A Career Path Guide to Customer Success (2023)

A Career Path Guide to Customer Success (1)

When it comes to career paths to customer success, the customer success manager is undoubtedly at the forefront. This position has increased significantly in recent years, making it one of the most sought-after positions in the software industry.

LinkedIn has informedIt is the 6th fastest growing role with an 80% annual growth rate. With the rise of the SaaS industry and most companies moving to subscriptions, the rise in customer success jobs is understandable.

A Career Path Guide to Customer Success (2)

Businesses have understood the win-win relationship between distributing revenue for customer success vs.Net Dollar Retentionwhat is more beneficial to them. This has given them the confidence to mercilessly scale their customer success team.

By being immersed in different business functions, a customer success professional learns the business much more quickly, which gives them the opportunity to grow in different directions.

1. CS entry positions

If you want to excel in customer success, it's important to get the basics right. Remember that the person who starts from scratch knows how to get their subordinate's work done. Let's look at some of the CS entry positions that acustomer successEnthusiast will need to keep going for the first few years of his computing career.

a. Employees for customer success

The Customer Success Associate position is the youngest position in the CS hierarchy. This is the first step for a newbie to understand what getting into customer success is all about.

The salary of a Customer Success Associate in the US ranges between$36,760 and $49,500. The average salary is $42,727.

b. Customer Success Specialist

This is another junior level position in the CS hierarchy where the person helps CS professionals to correctly carry out day-to-day activities.

Salary for customer success specialists in USA ranges from$85,000 and $125,000. The median salary is $125,000.

C. Customer Success Representative

Much like a customer success rep/specialist, the job of a customer success rep is to help customer success professionals get their grunt work done perfectly.

Salary for customer success representatives in USA ranges from$35,000 and $200,000. The average salary for Customer Success Representatives is $71,387.

2. CS technical position

Although the technical CS position can be equated with a managerial position, we have kept it at a level ahead of the middle managerial position. As technology advances, we see a need for technical expertise in the CS role; This is where that hierarchy comes into play.

a. Customer Success Engineer

Each SaaS B2B company has its own job title for this position, e.g. B. Technical Solution Engineer, Implementation Specialist, Application Engineer, etc. With the advent of digital transformation and the competitiveness of the SaaS market, building a strong and competitive CS team has become one of the top company priorities. ACustomer Success Engineerprovides customers with technical delivery and successful implementation of products and services.

(Video) Customer Success CAREER DEVELOPMENT Path

The salary of customer success engineers in the US falls in between$47,460 and $170,000. The median salary for a customer success engineer is $77,810.

3. Middle management positions

In IT, certain middle management positions are incredibly important today. Let us turn to these positions in detail.

a. Customer Success Manager

The role of a customer success manager is to ensure their team is performing at their best. Most CSMs are known for helping customers transition from prospective sellers to active users of the product. A customer success manager focuses oncustomer loyaltyand tries to build long-term relationships with customers. They also stay with customers as long as they continue doing business for the company.

The average salary of a customer success manager is$1,08,919 per yearin the USA.

b. Enterprise CSM

If you want to grow while still being an individual contributor, an enterprise CSM would be the best fit for your customer success career. Serving a high-value client requires a lot of persistence, dedication, and special skills in dealing with such clients.

Even if you were only serving a handful of customers, the depth of knowledge required would be immense. You need to be fully involved in your business and work as a partner, not a supplier.

As you grow in this role, you can also earn the title of Account Manager, which is more well-known in the software industry and considered to be one of the jobs akin to a Customer Success Manager.

C. Management of Renewals / Manager

The job of a renovation manager is to cultivate the best processes around renovations. The person in this role needs to understand the trends in and around renovation activities and ways to achieve success. A renewal manager should support the finance and sales teams in addition to reviewing and reporting on renewal opportunities. You also need to prepare renewal letters, offers, invoices and notices and theUpselling and cross-selling opportunities.

