Customer success managers focus on long-term profitability and customer engagement and develop strategies for increasing the lifetime value of existing customers. Customer success managers may also manage teams that implement these strategies.

Some companies give the role creative names such as “happiness engineer” or “customer champion” to embed into the role a focus on solving customer problems. That’s important because some people believe they are a variation on an account manager role, which is not so. Effective customer success managers help customers achieve what they set out to do when they first contacted the company. Those working in this mid-level management position bridge the gap between upper-level executives and customers by focusing on customer relationship retention and optimization.

What Does a Customer Success Manager Do?

A customer success manager contributes to an organization’s success in many ways.

  • Customer success is responsible for more than half an organization’s revenue. In industries dependent on long-term users and regular upgrades, these professionals can influence more than half of a company’s income generation. That kind of financial responsibility means the performance of customer service managers is often measured with a strict data analytics tool. Company leaders need to see that their managers are upselling, upgrading, and reducing churn at a percentage that will keep their company doing business.
  • Upsells and renewals depend on customer success. Once the sales department has closed the deal with customers, the customer success team manages their lifecycle. Customers’ lifecycles can last for years and generate serious income. To renew and upgrade a customer, customer success managers must generate emotional loyalty to the brand. While customers may stick with a company out of sheer inertia, they only upgrade when they feel like part of the brand’s family. Nurturing those connections falls to them.
  • Customer success creates new revenue streams. Part of a customer success manager’s job is to build and equip an army of experienced, enthusiastic brand ambassadors that ultimately provide the sales team with new leads. What customers tell others about a company can impact profits as much as what they purchase directly. Because of this impact, companies are keen to turn their current customers into referral agents. Finding, scripting, encouraging, and following those agents are critical responsibilities of someone in this role.

Advance Your Business Career

Gain expertise in consumer behavior, operations management, and principles of marketing and management – all of which can form the basis of a customer success career.

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How customer success managers achieve these goals varies by industry. For instance, in a software enterprise using a month-to-month subscription model, they may focus on anticipating each customer’s personal needs and providing fast, seamless resources when the software fails. For an industry with a longer sales cycle, the job may focus on building a massive library of educational resources that identify big issues, solve problems, and set the stage for upcoming improvements.

Customer success is not a vague and fuzzy profession but is one that ties directly into sales and profits. In the modern age, the customer is king. Some of the world’s most successful companies, such as Zappos and Disney Institute, have set a new expectation for how customers interact with brands. Smaller enterprises must meet those new expectations, too, or risk getting overlooked in a crowded marketplace. By collecting data on clients, customer service managers help their employers anticipate customer needs and objections, personalize their marketing strategies, and create an uptick in customer retention – all of which determines bottom line.

Customer Success Manager Salary

The salary for customer success managers can range from $45,000 per year to as high as $118,00 with a median lying at around $65,000. Additional compensation from commissions, bonuses, and profit sharing can add another $30,000 in value to the position, depending on the employer.

Experience on the job is the most significant factor in determining a customer success manager’s salary. Those professionals with experience in technical sales, Software as a Service, account management, and strategic project management can earn higher salaries. Not surprisingly, those employed in this position who work for high-profile technology companies such as Oracle, Salesforce, LinkedIn, and Adobe can expect higher-than-average compensation.

Once customer success managers have garnered a few years of experience, they can move on to even more lucrative positions as product owners, senior product managers, and marketing directors. Some eventually become vice presidents of marketing or product development.

Slightly more women than men reported to work in customer success management, and most people in the profession said they found the work highly satisfying.

Advancing Your Business Career

Becoming a customer success management professional starts with earning a degree in the field. Malone University offers a flexible online BBA designed to provide you with a wide base of knowledge in business principles and practices. Our program includes instruction in consumer behavior, operations management, and principles of marketing and management – all of which can form the basis of a customer success career.

Adult learners who already hold a bachelor’s degree can advance their careers with Malone’s affordable online MBA. Students in this 36-credit graduate program can earn a degree in as little as two years. In our courses, you’ll study business intelligence for managers, marketing management, and data analytics to launch yourself into a customer success role.