Finding Your Next Role in Customer Success

We’ve all seen the statistics and the news lately, and there’s no denying that we’re in a jobs crisis. Companies are trimming staff – sometimes down to “essential only” roles – in order to survive the economic downturn. Customer success roles and teams are no exception, and many companies are making the hard choices right now to reduce the size of their customer success teams to survive. If you were affected, and you’re focused on finding your next role in customer success, don’t despair. Even in these uncertain times, there’s still hope.

Many forward-thinking companies are investing in customer success teams during the middle of this year. Customer success serves a crucial role in these turbulent times – protecting existing customer revenue and preventing churn. By tracking customer health and having real, transparent conversations with customers, customer success teams can help protect current business and set companies up for future expansion.

The other very positive thing happening right now is that the customer success community is giving back. I’ve seen LinkedIn connections and engagement increase significantly, and many leaders and practitioners are reaching out to help others who are intent on finding their next role in customer success. As part of this effort, I’d like to share some resources I’ve found that are very helpful to those in search mode, or those who are trying to improve their skill set.

If you have additional resources, tips or advice to add, please add a comment below!

Finding Your Next Role in Customer Success

The job market is tight right now, and a tight market favors the employers rather than the employees. So these days it’s incumbent on those searching for their next role to do more than find a job posting. You have to make sure you’re well-educated on the space and the company, and that your resume and other critical paperwork is good as it can be. Being prepared will give you a leg up over the competition.

With that in mind, in this post we’ll focus on job boards to find suitable roles, online educational resources for those seeking to improve their knowledge in customer success and customer experience, online conferences to expand your thinking and your network, and finally some good resources to help improve your job hunting skills. Beyond the resources listed in this post, check out the “For Further Reading” page on this site for some really good reads on customer success and customer experience.

LinkedIn Tips

It should come as no surprise to anyone in the professional world that LinkedIn is the place to make connections, get information on prospective companies, and join the discussion around customer success. There are a few things you can do to improve your LinkedIn presence and engagement:

  • As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression…so it’s important to make sure your LinkedIn profile conveys the best first impression possible. LinkedIn’s Sales and Marketing Solutions – EMEA blog has a great post on top tips to optimize your profile. A great profile vastly increases your chances of getting noticed for your next role.
  • LinkedIn is giving each of its employees a limited number discount codes to receive six months of LinkedIn Premium for free. If you follow the hashtag #plusonepledge on LinkedIn, you’ll see people posts where people are offering up their codes on a “first come, first served” basis. You’ll have to act fast…but if you’re patient and if your timing is good, you should eventually be able to get access.
  • LinkedIn Learning is discussed in more detail later in the post – suffice to say for now that it’s a great platform for professional and personal education. It’s available as a paid service, or you can get it as part of your LinkedIn Premium subscription. If you’re not a LinkedIn Premium subscriber, you may still be able to access LinkedIn Learning. Many public libraries and schools across the country provide free access to the LinkedIn Learning platform to their patrons or students. It’s worth checking to see if you have free access as well.
  • Certain hashtags are very useful right now for those in job search mode. Following a hashtag is easy on LinkedIn, and here are some that I’ve found useful (click the links below to show all posts with the specific tag):

Customer Success Job Boards

Several top companies in the customer success space are giving of their time, talent and resources to help customer success professionals get back to work.

