In our recent webinar on Success in Customer Success, we asked the SBR community what they thought Customer Success meant. 65% felt that CS was still more delivery-focused than commercial.

If I had asked the same question 10 years ago, I believe it would have shown an even larger swing towards a delivery focus.

So what has changed so far, and where’s it going?

What is Customer Success?

At a recent industry event, the panel discussion focused on the role of CS in the SaaS industry, discussing ideas for the future such as expanding existing customer bases, bringing in a more commercial focus for CS, and tasking managers with increasing margin by building cost management into their KPIs.

At SBR, we’d agree that a business’s Account or Customer Success team should focus, at least to some degree, on Customer Growth, target expansion and growing existing accounts, alongside customer retention and success.

Enabling your team to do all this starts with balancing their operational load with the commercial/growth focus that you want them to have.

This means asking how much operational work your CS team needs to do to support essential account management activities, and what percentage is this of their overall capacity?

In a SaaS context, this operational, or manual, work could include creating Service Review documents from scratch or handling ticket escalations.

As a consequence, freeing our CSMs from extended support tasks or manual report creation allows us to mobilise them toward growth.

Giving your CS team the capacity to focus on growth

Below are some of the ways that you might achieve this in your organisation:

  • In a previous blog post, we highlighted “The Value of Customer Success” and getting crystal clear on your Customer Journey. Map it out, with responsibility matrices, and share it with your team.
  • Never build a Customer Journey without involving your team in the process. At SBR, we co-create playbooks, customer journeys, and guides with our clients, and their teams, to facilitate enablement and adoption.
  • Remove the noise: take the clear Customer Journey that we talked about in this post, and use it to articulate everyone’s responsibility. This will help your CS team avoid picking up the slack.
  • Make it a Support team responsibility to own Issue and Incident management, front to back. Many organisations pass the incident coordination effort to their CSMs, consuming their time in a space where there is little value to the client or the business.
  • Make it your Sales team’s job to focus on new logos and acquisition, allowing your CS team to focus on renewals and growth in existing accounts, clearly dividing responsibilities between the functions.


Leverage the power of your CSMs

CSMs, in our experience, are uniquely able to balance care for your customers, interest in your service, and a desire to grow and develop the business and themselves. As relationship caretakers, they are perfectly positioned to support growth through their connection to your clients and your clients’ challenges.

Becoming a trusted advisor is key to account development. Who better to take on that role than your Customer Success Managers?


What changes will you make to your CS team’s goals and KPIs to grow your business? Get in touch by e-mailing or call us on +44 (0) 207 653 3740.

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