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Love Don’t Cost A Thing (But Great CS Does): A Webinar Recap

Jaw-dropping statistics on compensation in the Customer Success industry!
Patrick Icasas
December 14, 2021

How much are you earning compared to your peers?

Everyone has pondered this question at some point, but few people ever get a satisfactory answer. And for good reason. 

Salaries are a tricky topic to discuss with your co-workers. Employers aren’t exactly impartial. Asking on social media or online communities may help, but the sample sizes are often too small to get a decent perspective on things. You could turn to online research of course, but the existing research might not apply specifically to your situation. 

That’s why we partnered with ThriveNetwork to create a study of our own. We surveyed hundreds of Customer Success professionals and discussed the results in our webinar Love Don’t Cost a Thing (But Great CS Does)

Our webinar featured prominent subject matter experts such as the co-founders of the ThriveNetwork, Michelle Novak and Vanessa Neurohr, Ranjan Mukhopadhyay, the Director of Compensation and Equity at Greenhouse Software, Lamar Nava, Manager of Customer Success at Betts, and our own VP of People and Places Jessica Marucci

In this blog post, we recap some of the key discussion points of the webinar, and even included some of the slides that they used. 

Download the recording if you want to watch the full webinar. 

Download the ebook for the full survey report and analysis.

In our survey, we discovered a compensation disparity between men and women working in the Customer Success role. More men tended to earn higher salaries than women, with 37.5% of women earning more than $100,000 as opposed to only 24% of women. 

Does gender affect how much you earn?

Lamar: I’ve seen a pretty good split, just having been in the hiring industry for my whole career. I’ve seen CS generate more towards the female side. My team is split about half and half, which I love to see because it brings different ideas, etc. But [the chart] is not surprising, and it’s unfortunate that no women are earning more than $200,000. 

Ranjan: I don’t necessarily find this surprising, but I think it dictates how companies have different philosophies on how they pay individuals, versus the compensation ranges that they might have. For example, at Greenhouse, we don’t look at race, gender, or anything else. We pay based on the role regardless of those characteristics. It’s an approach we’re taking to try to mitigate that scenario.

Our survey found that only 49% of respondents had their compensation evaluated at least once every year (9% every 6 months), while only 9% had their compensation evaluated every 6 months. As much as 20% never had their compensation evaluated on a regular basis at all. 

Should employers prioritize employee compensation more regularly

Jessica: At Catalyst, you’re eligible for a compensation increase yearly, but we review compensation across the organization every 6 months. Every year we do a market data analysis, where we review where the market has shifted, whether our bands are correct, is geolocation an accurate point of data, and whether that needs to be taken into account. 

Ranjan: I’m frankly surprised that there are relatively few whose compensation is reviewed on a regular basis. The size and stage and scale of your company are things that can hinder companies from reviewing on a more consistent basis. Oftentimes, smaller or younger companies don’t have defined HR processes and timelines.

I think reviewing employee compensation is an important touchpoint for employers and managers to have, and they should have honest and transparent discussions. 

Lamar: Over the last couple of years, I think people have learned what we did in the past is no longer relevant. It’s important for hiring managers to understand that conversations need to be happening regularly. We have these conversations every 6 months, because we have a smaller team and organization. That may not be the case in a larger organization. But regardless, you need to make a safe space for employees to come in and start that dialog. 

More important than that, your employees need to understand what the future looks like within the company. What do you need to do to get to the next position or salary band? I always make sure my team knows what the path looks like for the next two years, and what the KPI’s are. 

When asking for a salary raise, what raise % is a good amount to ask for?

Lamar: It’s not so much a “percent increase” as it is “what you think you deserve.” It depends on the skills you’re bringing to the team and what the market is showing. I’ve heard that you get higher compensation increases when you find a new job, but I don’t think that should be the case. You should look at the market and see what people could potentially be offering for the position, and then ask for that salary. 

Ranjan: I agree. I don’t think it’s necessarily a percentage. Also, the higher your salary is, the larger a percentage is, so it’s all relative. To Lamar’s point, what’s a fair rate for the role? 

One of the things we take into account when we look at promotions or increases [in Greenhouse] is “what is the role that you’re in?” What is the market data suggesting for the role, where are you positioned relative to that, and where are your peers positioned? 

There are a lot of factors that go into it, and you have to understand the value of the role instead of thinking of just a fixed percentage. 

Jessica: To put an actual number to it, promotions generally carry at least a 10% increase in compensation. If you’re at a more mature organization and they already have those bands built out, they’re generally going to already be organized into bands that allow for this type of increase at every level. When it comes to raises specifically, make sure that you understand your organization’s compensation philosophy, if geo-location factors in, and how merit/performance impact planned yearly increases. 

Want more insights?

These aren’t the only tough topics these hosts tackled in the webinar. In the full webinar, they also discussed:

  • Variable compensation
  • Compensation satisfaction
  • Addressing pay discrepancy
  • And much more!

Watch the full webinar to get the complete conversation!

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