When I was starting out in my career as a Customer Success Manager, it took me awhile to curate quality resources on Customer Success to refer to. Here’s my list of the best resources out there for Success.
Hubspot’s Customer Success Blog is now routed to the new Hubspot Service Blog, where they publish regular content on Customer Service, Customer Support, Customer Loyalty, & other CS-related posts. You can also subscribe to their Marketing and Sales Blogs.
Gainsight were the originators of Customer Success software-as-a-service, which was founded by a group of individuals including Nick Mehta and Dan Steinman. They also wrote a book on Customer Success that has since become a must-read for many CSMs. My favourite post from this blog: The Essential Guide to Customer Success.
CSMs should not be foreign to Salesforce, the trailblazers of Customer Success. Their Customer Service Blog has a wealth of wisdom on Customer Service, Customer Experience, and Small Business Management. My favourite part is their flexibility around mixing up some alternative content — like this article on “25 Go-Getter Songs Every Small Business Needs In Their Playlist” on Spotify.
Lincoln Murphy has a rich silo of Customer Success know-hows and how-tos to help CSMs in every possible situation they will come across in their practice. One of the more contentious questions he managed to answer: Who Should Handle Upsells?
Jason Lemkin, the founder of SaaStr.com, has an annual budget of US$10 million to run the single largest SaaS event annually (SaaStr Annual). They have podcasts on Spotify, and also Quora engagements that has brought the total viewership of their platforms to more than 50 million users in just 5 years.
Some other really useful blogs include:
Next, you will find the most popular books around Customer Success that professionals have recommended. Each comes with at least a 4-star rating on Amazon with great reviews from buyers.
Authors: Nick Mehta (CEO, Gainsight), Dan Steinman (CCO, Gainsight), Lincoln Murphy (Founder, Sixteen Ventures)
Amazon Rating: 4.9
Author: Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos)
Amazon Rating: 4.5
Author: Jeanne Bliss (Founder & CEO, Customer Bliss)
Amazon Rating: 4.6
Author: Gary Vaynerchuk (Co-founder, VaynerMedia)
Amazon Rating: 4.5
Author: Dale Carnegie
Amazon Rating: 4.7
Our tech-savvy CSMs love to have their conversations online. Thousands participate in web communities to share experiences, ask questions, and challenge each other about Success.
There are 5.8k followers on the topic ‘Customer Success’, and many more related topics and pages. Quora is an incredible platform for Customer Success Managers to interact and learn from crowd-sourced experience and knowledge. Many Frequently Asked Questions about Customer Success are also posted here.
This subreddit has a close following of 500 subscribers. Many of the topics brought up are relevant and valuable to Customer Success Management. However, with the small number of subscribers, the thread may seem a bit sluggish in terms of content updates.
Did you know that slack channels on Customer Success existed? These two slack communities have been popular amongst CSMs looking to get to know others in the profession through a more casual setup. These communities are great avenues to build friendships and be a part of insightful discussions on Customer Success.
There are quite a number of Customer Success groups on LinkedIn, but I strongly recommend the two above with the strongest following. Each group has more than 10,000 members with professionals from every industry sharing about events, tips, news, and career guidance.
The only physical community on Customer Success available — but not all parts of the globe have a meetups group. These meetup sessions happen monthly to quarterly with many leading experts from each state coming together to share tips, experience, and wisdom on Success.
I have recently created a Customer Success Meetup Singapore group to bring together a supportive community of CSMs. Join me and my fellow CSMs today!
This is a relatively new association that only accepts real customer success experts into their online community. They do background checks on individuals applying to make sure that each person who joins are pure-bred Customer Success reps. They have built a content aggregator for fellow CSMs to keep up-to-date with news in their field, and also curated some business intelligence about the Customer Success profession.
One of the most vibrant Customer Success online communities is available for free. The SuccessHacker Community allows you to interact with other CSMs globally — ask questions, share webinars, or plan meetups through this platform with almost 4000 other members and leading practitioners in Customer Success!
Gainsight - Pulse
When: Late Spring (May)
A 3-day annual event that is currently in its 7th year, Pulse is one of the more CS-centric events that you can go to. There is a high concentration of Customer Success professionals attending this event, allowing you to have greater exposure to the industry. There are also recordings of past sessions available online.
SaaStr - SaaStr Annual
When: Late Winter (Feb)
Jason Lemkin currently has an annual budget of approximately US$ 10 million to run the single largest Software-as-a-Service event at the Bay area. This 3 day event attracts up to 15,000 attendees around the world that are passionate about the SaaS model and its developments. The event features many Customer Success experts and up to 300 speakers, with many Chief Customer Officers delivering insightful presentations.
Hubspot - Inbound
When: September 4-8, 2018
Inbound is usually held around Summer in Boston, the headquarters of Hubspot. They are starting a dedicated Customer Success track as the community of CSMs have exploded over the past years.
Forrester - CX
When: Multiple Dates
CX is an annual Customer Experience forum that focuses on how improving the customer journey leads to a direct increase in revenue and customer lifetime value. Forrester holds many events around the world and emphasises on the conclusions they have found on years of customer experience research.
Customer Success Association - Customer SuccessCon 2018
When: Multiple Dates
If you happen to attend the Seattle iteration, grab a hot coffee at the original Starbucks before you head to this event. Customer SuccessCon is held in a few cities — Seattle, Oakland, Boston, London. The association has a huge membership following, with some of the leading experts in Success.
Courses & Certifications
Customer Experience Professionals Association - Certified Customer Experience Professional Price: US$ 645 (non-members), US$ 495 (members)
The CCXP exam is an industrial certification which you have to complete at specific exam venues. There are 6 core competencies and a wealth of resources for you to study before you take the exam. You can also apply for accreditation after you complete the exam to demonstrate your expertise in Customer Experience.
Gainsight - Customer Success University Price: US$ 897
Gainsight offers a self-paced 3-course program that costs US$ 299 each. It takes approximately 5 hours to complete all 3 courses, and each course comprises of 12 lessons developed by CS pros in the industry. After you graduate from CS University, you get a Certified Customer Success Manager 'degree' bestowed upon you.
Udemy - Customer Success Manager 101: Foundations to your CSM career Price: US$ 14.99
In-depth and fast-paced, this course by Udemy is very affordable, and it offers you a lifetime subscription to its on-demand videos, resources, and a certificate of completion. The 1.5 hour video in this course will cover key aspects to prepare you to become an incredible Customer Success Manager.
Price: US$ 250
This is a proctored exam by Pearson Vue that is closed-book. There will be 4 components that you will be tested on — Discovery, Benchmarking and Application, Analysis and Evaluation, Enablement. There are supplementary materials for you to go through before you take this exam, and structured exam questions.
I hope this list of resources will become useful as you grow in your career as a Customer Success professional.
Did I miss anything out?
Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know more!