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At the most basic level, businesses partner with SaaS vendors to solve a problem. Over time, however, these relationships can become strategic partnerships that can actually drive the future success of both organizations simultaneously. As a main point of contact for many customers, CSMs are often one of the first sounding boards for customer ideas, opinions, and questions.
A critical goal for every CSM should be to establish yourself as a key executive asset for customers and here’s how.
First, CSMs should have a deep and thorough understanding of their customer relationships. Knowing why a customer signed on with your organization, what value they’re looking to see, and what functionality they were promised is key. This also includes understanding the scope of the customer contract and any KPIs that are explicitly called out. Establishing yourself as an executive asset starts with knowing your customer relationship inside and out.
While delivering value to customers should always be top-of-mind for CSMs, delivering on executive goals and outcomes takes things one step further. Ask your customer contact for a meeting with their executive sponsor and ask them outright what they’re looking to achieve. Tell them to their face you’re willing to help them meet their goals. And then, of course, deliver on these promises and outcomes to show value.
Executives across an organization are constantly looking for new ways to grow and expand their operations. If you come across a new feature or piece of functionality that you think will help a customer optimize their strategic plan with your team, tell them! Bring new ideas, strategies, and features to your executive contacts and let them know you are working as an asset of their strategic team. When you’re focused on your customer’s success, executives will take notice.
As you’re working to establish yourself as an executive asset for customers, it’s important to make sure you don’t veer into sales territory. While new features or functionality may require an upsell conversation, CSMs should leave these to account managers. Executive contacts want to work with CSMs as an extension of their team – and their ‘boots on the ground’, so to speak – and as such don’t want to feel pushed around or taken advantage of.
Make sure you’re working with your customers and their executive sponsors as a partner, not as a salesperson, to give your recommendations lasting value. When done correctly, executive partnerships can result in new strategic growth for both customers and vendors, making it a win/win for both sides.
You can learn more about establishing CSMs as executive assets with these additional resources from ClientSuccess: