Customer Success as a Culture — Best Practices to Build an Effective Customer Success Organization.

Burke Alder

Customer Success Strategist


Customer success teams have gone through strategic changes and growth over the past few years. This important strategy and business focus drives toward the outcome of retaining and growing your customer base. As you continue to adapt and change your customer success strategies and tactics, remember this key focus—customer success is not a department, it’s a culture.

We are passionate about customer success and it’s positive outcome—building relationships that last™. In our latest eBook, our team at ClientSuccess interviewed 7 customer success leaders at the forefront of these changes. These leaders have incredible advice they’ve learned by actually going through the process and learning firsthand.

Our newest eBook entitled “Customer Success as a Culture: Customer Leaders Edition”, shares best practices focused on the strategic and tactical aspects of building and scaling effective customer success teams. Each week, we’ll highlight one of the customer success leaders and will share some of their key learnings with you. This week, you’ll learn from Jackie Golden, Founder and CEO at LandNExpand Let’s get started:

About LandNExpand

Located in beautiful, San Diego, California, LandNExpand is a customer success consulting firm designed to help small and growth companies develop the right customer experience strategy and management model for their business in order to achieve revenue goals while increasing customer renewal and retention rates. They develop the customer experience model using a customer lifecycle model and detailed management execution plans that ensure the strategy gets to be reality.

What are the qualities you look for in Customer Success candidates at LandNExpand and Socrata?

As Jackie’s company, LandNExpand, is consulting on customer success best practices, it’s crucial for her to hire the right team members that keep the customer at the forefront. Jackie is also the SVP of Customer Success at Socrata.

Here are some of the qualities she looks for in her customer success candidates:

  • Excellent communication, organization and planning skills
  • Customer services, relations or sales experience
  • Consulting experience in market segment and industry
  • Technology Implementation experience
  • Experience in architecting solutions, best practices and/or building roadmaps along maturity models for customers in a market segment focus.
  • Project Management experience, experience in creating plans for customers with a phased approach if the industry or solution requires significant business transformation to get to the value state.
  • Experience in following and understanding the value of a proven methodology

How important is past experience when hiring?

Jackie explains that the most successful CSMs she’s hired have come from her consulting teams. “They understand the market segment, industry, customer profiles, and best practice approaches. These kinds of candidates with that prior experience can help customers understand where they are in a maturity model and build a roadmap plan for customers to get from where they are today to the future visionary state. With this approach, the customer perceives their CSM as a trusted advisor, not a sales person. They are more invested in the relationship and willing to share key inside information that is critical to understand the current state of the customer and their readiness for expansion,” explained Jackie.

How do you effectively train and scale your team? What are the keys?

Jackie explains that the key is to ensure the CSMs are educated on the best practices approach for implementing the product in the target markets. “They should have knowledge of the industry and best practices, said Jackie, “They should have elements in their CSM program that continue to add value and educate customers with every touch point. They should be able to strategize with customers on their roadmap and strategic plans in using your solution in an indispensable manner.

Jackie also uses these 4 tactics to ensure her team is fully trained and able to engage successfully with customers:

  • An onboarding certification program
  • Quarterly ongoing education
  • Recertification each year
  • Develop a methodology for managing a book of business to maximize the productivity and revenue contribution of each CSM

Read Jackie’s full contribution to the ebook entitled, “Customer Success as a Culture: Customer Success Leaders Edition” and learn from 6 other customer success leaders like Jackie.

Download the full “Customer Success as a Culture” eBook collection:

Customer Success as a Culture: Sales Leaders Edition

Customer Success as a Culture: Marketing Leaders Edition

Customer Success as a Culture: Product Leaders Edition    

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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