"We work with four verticals: education, legal, media, and enterprise. And as such, our customer success team is coming from those verticals in terms of their experience, passion, relationships and so on. We put a lot of effort into verticalization. In general and specifically in CS. We enable our CSMs to do consultative work that surpasses what is done by a typical CSM in SaaS companies.
Mansur gives a great recent example of how the legal vertical customer success team is really stepping up and doing thought leadership work: “Digitalization of legal content has been there for a long time, but has caught on and accelerated in COVID. Now everybody's talking about what's going to happen after that. Can we move back and develop a hybrid approach? So our CSMs are out of their everyday tasks and working on these sessions, webinars, and talks”.
It's clear from what Amit tells me, that the vertical CSMs are experts in their fields and are given a ton of autonomy to run internal discussions in the company as well: “We meet once every two weeks internally in different forums. The CSMs lead many of these conversations and share ideas, bring up customer examples, talk about future plans, roadmaps, and customer feedback. Typically, it's the more senior CSM who leads it and then presents a summary. That's another great way of taking them out of the day-to-day work”.
I’m wondering how much of the CSMs time is actually dedicated to “regular” CSM work. Amit explains this: “Regular CS work makes a portion of their time, so it's renewals, upsells, classic CS. But a significant part of the time they're being proactive with the customers and are very focused on customer education and growth discussions.”
“So you asked about how we make CSMs do more than just the day-to-day classic CS work”, explains Amit. “It's all about making them strategic consultants for their customers. At the end of the day, they see so much. Let’s take our education vertical for example, the universities we work with. When a CSM hears from a university customer that they've taken one step further with accessibility, they can share that this topic is trending (not mentioning names) with another university. Everyone wants to be the best at accessibility, so sharing the knowledge makes the industry as a whole better”.
Hiring CSMs who could become thought leaders in the space, or already are, sounds like a tough task. Amit says the process is like this: “We use the simulation, which is our footprint, that is tailored for each vertical, and I myself try to be always there. We really act like a strategic customer. We start the simulation with the classics, where they need to learn about us and our offering.
In the second half, they get to present what's next, a year from now, six months from now, how do we, as a customer, go forward with Verbit. We evaluate them by asking them some questions they didn't think about to see how they handle out of the box thinking. You can see how strategic they can get. In terms of the way they think, the discussions that they make, the horizon that they take it. How do they wear the hat of the customer much better than others”.