Jan 10, 2023

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Five hiring trends for Customer Success professionals to know in 2023

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This is a guest article by Swati Garg, founder and CEO, Melo Associates, and Lindsay Lynch, senior recruitment consultant, Melo Associates, a recruitment firm focused on Customer Success hiring for SaaS and tech companies nationwide.

As a Customer Success recruiting firm, our clients and candidates always ask, “What are you seeing in the workforce today?” It’s a large, open-ended question, and something we talk about almost daily.

In a fluid job market, supply and demand change quickly, and often unexpectedly. However, we can prepare by tracking emerging employment shifts and opportunities.

Whether you’re an experienced Customer Success professional looking for a new role, or you’re a newcomer hunting for your first Customer Success position, these are the hiring trends to anticipate and leverage in 2023.

1. Traveling for work climbs the list of job expectations.

We’ve seen an increase in companies requesting employees to be hybrid or fully remote with a willingness to travel more often.  After years away from the office, companies are looking to strengthen their in-person presence within the company and with clients. However, many employees love the flexibility of working remotely and this has been the way to balance both.

2. Reduced budgets sharpen employers’ appetite for niche experience.

With limited headcount, companies are focused on filling their most critical roles. Hiring managers are looking for candidates with prior experience in their industry, or experience with a similar customer base to reduce new hire ramp-up time.

3. Demand for candidates with technical talent grows with product complexity.

Companies with complex products and offerings are looking for candidates with prior development experience, advanced excel skills, and stronger analytical abilities.

The higher the product’s complexity, the more technical acumen a Customer Success Manager needs to be seen as a valuable resource and drive product usage, adoption, and retention.

4. Scaling challenges give rise to digital Customer Success roles.

Customer Success roles focused on enabling strategies to automate processes and increase the CSM-to-customer ratio are emerging and becoming essential to company growth.

We are seeing an increasing number of job descriptions that include digital terms like “low touch,” “enablement for the customer,” and “one to many,” as well as responsibilities for creating self-service tools that can scale across the customer base while maintaining a high level of service.

Digital Customer Success programs allow teams to be nimbler and remain flexible as the company’s customers grow—a huge upside for resource-strapped teams.

5. The CSM career path expands with the advent of senior-level individual contributor roles and player-coach roles.

Companies are asking candidates to do more and come in with more experience, at all levels. We are seeing a greater number of roles for individual contributors that can make a strong impact without being a “people” manager.

We know that not everyone wants to manage a team. This new trend has been a celebrated break from tradition for professionals who aspire to grow their careers and lead with positive (non-managerial) influence.

Additionally, we have seen an increase in companies asking individuals to manage a team as well as hold one or two large strategic accounts, creating a player-coach role. This expanded career path carves out space for professionals who want to stay close to the day-to-day but also help others grow—proving that there’s no “one” way to advance your career.

Customer Success shows promising signs of growth

As Customer Success teams continue to grow—though perhaps at a slower clip given the economic climate—the demand for qualified CS candidates remains high. Last year, 63.3% of CS teams added headcount, according to ChurnZero’s Customer Success Leader Study, which surveyed more than 1,000 CS leaders. This is a sign that the criticality of Customer Success is catching on, even, or especially, in fiscally strained times. However, most teams surveyed fell well below industry benchmarks on CS team headcount—an area of improvement for 2023.

Whether you’re a job seeker or an employer, one thing is certain. Knowing how to navigate the job market will help you land that next offer or candidate faster, and with less stress.

If you’d like to continue the conversation about Customer Success hiring and retention, please reach out to Swati Garg, founder and CEO of Melo Associates, or Lindsay Lynch, senior recruitment consultant at Melo Associates.

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