In June 2017, I quit my job to start a #community for customer success managers in EMEA. I jumped into the abyss of opportunity with only an idea; zero planning, nor a team ready to execute. I quickly found people who shared the same vision, passion, philosophy, and with ideas way better than my own. One quickly became four with Gerard Dunne, Prasoon Ranjan and Kellie Lucas joining as Co-Founders. We had our own thoughts about why we needed to build the community, and to be sure, we asked Customer Success Managers too, holding a week of interviews. The themes remained the same, but the scale of some issues were beyond what we anticipated. This is why we are building a community for customer success managers across Europe, Middle East and Africa:
1) HELP BUILD RELATIONSHIPS: Customer success managers love people, are curious and passionate. We want to make more of this, and with the community will bring people together to share, learn, network and build lasting friendships. We’ll be helping harness this passion and connect CSMs across #EMEA, in person and virtually.
2) HELP GROW CUSTOMER SUCCESS MATURITY IN EMEA: Customer success in the region is relatively immature, compared to the US, in part because we’ve not being doing it as long. We are dispersed across the continent, so have fewer opportunities for networking. We haven’t developed our own thought leadership and knowledge base. We’d like to use the community to bring CSMs closer together across EMEA, enhance and accelerate learning through facilitating knowledge sharing and skill transfer.
2) HELP BUILD MORE DEFINED CAREER PATHS FOR CSMS: Career paths for customer success managers are often blurry and bumpy. It’s common to hear a #CSM describe their limited career path and restricted growth in their own company, meaning they look across functions or out of their company for their next role. We aim create a strongly networked community to help CSMs move seamlessly and naturally between roles within and across companies by facilitating mentorships and relationships.
3) HELP YOU FIND YOUR FEET SOONER: The first day, week, month, six months as a new customer success manager can sometimes feel like being put out to sea in a life ring. It would be a rare CSM who wouldn’t say they were nervous at their first customer meeting with a new company.We want to help new CSMs on-board faster, and be supported from beyond the walls of their employer.
4) HELP YOU FIND WHAT YOU NEED FASTER: We aim curate what you need and put it in one place, from blogs to best practices, to consultants to analytics providers. We’ve independent but not agnostic; the brands are all welcome to be visible and we want consultants to showcase their services so you can access what you need with the right information to make great decisions.
5) HELP EXPOSE AND GROW DIVERSE LEADERS: We’d like to see more women and #diverse groups represented in highly visible positions in customer success, in leadership and at events. We’d like to make space for #millennials to be heard in the community, and representation of the new-to-work cohort share their ideas for the future.
6) HELP CUSTOMER SUCCESS BECOME A PROFESSION: How hard is it to explain to your friend what you do? Customer success as a job isn’t really defined, at least not here in EMEA. Roles range from sales to account management to support and customer service. Job titles are just as diverse. The murkiness means that managers are finding it hard to hire good people quickly, and talent finding it hard to match with suitable roles. We want to help define customer success and help it be recognised as a profession.
7) PAY IT FORWARD: Finally, I feel that I’ve been exceptionally lucky. I was part of an incredible customer success team at #Yammer and then #Microsoft O365. On redundancy in January 2016, I was extremely fortunate to land a contract role back at Microsoft in the #FastTrack Centre as #Adoption Lead. I’ve had a succession of wonderful bosses. It’s time to pay it forward. customersuccessnetwork.org is a passionate hobby* for the Co-Founders. We want to build a strong and sustaining community all CSMs can get value from and welcome you to join us.
*customersuccessnetwork.org is not-for-profit
This is a re-print of the blog first published in LinkedIn on 24 July 2017