be sure to deliver on any promises or deals made with a customer executive team. Failing to follow through on any customer promises is a huge red-flag at any level, but it can cause a significant amount of falling out at the executive level if a CSM isn’t careful. Over-promising and under-delivering can result in a lack of trust between a CSM and an executive team. Without this trust and respect in place, an executive team won’t look to a CSM for guidance or input around strategy or project focus.

These 4 steps are just the beginning of earning a seat with the customer account executives. It all comes down to understanding executive-level relationships and staying accountable in the eyes of your customers.

Do you currently track executive-level relationship influence? Can you accurately measure how a customer executive team is using and relying on your solution? Our passion is to help you do this. If you want to see a demo of how this would work. You can click here.

Check out our resources below for more customer success best practices and insights for how your organization can put customers first:


3 Steps to Putting Customers First This Year

Blog Posts:

3 Fundamentals for Scaling Customer Success

The Golden Rule of Customer Success – 8 Guiding Principles

Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong customer success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.

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