Feb 7, 2020

Read Time 4 min

What’s the Job Outlook for Customer Success Professionals?


Emerging Jobs - Customer Success

Embarking in an emerging career field like Customer Success brings great possibility—and uncertainty.

Will this role have high growth potential? Do companies see the value of my department? Is my experience going to be relevant in the years to come?

These are the questions that can onset an existential career crisis.

So, what’s the job outlook for Customer Success professionals?

It’s bright with 100% chance of tremendous growth as SaaS continues to enjoy its moment in the sun.

LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report named Customer Success as one of the top emerging jobs in the U.S. In fact, Customer Success is taking the world by storm—ranking in every country they studied:

#2 in Argentina  #6 in the U.S.
#2 in Mexico #6 in Australia
#3 in Germany #8 in India
#3 in Spain #8 in the Netherlands
#3 in Brazil #11 in Canada
#4 in France #13 in Singapore
#5 in the U.K.  

With more than 660+ million users, LinkedIn used their data to identify the top 15 jobs that emerged over the last five years, including associated skills, industry insights, and top hiring cities.

Report trends for Customer Success:

  • 34% annual growth for Customer Success Managers (CSMs) in 2018
  • 72% of Customer Success roles are in the Software & IT industry with other top hiring industries including Internet, Marketing, and Finance
  • A hybrid of soft and hard skills is a must with top skills including SaaS, Salesforce, CRM, Account Management, and Customer Retention
  • Top hiring cities include SF, NY, Boston, Chicago, D.C.

And, other relevant industry-wide trends:

  • People skills entwine in the future of tech to complement automation
  • Washington, D.C. (shout out to ChurnZero’s headquarters) is spotlighted as a rising tech hotspot with increased cybersecurity, data science, and artificial intelligence hires
  • Online learning and smart transportation industries ramp up their workforce

Now, let’s take a deeper dive into the trends driving the booming Customer Success industry.

The subscription shift is in full swing

With a large majority of Customer Success roles (72%) in the Software & IT industry, this emerging discipline is powered by the surge of SaaS—a $143.7 billion dollar market.

  • Through 2022, Gartner projects the market size and growth of the cloud services industry at nearly three times the growth of overall IT services— Sid Nag, Gartner Research Vice President
  • SaaS is growing more than 200% faster than traditional perpetual license software – Zuora, Subscription Economy Index
  • More than half of companies plan to decrease on-premise software spend, while 80% expect to boost SaaS and public cloud investments – Flexera study from CIO Dive’s 2020 IT spending priorities

To capitalize on this monumental growth, perhaps B2B SaaS should take a page from B2C subscription startups like HelloFresh, Birchbox, and Dollar Shave Club. These brands offer a combination of curation, convenience, cost-effectiveness, and exclusivity that keep customers coming back.

“The subscription e-commerce market has grown by more than 100 percent a year over the past five years. The largest such retailers generated more than $2.6 billion in sales in 2016, up from a mere $57 million in 2011.” – McKinsey & Company, Thinking inside the subscription box

Regardless of subscription industry—whether it’s beauty, meal kits, or software—to stay afloat in a market that is increasingly flooded with options, you need to play the long game. “An abundance of choice leads to customer inertia […] it’s more important than ever for software companies to nurture their existing customers and provide a plentitude of reasons for them to stay,” explains InSided CEO Robin van Lieshout in ClickZ’s article on 2020 SaaS trends.

This means a vigilant focus on growing customer retention and lifetime value. Cue the all-time high demand for Customer Success champions.

Results reign supreme

As brand loyalty declines and a preference for experiences grows, the novel attraction to the “latest and greatest” will take a back seat to value-added services. “It’s about the service that surrounds the products instead of the actual products themselves,” says customer experience futurist and author of The Customer Of The Future, Blake Morgan, in her article on 2020 customer experiences trends. Morgan writes, “Companies will think more about the help that customers actually need instead of simply finding new products to sell customers.” Achieving tangible customer outcomes will propel businesses forward—not touting shiny new product features. Companies that prioritize customer relationships and pragmatic, strategic support will win customer trust and allegiance in the long-term.

Harmonize high-tech and human touch

71% of Americans prefer to interact with a human than a chatbot or some other automated process, according to PwC’s report on the future of customer experience. To deliver the greatest benefit to the customer, high-tech should complement—not replace—the human touch. Automation technology frees Customer Success workforces from the burden of administrative tasks, allowing them to focus on proactive, high-touch support. This gives the employee a greater purpose and the customer a greater value—strengthening their relationship and elevating Customer Success as a meaningful counterpart to automation.

Grow a career in Customer Success

Customer Success uniquely combines the best of business—a sociable, service-oriented role with savvy strategy know-how. This highly sought-after skill fusion affords Customer Success professionals unique yet versatile experience that will unlock many doors of opportunity. When you’re ready to look for your next role in Customer Success, here are some relevant job boards to help with your search.

Customer Success Around the Web


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