5 Action Steps When Your CSM Headcount Is Cut

Were you expecting new hires that have been cut or delayed? Or worse, have you suffered a layoff? You are not alone. Here are five actions you can take to recover.

Idea #1: Reset expectations (right away)

A smaller team won’t be able to accomplish everything you had planned. Sure, the suggestions below will help you rearchitect your program to salvage what you can, but start by restating your goals and targets. Clarify your priorities: are you looking to minimize revenue churn? logo churn? Do you own expansion goals? Make sure your goals are clear so you can select the right strategy, as we will discuss below. And soften your targets in light of diminished staffing levels.

Idea #2: Segment (ruthlessly)

Attempting to provide the same customer deliverables with a smaller team will weaken the quality of the deliverables and risk team burnout. Instead, rearchitect the deliverables by focusing on the most valuable customers, typically the ones with the largest ARR or most expansion opportunities. Better ignore smaller customers and preserve the most important ones than deliver lackluster service across the board.

Idea #3: Automate (more)

What can you automate, whether for the larger customers who will continue to receive high-touch service, or for the smaller ones, who may be restricted to low-touch? Even modest automation such as well-timed reminders or self-service reporting can deliver great value to customers of all sizes.

Idea #4: Redeploy your staff (bottom up)

If you are focusing more efforts towards larger customers, the team members who used to take care of smaller customers may be under-utilized. For those who show promise, can you mentor them to work with larger customers? CSMs who are mentored well can become very skilled and show remarkable loyalty to the organization to boot.

Idea #5: Be kind to yourself (oxygen mask on first)

It’s tough to preside over times of lean staffing. Resist the urge to just work more hours, or manage more customers yourself. You will be a better leader if you stay sane, push back on unrealistic demands, and prioritize essential tasks not just for you, but for your team members, too.


What have you done to survive lean staffing? Please share.