The average salary for a renovation manager in the US is$91,200 annually. Entry level starts at $70,000 p.a. while seasoned pros max out at $126,800 p.a.

d. Senior Customer Success Manager

This is a leadership position in customer success. The person hired for this position is highly qualified and experienced to meet the needs of the CS team. They also have the necessary customer success experience to know how to take corrective action when something accidentally goes wrong. In general, a senior customer success manager is a boon to the customer success space.

The salary of senior customer success managers in the US falls in between$112,000 and $168,000. The average salary for the position is $140,000.

4. Customer Success Ladder / Customer Success Ladder

The Customer Success Leader is the second most common role in a Customer Success Manager's career path. Therefore, a Customer Success Leader is appointed in a company to oversee the growing number of CSMs. CSLs are responsible for holding CSMs accountable and providing them with the necessary support to carry out their duties.

CSLs are committed to improving data-driven customer engagement through their CSMs. You have more rights to the visibility of each CSM through aCustomer Success Platform. They spend most of their time on such platforms to keep track of the performance of the CSMs and the cumulative health value of their respective customers.

(Video) Career path of a Customer Success Manager | By Laura Meyer

5. Management Positions

This is where senior management positions in customer success come into play. These are the main heads of the CS hierarchy and they belong to the C-suite hierarchy. Here's a look at some of those positions.

a. Customer Success Director

A Chief Customer Success Officer is responsible for managing the existing customer base worldwide across the business. You must build and lead a customer success team accountable for delivering maximum business value from customers throughout their lifecycle. Ultimately, this has positive implications for renewal, lifetime value enhancement and customer satisfaction.

The average salary for a Customer Success Director is$128,572 per year in the US with $153,036 per year full compensation.

b. Vice President of Customer Success

As you progress in this role, you will become more responsible from a business perspective. His role includes both overseeing his customer success team and reporting to the CEO. AVice President of Customer SuccessHe is responsible for helping his teams generate more business through recurring revenue, upsells and brand ambassadors.

As much as they are involved in the data-driven leadership of their team, they also fill the necessary quality gaps. They provide the necessary training to their CSM and CSL team and also organize sales-focused and customer-focused training from industry veterans when required.

US Vice President of Customer Success salary ranges from$150,000 and $285,000. The average salary for this position is $215,000.

C. Director of Customer Service - Existing

As companies adapt to the subscription economy, this role has grown rapidly over the past decade. AA Gartner study revealed that 90% of companiesYou now have a Director of Customer Service or Director of Experience role, or equivalent.

The Customer Service Director is in the C-suite and therefore wields the most power in any role in a customer success career path. You are responsible not only for leading the customer success department, but also for implementing a customer-centric strategy across the organization by influencing the leaders of other departments.

The average salary for the CCO position in the US is231.800 $until February 25, 2022.

For a detailed look, I recommend you readthe roles and responsibilities of a customer service manager.

6. Advice

In addition to the regular IT function hierarchy, certain individuals work in an advisory capacity, helping an organization to grow its IT function. We have covered such advisors in this section.

a. customer defense

A Customer Advocate Consultant is a cross-functional role with the ultimate goal of finding ways to engage customer perspectives and experiences through a forum or channel that influences buyers, investors, partners and employees. This is a part time job. Customer Advocacy Consultants can add value to a company like no other enterprise messaging can. Using real-life examples, they offer personal and professional benefits that you can earn as a buyer. A client advocacy consultant is a natural participant in strategic activities such as preparing VC meetings, planning corporate events, planning new products, partner onboarding, etc.

The average salary for a Client Advocate in the United States is $36,109, but the salary range is generally in between$31,848 and $40,863. An ombudsman's salary depends on numerous factors, including education, certifications, number of years spent in the profession, and additional skills.

(Video) Customer Success Manager (CSM) CAREER PATH

b. Customer Success Advisor

As a Customer Success Advisor, a person acts as a technofunctional advisor and makes recommendations to Customer Success Experts. They must also design engagement plans that drive the customer's business goals and map the product capabilities to achieve those goals. You also need to collect feedbackproduct experiencethrough targeted surveys over the entire customer life cycle.

The nationwide average salary for a consultant is90.490 $in the USA.

