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How Should My B2B Customer Success Organizational Structure Look?

Having a dedicated B2B customer success (CS) staff is essential to mitigate churn, improve adoption, and find expansion opportunities.
December 6, 2022
Blog

Having a dedicated B2B customer success (CS) staff is essential to mitigate churn, improve adoption, and find expansion opportunities.  The difficult part comes with determining how to implement customer success in your organization.

IB2B Customer Success Organizational Structure

(Jason Goodman / unsplash)

In particular, leaders need to figure out a lot of questions when it comes to customer success:

  • What should a CS organizational structure look like?
  • Who should report to whom?
  • What are some of the best practices of a CS organization?

The good news is successful CS organizations share some commonalities. Even though there’s no one-size-fits-all plan, what has worked for others could work for you.

The CS family tree

There’s a head of every family. In customer success, that designation could go by many names. For a smaller organization, this person could have the title of CEO or COO. A medium-sized company may label it as the VP of CS. For larger organizations, CS departments report to the Chief Resource Officer or Chief Customer Officer (CRO or CCO). The person in this position is in charge of streamlining the tools, policies, and metrics that the customer success department will utilize to achieve its goals.

Generally, three responsibility branches flow from the top of this tree, each with their own leader (or a specific focus from a single leader): the Onboarding Team Lead, the Director of CS, and the Customer Operations Director.

The Onboarding Team Lead will map out the practices for welcoming new customers from SalesOps and familiarizing them with the products, services, and interface. Later, this role can have a separate Onboarding Specialists department underneath it. Onboarding Specialists may eventually oversee the Training Specialists. Together they assist in developing and dispatching educational materials for customers at different touch points.

The Director of CS is responsible for building customer relationships from scratch and maintaining the integrity of those relationships. Later, their roles will evolve to inspect and support CS Managers (CSMs) and Account Development Managers. CSMs will develop and integrate plans, support individuals in the CS department, and coordinate with managers of different CS segments. Account Development Managers will serve as the customer’s point of contact with initial questions and needs and will also track and remedy setbacks while developing repeatable solutions.

The Customer Operations Director will identify and implement solutions to optimize success strategies and make them more scalable and profitable for the company. Their technical skills will allow them to facilitate communications across many different departments, from developers to analysts and consultants. Eventually, a separate Customer Ops Coordinator, Customer Engagement Manager, and Renewals Manager can branch off from this department.


Objectives at different growth stages

If you’ve already figured out the goals for your CS organization, that’s great. If not, we have a few suggestions that might help you.

  • Customer satisfaction and onboarding are great focal points for small and newer companies.
  • Improving adoption methods, adoption rates, and churn reduction are conventional goals for medium-sized or maturing businesses.
  • Larger, mature companies tend to focus on retention by upselling, cross-selling, and improving customer value.

Customer success best practices

If you think of a customer success organization as a fine-tuned machine, think of best practices as the grease in the wheels. Keep the following factors in mind for optimal results:

  • Get comfortable with experimenting and making mistakes. Learn valuable lessons from those mistakes and readjust your sails to go in the right direction.
  • Remain flexible and adaptable in your strategies.
  • Good data is vital for learning, strategizing, sharing, comparing, and analyzing.
  • Don’t get complacent. Your customer’s needs are ever-evolving, so your product and services need to evolve with them to exceed expectations. To remain competitive, stay up to date on current events, software updates, and customer niches.

Utilizing these best practices to maintain a smooth-running organization requires good technology—CSM software can help you and your team manage essential tasks.

Building CS at any stage

It's okay if you can’t currently fill all the positions within this organizational structure. Do what you can with who you have. After all, the entire company plays an important role in the customer's experience and satisfaction. As your company grows, so will your staff.

Start by instilling a customer success culture within your company. Keep conversations about customer success ongoing and at the forefront of everyone’s mind. For the time being, ensure that your RevOps or SalesOps has ample time to focus on customer success needs while you make constructing a CS team a priority.

Additionally, customer success management software is a sound investment at any stage. If you’re a young startup, you and your team will need it so that you can work more efficiently with fewer hands on deck. As a midsize company, it will be indispensable to uncover information like customer health scores and the customer journey. At maturity, it will allow you and your fully-staffed CS organization to track and share customer information throughout many different divisions within the company.

Focus on the customer experience

Building customer success is all about improving the customer’s experience, from beginning to—well, to no end because that’s the point of customer success. To stand apart from other software services, your company must establish a CS organization that can enhance customer engagement and satisfaction for a lifetime. Do what you can with the resources you have and invest in a customer success platform to support your efforts.

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