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What advice would you give to your younger self as a customer success manager on influencing the C-Suite?

3 Answers
Amara Okoli
Amara Okoli
MURAL Director of Customer SuccessMarch 22

If I were to give younger me advice about influencing the C-Suite I'd say to take your time, learn as much as you can, and look for connections. More detail below: 

  1. Don’t be in a rush. As CSMs, we ensure our customers achieve their business objectives with our software and in order to do this we cultivate meaningful relationships high and wide.  But it takes time to learn how to work with people and understand unique personalities, interests, and goals. 
  2. Shadow others who are skilled at this.   Find out who is adept at influencing the C-Suite within your organization (fellow CSMs, Account Executives, etc) and ask to join a meeting as a silent observer. Watch their body language, listen to how they steer the discussion, and take notes on the types of questions they ask.  If you do this enough times with various people, you’ll start to adopt strategies in your authentic style.
  3. Always be curious. The more information you learn about your customers, their industry, their challenges, market trends, and your software, the more you will be seen as a trusted advisor at all levels within your customer’s organization as well as your own.
  4. Partner with others. Leverage your customer champions to help you understand what the C-Suite cares about and how you and your company might help them.  Find out who else within your own organization has relationships with the C-Suite and gather as much information as you can.  Lastly, remember that your value as a CSM is not just about what you do for your customers but also your ability to partner with others to facilitate the connections needed to make your customers successful
  5. Put yourself in their shoes.  Consider what their day-to-day might look like and where possible ask people in a similar role to share some perspective with you. Earn their trust by being concise, assertive, and informative in all communication with them.
835 Views
Jeff Beaumont
Jeff Beaumont
Customer Success ConsultantMay 30

This is tough because it's easier said than done.

Hit your target. Prove your capability with what's expected of you (e.g., renewal rates, engaging with customers...), and then find ways to stand out such as getting customers to say "you better give _____ a raise!" or "I want to work with _______ again!" Stand out to your customers and that will come back to your company. This is a key way of standing out as a CSM. From there, you'll earn influence and the C-suite (or your CS/Sales leadership team, depending on the company size) will pay attention and be watching you. You will earn opportunities to say "this is what I do..." or "here's what I've seen our customers want...".

533 Views
Meenal Shukla
Meenal Shukla
Gainsight Senior Director of Customer SuccessAugust 31
  1. Be Confident: Have confidence in yourself and your abilities. You were hired for a reason, and you have valuable insights and perspectives to offer.

  2. Develop a Strong Professional Brand: Be known for being an expert in your field, for being reliable and delivering on your commitments, and for being a positive and collaborative team player. You should have your advocates speak highly of you in a room where you are not present.

  3. Think Strategically: Focus on the big picture and think strategically about how your work and the work of your team fits into the overall strategy of the organization.

  4. Seek Feedback: Regularly seek feedback from the C-Suite and other senior leaders on your performance and your team's performance. This will not only help you improve but will also demonstrate your commitment to continuous improvement.

  5. Take on Leadership Roles: Seek out opportunities to take on leadership roles, even small ones. This will help you develop your leadership skills and get you noticed by the C-Suite.

  6. Get Involved in Strategic Projects: Volunteer for or seek out opportunities to be involved in strategic projects or initiatives that are visible to and valued by the C-Suite.

  7. Communicate Effectively: Develop strong communication skills, both written and verbal. This includes being able to present information in a clear, concise, and compelling manner.

  8. Understand their Perspective: Make an effort to understand the C-Suite’s perspective and priorities. What are their key concerns, goals, and metrics for success? Align your message and approach accordingly.

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