Other departments perfect for CS professionals

Here are some other divisions that are a perfect fit for CS professionals.

a. customer marketing

If you have a knack for creating marketing content but want to stay close to the customer success team, then this is the role for you. customer marketing orAccountbasiertes MarketingThey target a smaller group of customers who understand you better.

As a Customer Success Manager, you already have a better understanding of your customers. So, creating content via email campaigns, webinars, inbound marketing, or videos with these customer insights would yield better results than marketing alone.

Only consider this role if you want to tie your marketing skills to customer success.

b. sales

Sales is already an important aspect of customer success. This is especially necessary in the case of renovations or additional sales. When practicing your customer success tasks, if you enjoy sales activities more and want to delve deeper into them, you should consider moving into the sales area of ​​your company.

This role allows you to exercise your customer success experience with a more focused approach. These experiences include deeper product knowledge, customer relationship development and buyer personas to get closer to your customers.

There are many positions in sales ranging from account manager to sales manager. Therefore, you always have the option to choose the one that suits your current role in CS.

C. Produktmarketing

Product marketing is a much broader option than the customer marketing mentioned above. In this case, you would be responsible for marketing your product to a larger audience that includes new prospects who have never heard of your product before.

Gaining a deep understanding of your product catalog is an important aspect of customer success. If you're interested in talking about the product and showing its relevance to customer benefit, consider this option.

When you become a product marketer, you would interact with your old friends from the customer success team, the core marketing team, the sales team, and eventually the product management team as well. This role requires some level of cross-functional collaboration and would be a good fit if you are looking to work in this environment.

d. Product Management

Participation in product management and customer successIt is an important growth strategy in any organization. On the Customer Success Engineer career path, you will interact intensively with your product management team. This can take the form of articulating customer needs or planning the product development roadmap to customer satisfaction.

(Video) What does CUSTOMER SUCCESS do?!

So once you gain the right understanding of the product and have the skills needed to lead a team, you may consider moving into a product management role that matches your current role in CS.

The product experience contributes significantly to the overall brand experience. So if you want to enjoy product-related discussions more and unleash your geeky side, then this could be a career move in the right place.

final thoughts

Because of the extensive exposure to different roles, responsibilities, and departments, customer success management jobs provide a rich learning base for professionals. After serving in this area, several doors will be open to you.

With such a wide range of skills required in this field, you have a good chance of discovering what you're really good at. Of course, spending a few years in this field would reveal your strengths and weaknesses, based on which you can make an informed decision to advance in your career.56

No matter what area you choose, the right amount of self-reflection and self-evaluation is always helpful from time to time. Gaining clarity by reconsidering all the options that brought you here and considering your future options is sure to help you in the long run.

You May Also Like:

  • The ultimate guide to customer success- Everything you need to know to understand and exceed customer success.
  • To see how SmartKarrot helps B2B companies optimize and scale customer success,Request a demo.

A Career Path Guide to Customer Success (3)

WRITTEN BYStanley Deepak

Stanley Deepak is an accomplished sales and marketing professional with over 15 years of experience. He loves technical products and reading books. He writes about philosophy and culture on LinkedIn.

(Video) CSM Mastermind: Career Paths in Customer Success

Published February 2, 2021 Updated September 19, 2022

  • customer marketing,
  • customer success,
  • Career paths in customer success,
  • Customer Success Manager,
  • product management,
  • Product marketing


What is the customer success career path? ›

Traditionally, these roles would progress from one of the roles in mid-management to a team lead position, then to head of customer success and onward. Head of customer success is usually a manager of team leaders, a director is a manager of managers, VP is a manager of directors, and CCO is the top banana!

Is customer success a good career? ›

If you love working with people and are driven by results, Customer Success is a great career path for you – it's a very rewarding job, with lots of growth opportunities in terms of personal growth, learning, courses, and professional development.

What are your career goals in customer success? ›

Most CSMs are known to support customers as they transition from sales prospects to active product users. A customer success manager concentrates on customer loyalty and tries to build long-term client relationships. They also stay with the customers as long as they continue giving business to the company.

