Hiring for Customer Success Managers? Make sure you have a great plan or you are in for a shock!
As a recruiter in the SaaS industry, I’m no stranger to seeing the challenges early-stage, rapidly growing businesses face when trying to hire specialist roles. I’m faced with similar questions regularly from Founders or Executive teams trying to understand market conditions and why they are struggling to hire.
The SaaS industry has boomed in recent years and the increase in the number of European businesses being launched and looking scale is particularly noticeable.
There are always key areas that are notoriously tough to hire for. At one time, Developers came at a premium. These days it’s SaaS sales people – particularly in MarTech with so many companies competing with one another. However, over the last year I’ve been fully expecting Customer Success to catch-up with Sales, and from what we’ve seen at Just Digital since the start of 2018, there is no doubt that time is now upon us.
The volume of Customer Success briefs we’ve seen from clients in recent weeks has been astounding, and these are not just one-off hires. In most instances, clients are looking to make multiple CS hires – and quickly!
If you run some basic searches online you’ll quickly establish that despite still being a relatively new function, “Customer Success Manager” is the 3rd most popular title for jobs being advertised on Linkedin. During 2017, Linkedin experienced a 91% increase in jobs posted with a “Customer Success” title.
And this isn’t exclusive to Linkedin. Through our own research, the increase in companies adverting Customer Success roles on their own website or other job platforms has seen similar, if not larger, increases.
According to one statistic I found, the number of companies looking to introduce dedicated Customer Success functions rose from under 40% to over 90% during 2017. I believe we are now seeing those plans put into action – and it’s creating a problem.
This will lead to inevitable challenges for many. Customer Success is still a relatively new function and largely unknown outside of SaaS. There is a lack of good quality, skilled people with proven experience which is bound to present plenty of obstacles.
According to another source, only 24% of Customer Success professionals held this title in their previous role, prior to moving into Customer Success. The largest and most obvious backgrounds come from Sales or Account Management, which didn’t come as a surprise, although this may not necessarily be the best fit for every business if the Customer Success function isn’t driven by sales metrics.
33% of Customer Success professionals held roles in Marketing, Product, Consulting and even Finance prior to their current role.
This demonstrates to me that some companies have already figured out that hunting for great candidates outside of the obvious areas could be the way to build a great Customer Success team.
I suspect these will be the companies that have clearly figured out their CS metrics. However, many companies we’ve spoken to and worked with are uncertain of what metrics need to be implemented. That’s not uncommon with start-ups, but will make it harder to hire the right skills for your business.
My aim here is to highlight the what is going on in the market right now and offer some brief market insight. The underlying message is it’s a damn busy market with lots of companies all competing for similar profiles!
If you weren’t aware of this before and you are hiring, then you’ll need a plan and I’d certainly be giving strong consideration to what backgrounds could work for your business outside of the obvious.
Just posting your job ad online and falling into the trap that some founders do of assuming everyone will want to work for your business won’t give you a sustainable plan and will in most instances fail!
I’d love to hear from anyone with any thoughts or ideas on how they have gone about building strong Customer Success teams, particularly when faced with a challenging market.
Equally, if you are looking to hire and want to market insight send me a note and we’ll follow-up.