CSMs and the C Level

When I speak with heads of customer success teams, I often hear the concern that their CSMs are not having conversations with their customers’ C-level executives — and the CSMs themselves agree. Here are three reasons why those conversations are not happening, and what to do to turn them around.

Reason #1: Comfort Zone

Many CSMs are perfectly at ease working with technical contacts and their managers, handling tactical issues and coordinating product requests. On the other hand, they rarely have been an executive themselves, and may know little about running a business.

Do: Make an honest evaluation of the levels you are working with. Set a goal to hold meetings with executives, especially if you are encountering budget issues or opportunities to expand.

Reason #2: Access

Execs don’t exactly have an open-door policy for vendors, and the CSM’s contacts may be reluctant to make an introduction because they want to hold on to perceived power.

Do: Identify a success you can share with the exec that’ll make your contact shine. Then, ask for the introduction.

Reason #3: Busy Execs

Executives have crazy schedules, bristling with meetings that often require a full-time individual to groom. Leisurely, open discussions are often impossible, at least until the CSM acquires a vast amount of trust.

Do: Craft a compelling value for a (brief!) meeting, highlighting the benefits for the exec. Do your homework: ask your contacts to prepare you.

 

What new horizons opened for you once  you worked up the courage to reach out to execs?

 

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