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What are some ways that junior and newer customer success managers can get greater exposure to the C-Suite?

4 Answers
Michael Maday
Michael Maday
Gainsight Senior Director, Customer SuccessFebruary 15

Senior Executives love to learn things that they do not already know about the company, your product, or your industry. When an opportunity arises for you to interact with them, give them an opportunity to learn from you!

Additionally, these leaders despise walking into a difficult conversation unprepared and it is your role as the CSM to make sure this NEVER happens within your book of business. When you have an Executive joining your meeting, over-index on the prep you put together for them. Recently my team has started recording quick videos so the execs can get their prep that way (in addition to email)

Do not be afraid to speak up at an All-hands or company-wide meeting but be sure your question/opinion is razor-sharp. While your CEO will obviously answer a softball question about expansion into a new geography or potential acquisition, you will not stand out to them. 

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Amara Okoli
Amara Okoli
MURAL Director of Customer SuccessMarch 22

Here are a few tried and true ways to gain greater exposure to the C-Suite:

  1. Get curious about the space, not just the product, and build your knowledge base. 
  2. Ask to shadow meetings with other CSMs, AEs, and other teammates who are closer to the C-Suite already
  3. Attend all hands/conferences/tradeshows/webinars where the C-Suite is speaking so you learn about their priorities and personality.
  4. Ask thoughtful questions at the appropriate opportunities and volunteer for initiatives where your skills might shine
  5. Find mentors within the organization who are close to the C-Suite and offer to help them with projects

Over time, the additional information and experiences you gain will help you differentiate yourself and widen your circle of influence

543 Views
Jeff Beaumont
Jeff Beaumont
Customer Success ConsultantMay 30

Tie your work to a revenue driver, be a vocal advocate for company initiatives, and go the extra mile.

  • Hit your numbers: While this sounds like a "duh" statement, it's important because it shows you know what you're doing. You were entrusted with a task and you demonstrated excellence. While it does not guarantee C-suite members will come knocking on your door, it does put you on their radar (in a positive way!).

  • Revenue driver: At least in an Operations, Strategy, Analytics, or other similar functions, it's helpful, wise, and important to make sure you're supporting a revenue driver and/or top initiatives. That's where the company is focused and thinking about. For example, in Sales/CS this could be: renewals, expansion opportunities, product analytics to drive customer purchases. For a CSM, it relates to hit your numbers but also understand what else the company is looking at, even if it's not tied to your comp.

  • Vocal advocate: Not in a brown-nosing way, but find ways to positively speak up, offer your vantage point, and provide recommendations. Company leaders look for "bright", "smart", "capable", "strategic" people and that often translates to someone who has insights that lead to recommendations. It's not simply that a person knows something but that they can effectively communicate it, too.

  • Extra mile: "if someone asks you to walk with them one mile, go with them two". Are you willing to help with that special project? If you're noticing trends, did you share that with your analytics or operations team? Do you trust that they'll represent you well and give you credit? Help them out and they will bring up your name as someone who is capable.

495 Views
Meenal Shukla
Meenal Shukla
Gainsight Senior Director of Customer SuccessAugust 31

Getting exposure to the C-Suite as a junior or newer Customer Success Manager (CSM) can be challenging, but it is definitely possible with the right approach. Remember, getting exposure to the C-Suite is not just about getting noticed, but also about contributing value to the organization and demonstrating your potential as a future leader. Approach it with a positive and proactive attitude, and seek out opportunities to learn, contribute, and build relationships. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Understand Their Priorities: First and foremost, understand the priorities and concerns of the C-Suite. This will help you align your work and communication with their strategic goals and interests.

  2. Deliver Results: Consistently deliver strong results in your role as a CSM. This will help you build credibility and a strong reputation within the organization.

  3. Be Proactive: Take the initiative to identify and solve problems, propose new ideas, and contribute to strategic initiatives. This will help you get noticed by the C-Suite and other senior leaders.

  4. Build Relationships: Actively work on building relationships with senior leaders, both within your department and across the organization. Attend networking events, participate in cross-functional initiatives, and seek out opportunities for mentorship and guidance.

  5. Seek Opportunities for Visibility: Look for opportunities to present your work and results to senior leaders. This could be in formal settings such as meetings or presentations, or in informal settings such as networking events or casual conversations.

  6. Communicate Effectively: Develop strong communication skills, both written and verbal. Be able to articulate your thoughts and ideas clearly, concisely, and persuasively.

  7. Demonstrate Leadership: Even as a junior or newer CSM, you can demonstrate leadership by taking ownership of your work, collaborating effectively with others, and contributing to a positive and inclusive team culture.

  8. Ask for Feedback: Regularly seek feedback on your performance from your manager, peers, and other senior leaders. This will help you identify areas for improvement and demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning and development.

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