For a B2B service provider craving to retain clients and gain recurring revenue, a Customer Success Manager is an essential asset. However, more often than not, we see companies that don’t have this position. Furthermore, there are still firms that stop efficient communication with clients once the deal is closed.
As a result, many of their customers suffer from poor service and leave. We believe a company’s “philosophy” is damaging to both service providers and their clients. It wastes time, money and steals happiness from people; furthermore, we definitely want to see less of it in modern B2B relations.
Why is a Customer Success Manager necessary for B2B?
We’ve outlined it many times in our blog posts – a B2B product or service is somewhat difficult to comprehend. That’s why the buyer journey can’t be entirely digital, unlike in B2C or B2C2B models. Most leads need a helping hand in this process. In many cases, it’s necessary at an early pre-awareness stage, when a prospect feels frustration from a problem, but still doesn’t understand it.
A team of trained professionals can help your potential customers understand their pain point. They also demonstrate how your product or service solves it. In addition, your experts deliver the values of your business and answer any questions the client has at the time. Finally, they act as mentors and assist in tackling the ongoing problems.
For example, the outbound prospecting services we provide to our clients are compound. They demand efficient organization, regular supervision, reporting, planning and analysis. Being outsourced in nature, they also require dedicated communication and power management. A Customer Success Manager runs all of these at once.
At the same time, we believe that a client’s experience should be a continuous journey of several seamless stages managed by professionals. First, a sales development representative contacts a lead. He or she talks about the prospect’s pain points, offers a solution and sets up an appointment. Next, a regional sales manager works with a qualified lead and closes the deal.
Finally, a Customer Success Manager welcomes the new client of the company and launches the project. At this stage, we also assign an external SDR and a researcher. They will work on the respective project along with the CSM. At CIENCE, Customer Success Managers put much effort to build the relations with our clients and deliver the best experience.
The work of a Customer Success Manager at CIENCE
We interviewed Daria Danska, the Customer Success Manager at CIENCE, whom told us about the specifics of her job. Each CSM at our company works with about 15 clients at once. One customer is one project, but there can be multiple campaigns within it. Some clients stay with us for years, and we are glad to witness their business growth.
As a rule of thumb, we have one researcher and one SDR on each project. However, some campaigns involve a vast pool of leads, and we assign more employees to handle them. Unlike researchers, most of our SDRs communicate with our clients on a regular basis. They report the results of the campaign and discuss the ongoing workflow issues.
The responsibilities of Customer Success Managers at CIENCE:
- Analysis of the buyer persona, customer’s product or service;
- Planning the campaign, laying down the strategy;
- Communication both with our clients and our employees involved in the project;
- Collecting the reports from the project team and sending them to the client;
- Making suggestions on the new campaigns for the client;
- The organization of the working process;
- Solving some general problems that might occur during the implementation of the project;
- Reviewing the results of the current campaign and suggesting changes;
- Reporting and analysis.
We have two offices in Kyiv and Manila. As a rule, we assign a CSM and SDR whom work in one office. In this case, we secure better communication and cooperation between them.
CSM’s project management at CIENCE:
As soon, as the deal is closed, we assign a Customer Success Manager, SDR, and Researcher to work with a client. Each project has six main stages:
1. Get-to-know, studying and planning
At this stage, the Regional Sales Manager is present with a CSM, a Researcher, and an SDR to our client in an email. Our Customer Success Manager sends two questionnaires in order to study the project. The first one is necessary to write email templates, phone calls scripts and to gain more information about the company, and the second one is essential to search the leads. We form buyer persona based on it.
After the client filled in the questionnaires, the Custom Success Manager studies the project. They pay much attention to the following data:
- Client’s company
- Product or service we’ll be promoting
- Individual requirements for the research and/or outbound prospecting
- Expectations and goals
There are three fundamental goals of a campaign:
- Brand awareness
- Preparation for events (e.g., conferences)
Some of our clients develop a strategy on their own. However, we strongly suggest to our clients that our CSMs do it. First, our Customer Success Managers have expertise in planning and managing outbound prospecting campaigns. For example, they can see if the research is too complicated, and thus, lower the weekly and daily rate. Second, CSMs specialize in particular industries and can give valuable advice based on their experience.
2. Client on-boarding
Client onboarding is an essential part of every project. After studying and analysis, the Customer Success Manager outlines the strategy and campaign and sets up a kick-off call with the client. We need to explain every detail of our work to our customers at this stage in order to avoid misunderstandings in the future.