How do you transition into a customer success role? ›

15 CSM's Advice to Getting Jobs in Customer Success
  1. You don't need to know everything from the start.
  2. Focus on the skills you have, and build those you don't.
  3. Love what you do and do what you love.
  4. You need to want to help people.
  5. See the bigger picture.
  6. Do what's best for your business.
  7. Really get to know your audience.
Jan 9, 2023

Is customer success an entry level? ›

While CSM might be an entry-level role, this doesn't mean you can just stroll into the job. Most companies will expect you to have at least 1-3 years of experience in a customer-facing position and as always, the more experience you have the better.

Is customer success a stressful job? ›

Customer success is a stressful job. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and overworked--especially when working remotely, where there's less separation between work and home life. Take breaks.

What is the average age of a customer success manager? ›

40+ years

Do you need MBA for customer success? ›

Pursue an MBA

While some job-seeker might be able to secure a job as a director of customer success with only a bachelor's degree, most main in this position also have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Can I become a customer success manager with no experience? ›

Most companies are looking for a bachelor's degree at minimum when hiring CSMs, but a lot of companies aren't as interested in your academic education as they are your experience. They really want a few years of customer service experience as either an account manager or customer experience expert.

What are the top 3 5 priorities in customer success? ›

Customer Success Empower and enable your CSMs. Product Create elegant product experiences. Customer Experience Identify trends across the customer journey. Revenue and Sales Drive a high performing renewals process.

Is customer success a sales job? ›

There are plenty of pathways into a Customer Success career, but one of the most common routes is from Sales. On the surface, Sales is very different from Customer Success, and most Customer Success Managers will argue that they are definitely not salespeople.

What qualifications do I need to be a customer success manager? ›

Here are a few key customer success manager skills and qualifications.
  • Customer relationship management.
  • Brand promotion.
  • Proactive problem resolution.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Empathy.
  • Product knowledge.
  • Collaboration skills.
  • Communication skills.
May 12, 2022

What's another title for customer success manager? ›

There are various other names for customer success manager being used in the industry like Customer Success Engineer, Sales Manager, Customer Success Specialist, and others. A Customer Success benchmark report found out that following are the titles used in a Customer Success team: CSM or CS-rep (61%) VP of CS.

What is the salary of customer success team leader? ›

Average £35,831 per year.

Do customer success managers work long hours? ›

Customer success managers usually work 40 hours a week in shifts. They are expected to be available 24/7 to handle customer concerns. For their availability and interpersonal skills, customer success managers are rewarded with an average annual salary of over $97,000.

What are 5 as customer path? ›

Philip Kotler, the five stages (Awareness, Appeal, Ask, Act and Advocacy) allow marketing and sales professionals to create a map of the customer's needs and priorities during the different parts of their purchase process.

What are the top 3 most stressful jobs? ›

According to the report, the top 10 most stressful jobs are:
  • Anesthesiologist assistants.
  • Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates.
  • Telephone operators.
  • Acute care nurses.
  • Obstetricians and gynecologists.
  • Public safety telecommunicators (911 operators)
  • First-line supervisors and retail sales workers.
  • Nurse anesthetists.
Dec 15, 2022

Are customer success managers well paid? ›

Salary Ranges for Customer Success Managers

The salaries of Customer Success Managers in the US range from $40,000 to $160,000 , with a median salary of $93,000 . The middle 57% of Customer Success Managers makes between $93,000 and $115,000, with the top 86% making $160,000.

What companies pay customer success managers the most? ›

Top companies for Customer Success Managers in United States
  • Salesforce. 4.4 $168,944per year. 958 reviews5 salaries reported.
  • Cisco Systems. 4.1 $167,430per year. 6,205 reviews23 salaries reported.
  • IBM. 3.9 $163,292per year. ...
  • Demandbase. 4.3 $161,522per year. ...
  • Citrix Systems Inc. 4.0 $156,608per year. ...
  • Show more companies.

What is the next step after customer success manager? ›

The most traditional career path for CSMs over time is into people management. Moving to be a team lead to a manager to a director to a VP of customer success seems like the most logical career path, but it's not for everyone.

