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Creating a Job Description: Director of Customer Success Image

Creating a Job Description: Director of Customer Success

By Allison Pickens

Now that we’re in the season of New Year’s Resolutions, you might be pondering a few questions:

  • “Am I doing my job well?”
  • “How do I compare to others in the industry?”
  • “Am I spending my time in the right way?”

These are questions that even the best of us wonder about from time to time. You might have achieved your targets in 2015, but are there things you could be doing better this coming year?

At Gainsight, we’ve started to create detailed job descriptions for roles that are already filled within our company. This helps to align expectations on the requirements for the role between the person in that role and their manager.

Even if you created a job description when recruiting, most likely it’s not detailed enough for a team member to refer to day-to-day to gauge whether they’re fulfilling all of their responsibilities.

Creating a list of responsibilities is especially critical in Customer Success, since as we all know, this team can be pulled into many different activities. You’ll want to specify which ones are valuable.

Here’s the job description that I created for the Director of one of our high-touch teams.

Director of Customer Success

Responsibilities

  • Define and optimize customer journey
    • Define the vision of a Red Carpet experience
    • Standardize the template for a Success Plan for customers in your segment
    • Define and oversee lifecycle processes/touch points, including exec sponsor program, EBR process, “listening” points (e.g. on usage, NPS), and others
    • Create standard presentation materials for lifecycle plays
    • Personally manage escalations from your direct reports, and follow a methodical escalation process to execs
    • Identify opportunities for continuous improvement
  • Drive true value for customers
    • Be an expert on best practices in change management
    • Promote the Challenger approach amongst your team members
    • Find ways for CSMs to deeply understand our customers’ objectives and become a trusted right-hand advisor
    • Determine how to define, drive, and demonstrate the value (ROI) delivered
  • Lead cross-functionally to drive customer success
    • Clarify ownership for each part of the journey
    • Gather feedback from other departments, including Renewals & Expansion, Sales, Services, Support, Product, and others, to
    • improve the customer experience
    • Advocate for changes in other departments’ ways of working (including our onboarding process) and collaborate with them to implement those
    • Drive company-wide definition of ideal customer
    • Create company-wide customer feedback loop
    • Help foster company-wide culture of Customer Success
  • Drive alignment with Renewals & Expansion and Sales
    • Align with R&E on renewal and up-sell strategy and focus on selling with a retention focus
    • Give feedback to Sales and Marketing on prospecting approach
    • Ensure smart hand-off
    • Define CSM involvement during sales cycle
  • Be the best user of Gainsight in the world
    • Promote adoption of key processes in Gainsight, including Success Plan process, Habits process, License Deployment process, Risk process
    • Ensure Gainsight is our company’s single source of truth for customer health
    • Create dashboards to measure customer success
    • Develop ideas for how high-touch teams can use Gainsight, and share during our monthly Product-CSM syncs
  • Own key metrics for your team
    • Gross dollar renewal rate
    • Up-sell dollars
    • Habits / product adoption metrics
    • Deployment
    • NPS
    • Cost / ARR ratio
    • Sales of Premier Support & Success
    • Employee NPS / team member satisfaction
    • Own the financial model for your team, including projections of costs and new hires, and forecasts of renewal and upsell rates
  • Support core metrics for our company and our CSM team as a whole
    • Same metrics above
    • New ARR
  • Recruit, mentor, groom and inspire a world-class team
    • Build a pipeline of great candidates
    • Establish a rigorous interview process
    • Set expectations on performance and give feedback
    • Manage out underperformers
    • Set up training and mentoring to grow team
    • Create culture of massive customer delight
    • Communicate and incent to drive performance (in line with incentive structure for the rest of the CSM team)
  • Propose improvements to your team’s organizational structure
    • Define segmentation of your customer portfolio as appropriate
    • Define different levels within the team
    • Be informed of market compensation
  • Achieve operational excellence
    • Continuously communicate metrics to team
    • Report on metrics each week to Allison

___

You can send questions or feedback to Allison at apickens@gainsight.com. Follow her blog posts on Twitter at @PickensAllison.

To learn about additional processes you can set up for your CSM team and other departments, visit our Business Processes page on our Support website.

6 Comments

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  1. Cristy Gies
    Jan 5th, 2016Reply

    We are hiring a Customer Care Lead who would be responsible for overseeing our Customer Satisfaction program and 6 CSM team members. Do you have a job postings site that I could post the position on? Or do you have an email group we could send the posting to?

    Thanks, Cristy

    • Brian Brannon
      Jan 11th, 2016Reply

      HI Cristy,

      Exciting to hear you’re hiring a Customer Care Lead and Team! It’s a super exciting step. It could be useful for you to check out this webinar by our CSM team regarding the Customer Success Operations role. If it isn’t useful for you right now, it may be in the future as you expand your team. While you’re looking for the best candidates, feel free to visit our job board for the customer success community. Thank you for your comment!

  2. Tom
    Jan 7th, 2016Reply

    Appreciate the Job Description details; Fired me up to do this same exercise for the Operations side of CS.

    thanks

  3. Randy
    Jan 8th, 2016Reply

    This is very helpful. Can you tell me where you have your Customer Success team answer to in your org. Is there a VP of Cus. Success that is on par with VP of Sales and VP of Support/Ops or do you have Cus Success under the VP of Support? Curious how you align them in your org.

    • Brian Brannon
      Jan 11th, 2016Reply

      Hi Randy,

      Thank you for your comment! Glad you enjoyed the article. At Gainsight, we have a VP of Customer Success who reports directly to the CEO. I think you’ll find this webinar by Nick Mehta (CEO | Gainsight) & Tomasz Tunguz (Partner | Redpoint Ventures) interesting. It describes what to look for in a VP of Customer Success and when your organization should hire one. Hope you find these resources helpful!

  4. Scott Urstad
    Jan 31st, 2018Reply

    Allison,
    Thanks for the detailed outline of a CS Director’s function. I’ve gleaned such great information and guidance from your blog site over time. I was surprised I had not run across this post sooner. We are now hiring for a Dir of CS and will leverage much of your recommendations as we screen for a strong and capable candidate. Thanks.

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