In the technology industry, Customer Success Management is a growing practice, alongside the increase in popularity of SaaS (software-as-a-service) as a software licensing and delivery model. As a result, the traditional customer-vendor relationship, which now mostly applies to on-premise solutions, has changed dramatically. In many ways, Customer Success has become synonymous to SaaS. But what about on-premise clients? To try and assess the answer to this question, I interviewed Noy Bar, Americas Region Customer Success Manager at HP Enterprise and Anna Connell, Sr. Director of Global Subscription Sales at Proofpoint. In this blog, I share their observations on the differences between Customer Success programs for SaaS and those for on-premise, derived from their professional experience over the past few years.
Starting about a decade ago, pure-play SaaS companies like Salesforce.com, Workday, and Box pioneered the concept of Customer Success Management (CSM). It was an organic solution to an inherent problem: since a large part of their revenue was up for renewal each year – and since customers typically had low friction to move – these vendors created CSM teams out of necessity with the objectives of driving Adoption, Expansion, and Renewal.
As mature enterprise companies move more of their products to subscription-based pricing (even if on-premise) and cloud-based delivery (in some cases), they are starting to launch CSM efforts out of the same need. Companies like Cisco, Adobe, and Red Hat have proven the impact of CSM at scale in large enterprise organizations. It's a no-brainer that Customer Success should be an important part of any company's transition to a subscription business model. Spinning up and scaling your CSM organization, however, isn't so straightforward; it requires unique and careful planning.
Here are five questions to ask yourself on the front end of your transition:
When exploring Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed or any broad collection of job boards, it is hard not to take notice of the increasing volume of Customer Success Manager (CSM) jobs that are available in the marketplace today. A recent Glassdoor job search for “Customer Success Manager” in the United States yielded close to 6,000 jobs. Additionally, one of my top inquiry requests from TSIA members has been focused on establishing Customer Success organizations and the capabilities and skills needed to staff them. To address this topic, I'd like to share with you three of the top skills you'll want to look for when hiring a Customer Success Manager for your organization.
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