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The Customer Success Professional's Handbook How to Thrive in One of the World's Fastest Growing Careers--While Driving Growth For Your Company

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2020-01-15
  • Publisher: Wiley

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


The definitive “Customer Success Manager How-To-Guide” for the CSM profession from Gainsight, who brought you the market-leading Customer Success

The Customer Success Manager has become a critical asset to organizations across the business landscape. As the subscription model has spread from the cloud and SaaS to more sectors of the economy, that pivotal role will only grow in importance. That’s because if you want to compete and thrive in this new environment, you need to put the customer at the center of your strategy. You need to recognize you’re no longer selling just a product. You’re selling an outcome. Customer Success Managers (CSM) are committed to capturing and delivering those outcomes by listening to their customers, understanding their needs, and adapting products and services to drive success. Although several existing resources address the customer success imperative, there is no authoritative instruction manual for the CSM profession—until now.

The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook is the definitive reference book for CSMs and similar roles in the field. This practical, first-of-its-kind manual fills a significant gap in professional customer success literature, providing the knowledge every CSM needs to succeed—from the practitioner level all the way to senior leadership. The authors—acknowledged experts in building, training, and managing Customer Success teams—offer real-world guidance and practical advice for aspiring and experienced CSMs alike. The handbook is written by practioners for practioners. An indispensable resource for front-line Customer Success Managers, this much-needed book:

  • Demonstrates how to build, implement, and manage a Customer Success team
  • Helps new CSMs develop their skills and proficiency to be more employable and grow in their careers
  • Provides clear guidance for managers on how to hire a stellar CSM
  • Presents practical tactics needed to drive revenue growth during renewal, expansion, and customer advocacy opportunities
  • Explains proven methods and strategies for mentoring CSMs throughout their careers
  • Offers valuable insights from Gainsight, the Customer Success Company, and the broader customer success community with more than a dozen of the industry’s most respected leaders contributing their perspectives 

Currently, with over 70,000 open positions, Customer Success Manager in one of the fastest-growing jobs in the world. The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook: How to Thrive in One of the World's Fastest Growing CareersWhile Driving Growth For Your Company will prove to be your go-to manual throughout every stage of your CSM career.

Author Biography

ASHVIN VAIDYANATHAN is the Chief Customer Officer at Gainsight—the Customer Success Company. Ashvin started at Gainsight as a Customer Success Manager and spent many of his early years at Gainsight building new and innovative processes. Prior to Gainsight, Ashvin was at McKinsey & Company consulting with companies on Marketing, Sales and Customer Experience transformations. When not at Gainsight, Ashvin is an advisor to several companies on the subjects of Customer Success and Customer Experience.

RUBEN RABAGO is Gainsight's Chief Strategist. He launched Pulse+, a refreshed continuation of the world's largest education program for Customer Success professionals and provides curriculum guidance to universities. Ruben also leads Gainsight's community outreach intended to elevate diversity in the profession. He was one of Gainsight's first CSMs and has more than 20 years of experience growing customer teams in traditional and SaaS-based companies, and currently serves as advisor to Customer Success professionals around the globe.


