My Top Five Books on Leadership and Management

I read a lot.  An embarrassing amount, actually - I average about a book a week according to my Amazon purchases (and I would like to thank the advent of the e-book for giving me an easy place to store all of this reading material - thank you cloud!)   When I started brainstorming blog post ideas, sharing a few of my favorite books was on the top of the list, and narrowing the list down of just a few of my favorites to just five has been challenging.  

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Your Customer to Account Ratio Doesn't Matter - Your Gross Margin Does

A few years ago, I met with a SaaS startup who was looking for someone to lead their customer success team.  Interesting product, good funding, early traction, 50-70 clients - everything sounded great.  But as I dug into their customer success model, I saw a big problem - their customer success ratios. They were charging $30,000 yearly on average and their customer success managers (CSMs) were managing on average 7 accounts - meaning each CSM was managing $210,000 yearly and spending 18.5 hours per month per client.  

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Customer Success Manager Compensation

As customer success is a fairly new field and can mean a variety of things to companies, how to compensate a CSM is not as clear as in other fields such as sales and support.   In my experience, CSMs are not motivated by high variable compensation.  They are generally motivated by their customer's success and enjoy working in collaborative, team environments.  

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The One Number Leaders Forget When Building Out Customer Success Models

When you are building your customer success team, you probably spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to segment accounts - do you want to divide up accounts by vertical?  By region?  By MRR?  Or by however sales does it?  And once you come up with the perfect division, you will probably spend a lot of time trying to figure out the right number of accounts per CSM, probably by the amount of ARR each CSM is carrying.  You are also coming up with a plan and strategy about how to use that time:  quarterly business reviews, product updates, adoption reporting, and so on.  

While you are making these choices, the most important thing to consider is how many hours your ratio will allow you to dedicate per client per month. 

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Hello World!

Welcome to my blog!   As a 7 time startup veteran who is obsessive about customer success, and who has probably seen every manager situation known to man, I'm excited to have a place to share some of my hard-earned lessons.  

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Cynthia BalusekComment