CSM from the Trenches – A Community for Frontline Customer Success Managers

September 15, 2017

Sam Feil

Customer Success Manager

In November 2015, I decided to start a blog series that eventually became known as CSM from the Trenches. This series was birthed from the idea that most content in the Customer Success space comes from the Top – Down (CS Executives + other leadership), but I hadn’t really seen a place where like-minded Customer Success Managers (CSMs) could learn from one another. So I decided to start writing from my own experience as a frontline CSM, or someone who is actively fulfilling a customer-facing role.

Since then – and just in my personal LinkedIn network – these articles have gathered thousands of views, 600+ clicks, and 100+ likes. Across the web, these articles have also been shared via ClientSuccess’ blog as well as on 3rd party sites that promote Customer Success best practices (more times than I’m probably aware of).

The thing that gets me most excited about CSM from the Trenches is that it’s started a conversation from a different perspective (Bottom – Up) to help our industry understand what it’s really like to be on the CSM frontline.

CSM from the Trenches – A Community for Frontline Customer Success Managers

I’m proud to announce today that my long-term vision of CSM from the Trenches is now becoming a reality as we set out to celebrate the frontline CSM. I’m also excited to invite all CSMs from around the world to participate. You can become involved in two ways:

  1. Mentor Questions: Submit your answers to the 7 mentor questions and share your practical advice / better practices with the frontline CSM community. Example – here.
  2. Guest blog posts: Have a frontline CSM best practice you’d like to share? I want to hear from you! This is a great way to share your unique perspective and thought-leadership.  Example – here.
    1. Identify a best practice or innovation
    2. Write your blog post explaining the best practice or innovation (can be as short or as long as you’d like)
    3. Send post and contact information to csmtrenches@clientsuccess.com
    4. We’ll review and get it scheduled (we’re looking for weekly posts)
  3. CSM shout-outs: Do you know a CSM who goes above and beyond the call of duty? Have a team member you’d like to give a special shout-out? This is what CSM from the Trenches is all about – celebrating the frontline CSM. Example – here.
    1. Put together a quick shout-out for your frontline CSM
      1. How and why this individual is delivering customer success from the the frontline
    2. Send shout-out and contact information to csmtrenches@clientsuccess.com
    3. We’ll review and get it scheduled (again, we’re looking for weekly posts)
  4. CSM from the Trenches LinkedIn Group: Share articles, trends, and best practices you come across with other like-minded professionals. Join in conversation to help each other become better CSMs. Join here.


I look forward to building this community with you! In case you’re curious or new to CSM from the Trenches, here are some of my favorite posts (in no particular order).

Sam Feil, ClientSuccess – 3 Best Practices that Drive Powerful Customer Experiences (How to Avoid the Dreaded Car Dealership Experience)

Erica Newell, Marketware – 5 LinkedIn Best Practices to Build, Grow, and Improve Client Relationships

Mieke Maes, Intuo – 5 Keys to an Effective Customer Apology

Priscilla Zorrilla, 15Five – Asking the Right Questions to Challenge Customers

SoapBox Team Shout-Out

4 Segmentation Strategies for Frontline CSMs

Why Product Usage Isn’t Always King & 3 Lessons Worth Learning Early

2 Techniques to Avoid the ‘Overpromise and Underdeliver’ Temptation

New posts each Tuesday and Thursday.

Customer success best practices delivered to your inbox.

Also worth reading

What Does the Growth of Advocacy Mean For Customer Success Teams? 

As a CSM or customer success team manager, you’ve probably heard the term ‘customer advocacy’ tossed around a time or two. There’s no denying that this customer engagement trend is here to stay. Although they are true champions of your brand and your product, advocates are definitely shaking things up in the CSM world.  Advocates [...]

Teresa Becker

Customer Success Strategist

19 Qualities That Can Make Good Customer Success Managers Great

Welcome to our blog series CSM from the Trenches, a community for frontline Customer Success Managers (CSMs) that discusses trends, best practices, and advice for the frontline. Being on the CSM frontline allows us to directly influence the success of our clients. I love that; as our clients are successful, we’re successful. Each day we [...]

Sam Feil

Customer Success Manager

CSM Metrics: Latest and Greatest Thinking

The customer service industry is constantly changing. For CSMs in the SaaS industry, the same metrics that guided decision making and strategy even a few years ago aren’t cutting it anymore. Because customer success trends are rapidly coming and going, customer success leaders must keep their eyes open for the latest and greatest thought leadership.  [...]

Teresa Becker

Customer Success Strategist