How much does a customer success manager make at Google? ›

The average Google Customer Success Manager earns $77,450 annually, which includes a base salary of $62,950 with a $14,500 bonus. This total compensation is $30,178 more than the US average for a Customer Success Manager. Customer Success Manager salaries at Google can range from $74,900 - $80,000.

How many clients should a customer success manager have? ›

The median amount of customers a Mid-Market CSM manages is 100-250. A Mid-Market CSM manages roughly the same amount of ARR as an Enterprise CSM, but it's spread across many more customers.

Is customer success just for SaaS? ›

Customer Success is not exclusive to SaaS companies. Begin implementing a Customer Success program to position your business for long-term growth, and you will see your own success increase as you add value for your customers.

How much does a Microsoft customer success manager make? ›

Average Microsoft Customer Success Manager yearly pay in the United States is approximately $134,174, which is 103% above the national average.

What is the most important skill for a customer success manager? ›

Empathy is another skill that all CSMs should have, and it's sometimes considered the most important skill. CSMs should have the ability to understand where customers are approaching problems from, how they are feeling about specific milestones, and what they are thinking about certain functionality.

What does a customer success manager do daily? ›

A Customer Success Manager (CSM) is responsible for ensuring that customers have a great experience. Typically, the sales team will pass a customer off to a customer success manager once the sale is completed. CSMs are responsible for onboarding new customers and providing support when necessary.

How much does a customer success manager make at Salesforce? ›

How much does a Customer Success Manager make at Salesforce in the United States? Average Salesforce Customer Success Manager yearly pay in the United States is approximately $168,944, which is 156% above the national average.

Is customer success manager a high paying job? ›

Salary Ranges for Customer Success Managers

The salaries of Customer Success Managers in the US range from $40,000 to $160,000 , with a median salary of $93,000 . The middle 57% of Customer Success Managers makes between $93,000 and $115,000, with the top 86% making $160,000.

What is the future of customer success? ›

A Future of CS-Led Growth

There is a strong alignment between customer success and sales, where driving sales can only be successful if companies focus on long-term customer retention goals. Companies that are tapping into the innovations taking place in customer success solutions are the ones that are marching ahead.

What is the career path for a customer service representative? ›

Common customer service career paths often follow a route that begins at the entry-level and can advance to supervisory roles at the manager or senior manager level.

Is customer success same as CX? ›

Customer success (CS) teams focus on understanding customers' goals and helping clients achieve their desired outcomes with a purchased product or service. Meanwhile, customer experience (CX) teams work hard to provide great experiences at every single touchpoint, from discovery to purchase and beyond.

What is the salary of Director of customer success at Microsoft? ›

The base salary for Customer Success Director in companies like MICROSOFT CORP range from $173,494 to $217,609 with the average base salary of $194,135.

How are customer success managers paid? ›

While there are many ways to compensate any employee, CSM compensation usually falls into three main categories: base salary, base salary plus bonus, and base with a variable compensation component other than a bonus. Each compensation method provides a company with the ability to reward employees for performance.

How do I move up from customer service? ›

Follow these steps to get out of the customer service industry:
  1. Determine your transferrable skills. Many customer service skills transfer to other roles. ...
  2. Explore opportunities in your company. ...
  3. Reassess your interests. ...
  4. Earn new qualifications. ...
  5. Work your way up. ...
  6. Begin networking. ...
  7. Find a mentor. ...
  8. Spend a day job shadowing.
Nov 12, 2020

How do I build a career in customer service? ›

You could pursue positions in quality assurance (QA) or product support or become a customer service training specialist. You might also use your customer service experience and apply it to an executive position.

What is the next job after customer service? ›

Customer service manager

A manager in customer service can also be responsible for managing operations, hiring and training, or quality assurance. While people managers are most popular, managerial roles in customer service also include: Customer support operations manager. Customer service training manager.


1. Melinda Gonzalez: Career Paths In and Out of Customer Success
2. The Startup’s Guide to Customer Success
3. How To Chart Your Own Career Path in Customer Success
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4. Three Questions to unlock your authentic career: Ashley Stahl at TEDxBerkeley
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6. Top 5 Activities of a Great SaaS Customer Success Manager
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