Alan Armstrong, CEO, Eigenworks

Carine Roman, Global Head of Customer Success at LinkedIn Talent Solutions

Chad Horenfeldt, VP of Client Success, Updater

Chrisy Woll, VP of Customer Success, CampusLogic

David Kocher, VP of Customer Success, GE Digital

Easton Taylor, Director of Customer Success, Gainsight

Eduarda Camacho, Executive VP, Customer Operations at PTC

Elaine Cleary, Principal CSM, Director of Education Services, Gainsight

Erin Siemens, SVP Client Success, ADP

John Sabino, Chief Customer Officer, Splunk

Jon Herstein, Chief Customer Officer, Box

Mary Poppen, Chief Customer Officer, Glint

Nadav Shem-Tov, Director of Teammate Success-CS, Gainsight

Patrick Eichen, VP Client Success, Cornerstone OnDemand

Stephanie Berner, Global Head of Customer Success at LinkedIn Sales Solutions

Travis Kaufman, VP of Product Growth, Gainsight

Table of Contents

Contributors xvi

Foreword xvii

Part I What is Customer Success and Why is it a Great Career? 1

Chapter 1 Customer Success Management: The Birth of a New Profession 3

The Age of the Customer 9

The Critical Missing Function 12

The Birth of the Customer Success Manager 15

Endnotes 18

Chapter 2 Defining the Customer Success Manager Role 21

Goals: Increase Retention, Reduce Churn, Drive Growth 21

The Consumption Gap 23

The Customer Success Equation 24

What Customer Success Management is Not 27

A Career or a Springboard to a Real Profession? 29

Endnotes 33

Part II The Core Skills of a Great CSM 35

Chapter 3 A Day in the Life of a Customer Success Manager 37

Putting Customer Success into Practice 37

Being a Customer Success Manager – A Personal Testimonial 44

The Three Core CSM Competencies 46

Chapter 4 The CSM Skills Required in an Ever-Evolving Business World 51

How to Develop Your Industry and Category Knowledge 52

Network with Mentors and Industry Experts 54

Product Expertise is Your Ticket to Greatness 57

Endnote 60

Chapter 5 Learn How to Empathize and Build Relationships with Customers 61

1. Be Introspective and Self-Aware 63

2. Communicate with Intent, Precision, and Persuasion: Be a Trusted Advisor 66

3. Consistently Follow-Up to Create and Grow Trust 68

4. How to Respond When You Don’t Know the Answer 69

5. Stay Focused and Positive When Situations are Difficult; Learn From Them 70

6. Read People In-Depth and With a #HumanFirst Lens of Compassion 71

7. Genuinely Connect with Customers: it is Personal and it is Your Business 73

Endnotes 76

Part III Operationalizing Customer Success 77

Chapter 6 Preparing for Your Engagements and Asking Questions Like a Problem-Solving Consultant 79

The Need for a 360o View of the Customer 80

Do Your Homework: Prepare for Every Customer Engagement 83

The Art of Discovery: Asking the Right Questions to Get to the Heart of the Customer’s Problem 87

Endnotes 94

Chapter 7 Defining the Journey to Customer Outcomes 95

Customer Lifecycle, Journey Map, Customer Journey 96

Segment Your Customers 104

Endnotes 110

Chapter 8 Operationalize Your Customer Journey with Moments of Truth 111

Identifying Your Moments of Truth 112

Sales-to-Onboarding Handoff 114

Welcome the Customer and Onboarding Kickoff 115

Launch or Go-Live 116

New Customer Executive or Champion 116

Business Reviews: For the Executive and More 117

Renewals 122

Endnotes 124

Chapter 9 Using Customer Health Scores to Manage Your Customers 127

Health Scores: How to Know If Your Customers are Doing Well 127

Designing Your Outcomes Health Score 129

Designing Your Experience Health Score 133

Setting the Right Thresholds 135

Other Frameworks to Design Your Health Score 136

Putting Health Scores to Work for You 139

The Future and Human-Element of Customer Health Scorecards 142

Endnotes 146

Chapter 10 Voice of the Customer and Your Tech-Touch Strategy 147

How to Get Meaningful Customer Feedback 147

The Hidden Value of Customer Feedback 151

Tech Touch: The Secrets of Low-Touch Customer Success 154

Onboarding Tech-Touch Workflow 155

Renewals Management Tech-Touch Workflow 158

Risk Management Tech-Touch Workflow 158

Advocacy Management Tech-Touch Workflow 161

Endnote 163

Chapter 11 Help Customers Achieve Their Business Goals 165

Adoption Management: How to Proactively Manage Product Use and Adoption 166

Success Planning: Make Sure the Customer Gets the Long-Term Results They Expect 172

Identify Business Objectives 173

Strategy Session 173

Document the Plan 175

Track Value 175

Product Experience – Improving Your Product is Your #1 Priority 176

Endnote 180

Chapter 12 Drive Revenue Growth Through Engagement, Proactive Risk Management, Churn Analysis, Expansion, and Advocacy 181

Stakeholder Alignment: How to Manage Executive Sponsors and Other Customer Stakeholders 182

Risk Management: What to Do When a Customer is Trending Toward Cancelling: How to Proactively Escalate Risk and Save the Customer 185

Reduce Churn with a Deep Understanding of Why Your Customers Have Left 190

Expansion Management: Understanding White Space in Your Customer Base to Upsell and Cross-sell Your Products and Services 199

Advocacy Management: How to Turn Your Best Customers into Evangelists 202

Endnote 205

Part IV Retaining and Developing the Best CSMs 207

Chapter 13 Managing a Customer Success Team 209

Segmentation and Aligning a Customer Success Manager to the Right Customer 209

Determining the Best Customer Success Manager-to-Customer Ratio and CSM Profiles 214

Compensating Your Customer Success Managers 219

Dashboards to Manage the Customer Success Team 222

Chapter 14 Creating Career Paths for Your Customer Success Managers 229

Designing CSM as a Career 229

Creating Career Paths within the CS Function 230

Conducting a Comprehensive Talent Review Process 238

Creating Career Paths Between Functions 240

Conclusion 243

Acknowledgments 245

About the Authors 251

Index 253

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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