At Gainsight we help Enterprise SaaS, Ad Tech, and other subscription businesses implement Customer Success strategies through our articles, presentations, and of course our Customer Success Management technology.
...and somewhere along the way, I inadvertently became the Neil Clark Warren of Customer Success (founder of eHarmony for those tracking) matching Customer Success executives with job opportunities on 29-dimensions of compatibility.
Ok, maybe it’s not a perfect metaphor, but we have actually placed several VPs of Customer Success at high-growth companies, and through it all, have learned A LOT. Here are some of the highlights:
How do we find and hire the best VP Customer Success for our company?
In a previous article, Dan Steinman, Chief Customer Officer here at Gainsight, tackled what to look for in a VP Customer Success at a high-level (things like a passion for customers, willingness to get their hands dirty, an understanding of what their individual CSMs do every day, etc.).
But we wanted to use our recent experiences in matching Customer Success VPs with great companies to take it one step further and actually give you a sample job description template that you can use to start, grow, or advance your Customer Success organization.
We included ownership of up-sell and renewal in the sample VP Customer Success job description below (and, therefore, into the Customer Success Management organization), but that might not fit your organization. The reality is - at least right now, but likely for the foreseeable future - there isn’t a standard Customer Success organization structure, especially when it comes to up-sell and renewals.
In fact, for better or worse, it’s not unheard of for Sales VPs to fight tooth and nail to keep up-sells and renewals and, frankly, for Customer Success to gladly give it up because it's not typically in their sweet spot. Sometimes change is difficult; but often it’s necessary to transform and grow.
Ultimately, it’s up to your leadership to make a conscious decision about where you want ownership and direct responsibility for up-sell and renewal to fall, knowing fully that - regardless of directly ownership of those functions - the CSM org and your VP Customer Success will wield great influence over your up-sell and retention numbers.
Sample Customer Success Job Description Template
Job Description: Vice President Customer Success
Given our business model, where our customers pay us over time, Customer Success is absolutely vital to our long-term profitability. We will not be successful unless our customers are receiving massive value from our service. As such, we need a senior executive to own driving success for our customers. This role includes responsibilities for Customer Success activities (e.g., on-boarding, support, services, adoption, advocacy, retention, etc.) and outcomes (e.g., renewals, up-sell, etc.).
- Drive Customer Success Outcomes
- Increase renewal rates and reduce churn
- Expand our revenue in accounts through cross-sell and up-sell
- Influence future lifetime value through higher product adoption, customer satisfaction and overall health scores
- Drive new business growth through greater advocacy and reference-ability
- Define and Optimize Customer Lifecycle
- Map customer journey
- Develop listening points in journey (e.g., usage, satisfaction, etc.)
- Standardize interventions for each point in journey
- Define segmentation of customer base and varying strategies
- Identify opportunities for continuous improvement
- Learn from best practices in industry
- Manage Customer Success Activities
- Professional Services
- Customer Support
- Customer Success Management
- Cross-sell / Up-sell
- Measure Effectiveness of Customer Success
- Define operational metrics for team
- Establish system for tracking metrics
- Create cadence for review within team
- Expose subset of metrics to executive team, company and board
- Lead World-class Customer Success Team
- Recruit experienced leaders for each functional role
- Attract high potential individual contributors into team
- Create rapid onboarding process for new team members
- Foster collaboration within team and across customer lifecycle
- Encourage continuous learning within team
- Enhance Effectiveness and Efficiency Through Technology
- Support systems
- Customer marketing software
- Reference and advocacy solutions
- Customer Success Management platform
- Inspire Customer Success Across Company
- Create company-wide culture of Customer Success
- Align with Marketing around marketing to existing clients
- Align with Product around driving product roadmap
- Align with Sales around cross-sell and up-sell and focus on selling with a retention focus
- Align with Finance around measurement and forecasting
- Align with Executive Team around key metrics and objectives
- Drive company-wide definition of ideal customer
- Create company-wide customer feedback loop
- 5+ years experience in leading customer-facing organizations
- Ability to manage influence through persuasion, negotiation, and consensus building
- Ideally combined background of post-sale and sales experience
- Strong empathy for customers AND passion for revenue and growth
- Deep understanding of value drivers in recurring revenue business models
- Analytical and process-oriented mindset
- Demonstrated desire for continuous learning and improvement
- Enthusiastic and creative leader with the ability to inspire others
- Excellent communication and presentation skills
- Relevant Bachelor’s degree; preference for computer science or related degrees
----- End VP Customer Success Job Description -----
There you have it, a sample VP Customer Success job description template for you take and make it your own. Hopefully this gives you a head start on building your Customer Success organization that leads to massive revenue growth and huge multiples for your business.
When you’re ready to start your search for you new VP Customer Success, I suggest you post the job to our Customer Success Career Hub, the #1 source for Customer Success talent.