What to do during your first 100 days as a CSM

A new customer success manager on Reddit was unsure how to spend their first 100 days in the role. This is such a common concern we've seen when talking to customer success folks and is a challenge for many CSMs. Benedict, co-founder of Arrows, decided to answer it.

Benedict Fritz

March 15, 2021

3 minutes

The other day we noticed this great question from a new customer success manager on Reddit, who was unsure how to spend their first 100 days in the role:

What would you consider the most important tasks of a newly hired CSM in the first 100 days of getting hired? It’s obviously somewhat context dependent, but what are the key processes and tasks to ensure a successful start?

This is such a common concern we’ve heard while talking to customer success folks and is a challenge for many CSMs. Benedict, co-founder of Arrows, answered it on Reddit and we’ve copied his full answer below.

My guess is the biggest thing this depends on is how much process is established.

Either way, you’ll spend your first 100 days orienting yourself.

Some couple universal things to try to dig into and really understand deeply: - What is the company selling? What value are customers trying to get? What value are customers seeing? - What direction is the company and product heading, and how does this connect with the direction your customers are heading?

If you’re the first CSM at a company, the first 100 days are going to look pretty different from your first 100 days as the 10th CSM, but both of them will be about understanding the process of success at the company.

If you’re one of the first CSMs you’ll be uncovering process. How is the team currently performing the functions that you’re taking on? Chances are they’re hiring you to do something that they’re already partially doing in one form or another.

Right now that process may look informal or sub-optimal, but that’s why they hired you. Running kickoff calls? Checking in with customers with QBR/EBRs? Running an onboarding process? Exploring expansion revenue? What are the current processes, and how are they being executed? They could currently look like occasional emails, reactive meetings being scheduled, or something else that doesn’t look like formalized “customer success”. Your goal is to uncover those things and formalize them—you’re figuring out what customer success will be at the company.

If you’re joining an established team you’ll be understanding process.

What are the current workflows the CSM team engages in? What processes and tools are being used? Someone has come before you and uncovered a lot of the success process. Figure out not only what those functions are, but if possible how they were arrived at.

You have the benefit of a fresh set of eyes. The process that exists is an accumulation of a million small decisions over a longer period of time, and not all of them will be the best fit for the company and its customers are currently at, and where they’re headed.

By the end of your first 100 days at an established team you want to be at a point where you can understand and execute the current process deeply enough that you can start improving and building upon it.

Just some thoughts from talking to a lot of different success teams at different stages—would love to hear what folks think!

And here’s the original Reddit thread: “First 100 days of a CSM”

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