    • Imperative | Jobs – This board is a creation of the team at Customer Imperative, a CS consulting firm out of South Carolina. The team at Customer Imperative provides outstanding thought leadership, and in the current crisis they’re very focused on giving back to the customer success community. You can check out the board and browse through the postings, or sign up for their daily newsletter highlighting job openings. There are a few things that set this board apart from other CS job boards:
      • It’s a curated list. Rather than a long list of postings and links, it focuses on a few roles that are very relevant to the targeted audience.
      • It provides additional context and helpful information. The team takes the time to pull together information about each company and each role. This includes things like a brief background on the company, some bullet points on what the company’s value proposition is, things that make the company a favorable or interesting one to explore, and possible contacts to connect with via LinkedIn.
      • The team actively solicits feedback on the list. They’re very good about surveying their subscribers to find out how useful the list is for them, and ways to improve it over time. They’re demonstrating one of the key elements of the customer success role: listen to – and learn from – customer feedback!
    • SmartKarrot job board – SmartKarrot is an up-and-coming company that provides a platform combining key aspects of engagement, onboarding, customer success operations, adoption and customer experience. They’re also very focused on giving back to the customer success community – and to that end, they’ve launched a job board listing CSM and customer success leadership roles worldwide. It’s definitely a board – and a company – worth checking out.
    • Gainsight’s Customer Success job board – Whether you’re working on finding your next role in customer success or you’re from a company looking to hire top-notch customer success talent, Gainsight’s job board is a great place to visit. You can see all currently posted roles or select based on a specific city you’re interested in. The board includes roles for customer success managers (CSMs) as well as leadership/executive roles.
    • ClientSuccess Customer Success Job Openings board: ClientSuccess is changing the way SaaS companies manage, retain and grow their existing customer base. CEO Dave Blake recently posted on LinkedIn about their #HELP1HIRE1 challenge: find one person to HELP or to HIRE. Dave is really preaching what he practices: ClientSuccess has a great jobs board to find all kinds of open roles across the country, and for employers to post new roles as well.
    • The Customer Success Association jobs board – If you’re not familiar with the Customer Success Association, you should be. It’s a great place to get thought leadership and research that spans the entire world of CS. The CSA also conducts in-person CS conferences in various cities on the east and west coast. Given the large audience that the CSA has, they’ve also got good insights into the job market. Their job board is broken out by job level (executives, CSMs, TAMs, etc.) as well as location. Well worth checking out, and while you’re there sign up for a free account to access their thought leadership.
    • SuccessHACKER’s SuccessJOBS board – The SuccessJOBS board was created by the team at SuccessHACKER, a leader in customer success training, consulting and coaching. I really like this board because it not only lists jobs by keyword and location, but also allows job seekers to create a profile and post a resume. You can also sign up for alerts to get new jobs sent to you via email every day. SuccessHACKER also offers some great education for those seeking roles in customer success – which I’ll highlight later in this post.
    • Companies That Are Still Hiring for Customer Success Roles | SuccessCOACHING – If you’re a Customer Success professional impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, then this resource is designed to help you find the companies that are still hiring. This board was also created by the team at SuccessHACKER.

General Job Boards

In times like these it’s good to use a variety of different resources. While the boards below aren’t specific to customer success-related roles, they have a variety of features that make them all very useful tools for finding your next role in customer success.

  • LayOffers – LayOffers is a brand new community that tracks layoffs to support workers and connect job candidates with top recruiters at no cost, according to a press release on the founding of LayOffers LLC. In addition to traditional job search tools, the site provides a way to get more information on various layoffs across a variety of industries, a news and trends section, and a discussion forum for those seeking work.
  • LinkedIn Jobs – arguably the best-known of all job search sites, LinkedIn Jobs combines the power of a top-notch search engine with the deep networking and research capabilities that are in LinkedIn. You can use it to research companies you’re interested in, find connections to introduce you to the right people in a company, and generally learn more about the market. If you’re a LinkedIn Premium subscriber you’ll also get additional insights on roles you see in Jobs, and you’ll have a set number of InMail messages you can send to recruiters or individuals within a company.

Online Education

Continuing education is important for anyone looking to find a career in customer success. The industry changes so quickly it’s good to keep up with current trends and thinking. Fortunately, there are good training resources available for free or at reduced cost for those whose roles were affected by the current pandemic. Two that I really like are:

  • CSM Training and Re-Employment from Gainsight – in addition to their jobs board listed above, Gainsight is also providing educational services to those whose roles were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the follow on economic impact. The home page for their training spells out this site’s mission: “For those who have lost their positions due to COVID-19, we invite you to enter the Customer Success (CS) profession or take your existing CS knowledge to the next level. Pulse+ is an online media platform that combines premium eLearning and industry-grade certifications.” Go get it while you can.
  • LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) – probably the best all-purpose educational platform on the market for professional development. The site offers classes in customer success and account management, business strategy, and a wide variety of other topics to help users round out personal and professional skills. As an added bonus, if you’re a LinkedIn Premium member you get access to LinkedIn Learning for free.
  • Certified CSM Training – Another great offering from the team at SuccessHACKER, this is the world’s only fully accredited online Customer Success Manager certification. SuccessHACKER is offering this course at a generously discounted rate – jump on it while you can!

Slack Channels

Slack is rapidly becoming the de facto standard not only for instant messaging within companies, but also for cross-company and interest-based collaboration groups. Below are some highly engaged Slack channels I’ve found very useful. Just click the link to join the channel. NOTE: due to Slack security restrictions, these links may change or expire at any time. If you’re interested in a specific group and find a non-working link, please reach out via the contact page to get a personal invite.

Customer Success/SaaS Conferences and Training Events

Finally, it’s important for those seeking roles in customer success to stay up to date on industry trends and new ideas. There are some excellent conferences and training events coming up that will be offered virtually – and will be free. Check out the following:

Interviewing Skills

It’s likely that most professionals looking for a job in Customer Success have good experience in interviewing throughout their career. That said, it’s always good to get some tips on interviewing skills. I really loved this video from Irit Eizips of CSM Practice on smart questions to ask during an interview for a role in Customer Success.

 

Irit has also recorded an excellent video with her best advice on getting your first Customer Success Manager role:

Wrapping Up…

I hope you find these resources useful in your search. If you find a new link or site that’s particularly helpful, please drop a comment below!