At the call, CSMs can ask questions to learn more details about the client, their product/service and buyer persona. At the end of the call, the Customer Success Manager introduces final changes to the campaign and presents it to the client. We can adjust it in time based on the results.
Client onboarding takes several weeks. During this period, the researchers begin looking for leads. Meanwhile, SDRs are training to make calls to the prospects, communicate with the client and ask the questions about the product/service. The copywriter writes the email templates.
At the same time, the CSM makes sure that our client created a mailbox and an account in CRM for the SDR. Alternatively, we can connect the client’s mailbox with our own CRM.
Finally, the CSM offers our client our Concierge service to improve lead reach out. Concierge is a landing page for a particular product or service. It provides an opportunity to set up an appointment in a calendar form or order a call from an SDR. The link to this page is provided in the SDR’s signature.
3. Campaign launch
The campaigns at CIENCE start on the 1st or 15th day of a month for easier calculations. The only exception is Friday; we try to avoid launching on this day.
The principal components of a campaign:
- Contact list – as a rule, we ask our clients to order the research of leads from us. It’s the only way to secure quality leads and low bounce rates.
- Email send outs organized in waves.
- Calls to the leads who opened our letters or reacted out to them in any other way.
- Follow-up emails.
- Meeting set-ups.
4. Lead generation
A campaign at CIENCE is organized in accordance with the general principles of the sales lead generation process. It begins with the research of the quality leads that fit a buyer persona. As soon as the client approves the contact list, SDRs initiate email send-outs and start calling to the prospects in to order set appointments.
The Customer Success Manager’s role at this stage is to supervise projects. Their main tasks at this stage are:
- Collecting feedback, ideas, and concerns from SDRs, researchers and clients
- The weekly meeting calls with clients and SDRs
- The monitoring of the campaign statistics and results – at least once a week
- Planning and introducing changes if necessary*
*As a rule of thumb, a CSM has 2-3 backup plans for the campaign. It’s essential, in case the initial strategy doesn’t work as efficiently as we anticipated.
5. Analysis of the results
At the end of a campaign, the Customer Success Manager collects all the reports and data and does the final review. The purpose is to make a comprehensive analysis, plan the next steps, point out efficient and inefficient decisions. The CSM presents the final report to the client.
6. Campaign completion and launch of the new campaign
Usually, one project has several campaigns that are conducted consequently or simultaneously. After the reporting, CSM offers to launch the new one to the client.
The essential skills of an efficient Custom Success Manager
Vladimir Alekseenko, Head of CSM Department at CIENCE: “We mostly promote our Senior SDRs or Team Captains with an SDR background to Custom Success Managers rather than hire people from outside the company. It’s because we need people in this position whom understand the specifics of the SDR’s work. In this case, they won’t promise impossible things to our clients and will be able to help SDR, in case of need.”
- Excellent analytical skills
- Strategic thinking
- Good planning skills
- Powerful communication and diplomacy
- Gentle persistence and assertiveness
- Ability to present their work
- Management skills
- Stress resistance
- Time management
The Day in Life of a Customer Success Manager
Daria Danska, the Customer Success Manager at CIENCE, shared her timetable with us. She began her career path at CIENCE as an SDR. After six months of highly-efficient work, she was promoted to a Team Captain. In half a year, she became a CSM. Daria has been working in this position for over one year now.
The time is in PDT:
12 pm – Clock-in.
12 pm – 1 pm – Daria checks the daily To-Do list per each client account. She has about 15 customers.
1 pm -2 pm – She prepares for the regular meetings and calls with the internal team and the clients.
2 pm – Daria handles a weekly call with the first customer. Its average duration is around 30 minutes. However, some clients prefer long conversations, that’s why it can take up to 1.5 hours.
2:30 pm – Daria updates the CIENCE team that works on the client’s project with the useful information on the account changes, which have been discussed at the call. Then, she assigns tasks to SDRs and Researchers.
3 pm – 4 pm – Launch break.
4 pm – 5 pm – Internal meeting.
5 pm – Daria has a weekly call with the second customer.
5:30 pm – She provides the account changes to the data the team and distributes tasks.
6:15 pm – Daria conducts the third weekly call.
6:45 pm – She talks with the team about the account updates and gives the tasks.
7:30 pm – Internal meeting and learning.
8 pm – Daria has the call with the fourth customer.
8:30 pm – She gathers the team to announce the account changes and designates the task.
9 pm – Clock out
Similar to SDRs and Researchers, the Custom Success Managers at CIENCE secures the business growth of our clients. They work hard to create the best experience for our customers and help them obtain as many leads as possible.