Apr 26, 2019

Read Time 3 min

3 Tips to Onboard Your CSM and Speed Up Their Time to Value


Your new Customer Success Manager only gets to experience their first day on the job once. The difference between an effective and ineffective employee onboarding experience determines the long-term success of a new Customer Success Manager (CSM). When done right, proper onboarding can be a secret weapon for scaling your Customer Success function.

So how do you properly onboard a new CSM and minimize their time-to-value? Read on to discover how thinking like a Human Resources Manager, introducing your product early, and leveraging a coaching or shadowing program can turbocharge your onboarding experience.


Tip 1: Think Like a Human Resources Manager

Like Customer Success, an effortless experience is one most telling traits of an organization that excels in their Human Resources. For HR this involves the ‘moments that matter’ within the employee lifecycle. Whether dealing with onboarding or recruitment, every HR department hopes for a smooth and well-defined employee experience.

A successful HR manager leverages metrics to forecast, track and report on new employee onboarding. As a Customer Success leader, metrics are nothing new – they dictate the long-term goals and performance of your team.

While CS metrics are what lead to a smooth customer onboarding experience, don’t forget to identify what metrics can lead to a smooth CSM onboarding. Even if you lack an HR team, consider what metrics can be applied to a newly onboarded employee. Look beyond the typical CS metrics (such as renewals or upsells) and be ready to answer questions around ramp-up times and training delivery methods. Just remember that there is no one-size-fit-all approach. Ramp-up times and training methods differ greatly depending on your product’s complexity and your department’s maturity.

Only by understanding the end goals (a satisfied and productive team member) can you develop the roadmap to get there. By thinking like an HR manager, you can identify which steps can be taken to achieve the type of ‘employee success’ that parlays itself into a powerful customer experience.


Tip 2: Introduce Your Product Early (Demo, Demo, Demo!)

There is little argument that the best way to learn a new product is by using it. While this doesn’t apply to every business, successful CSMs should be product experts. When applicable, encourage your new CSM to become a ‘power user.’ While there may not always be a business reason for them to use the product, consider ways to encourage use. Projects or simulations are just two methods that encourage product mastery.

Likewise, consider having your new CSM sit in on demos. Not only will this allow them to master the product’s value proposition, but it will introduce them to some of your product’s lingo. Sitting in on demos by Sales or Customer Success will expose your CSM to common objections and questions that they may encounter. It will also serve to introduce your new employees to the processes and responsibilities of other departments.

Taking these steps will allow your new CSM to understand your product at a high level (demos) and at a user level (projects and simulations.) By ensuring your new employee is introduced to the product early on, their likelihood of product mastery increases. Even more important, CSMs who are product users will be better equipped to resonate with their customers.


Tip 3: Consider a Shadowing or a Coaching Program

Enablement training is one of the most productive methods to ensure your Customer Success Manager is trained quickly. Shadowing and peer coaching are two of the most popular methods used to help your employee gain knowledge of day-to-day responsibilities and apply what they learn to a daily work routine.

Shadowing allows a CSM to get a quick pulse on the types of challenges they may face. Even more importantly, that they can learn the tips and tricks that are only acquired through hands-on experience.  By providing a far richer experience then a job description, a shadowing CSM can observe how an employee does their job and the metrics by which they will be measured.

Likewise, consider a simple coaching program that pairs new CSMs with high-performing veterans. A coach can serve as a cheerleader and mentor throughout the onboarding process. It also provides a visible signal that you are investing in the long-term success of your team. Unlike formal training programs, coaching programs result in personalized conversations and feedback that goes much deeper than traditional methods.

Programs like shadowing or coaching are great ways to expose new hires to your team’s workflows and processes. These methods can not only engage your new employees but can also re-engage members of your team that are in the middle of their career.


If you are interested in other CS leader topics similar to onboarding new team members, check out our RYG Customer Success Leadership Hours coming to a town near you.


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