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How to Onboard a Customer Success Manager Like a Pro!

Onboarding a Customer Success manager is a process with a lot of moving parts. From the typical start of setting up their email, getting access to internal communication tools and learning the ins and outs of the company.

Customer Success Managers need to go from newbies to product experts and thought leaders as quickly as possible to start managing their own portfolio.

Here are 6 points to keep in mind when setting up an onboarding program for Customer Success Managers:

1. Start with Your Mission & Vision 

Customer Success Managers not only need to understand the mission of the company, they need to be able to explain it back to customers. As every CSM becomes the face of the company for every customer they handle, they will continuously be showing and proving the value of the product.

📝 A solution brainstorm is a great way for new hires to start thinking like Customer Success Managers. Think value over feature. Pick a few key parts of the solution and to let the new hires explain how it fixes a specific problem of the customer and what value it brings them once solved.

2. Meet the People 

Partner up your new hire with another CSM working at the same level. Having a buddy throughout the onboarding will remove the hurdle of asking questions. Customer Success is one of the teams that is constantly collaborating with others.

Make sure that your onboarding program includes a presentation of the different teams as well as some examples of the type of collaborative efforts the teams work on. 

📝 Ask other members of the other teams to present themselves by adding a sentence that expresses how they currently work with Customer Success and what they expect of Customer Success Managers.

As a product owner, I work with Customer Success Managers on x and y and I expect Customer Success Managers to deliver a,b and c to help us with our product development’

3. Map out the Journey

All customers will go through the customer journey and CSMs need to quickly learn what their role will be to support and engage the customers in each phase.

Knowing from the start how customers move from Discovery, Sales, Onboarding, Adoption and to Expansion will help them manage their portfolio quickly and reduce the risk of them only knowing how to manage the new ones.

📝 Have a customer journey map as a resource ready for the new hires. For each phase make sure to have the different types of engagement listed and an explanation of what Customer Success is responsible for at each step.

4. Get the Numbers Right 

The quicker the CSMs are aware of the numbers the easier it will be for them to become proactive. Having access to previously created reports for customers will be key for new hires to learn quickly.

📝 Dummy Customer Health Report exercise: create a dummy report on one of the customers that will be handed over. What are the key findings of customer x? What action should be taken?

5. Speed up the Learning Curve

CSMs have so much to learn that it’s important the right resources are made available to them. On top of having them shadow some meetings of the most experienced CSMs, have recordings of previous meetings available for learning purposes (onboarding calls, renewal calls, sales negotiation calls.

📝 A day in Support’s shoes: there is no better way to learn about customer and the solution than by reading customer emails and trying to find the answer

6. Get to know the customers

Taking over accounts from another colleague can be just as tricky as taking it over from Sales. Setting up clear processes in place is important to avoid new Customer Success Managers feeling overwhelmed by the information. 

📝 Must haves in the handover: success plan, latest health status report, next steps already planned, organisation map

Need more help? Download the employee template to create your own Customer Success onboarding program