If you want to understand customers,
so you can better position your products,
then work with your ally, the customer success manager (CSM).
CSMs and Their Relationships
Many PMMs choose sales people as their primary path to customers. That’s good.
AEs win by finding a business need so important/urgent they can drive a deal.
But CSMs often build more collaborative relationships with a customer,
with more people, and with different people, over a longer time scale,
with a goal of happy customer = expansion & renewal.
So CSMs provide service, and get perceived more positively.
As a result, CSMs get a rich picture of business needs, product value & differentiation.
That’s what you need!
Get Started: Help
Start by helping your CSM with her customers.
Does she need someone to talk about what other customers are up to?
Would she like someone to talk through the product roadmap?
Is it a pain for her to get an SE, and can you do a demo for her?
Or something so simple as getting a support case escalated?
One of the best CSMs I’ve worked with is Leahanne.
She used me in all of the above ways, with multiple customers. For years.
She became a friend, and a big ally.
Another is Tad. We helped each other navigate lots of high-stakes situations.
I always smiled when Tad wrote: “Todd, I need your help.”
How They Can Help You
First, by helping in the above ways, you increase your customer exposure.
The questions customers ask can tell you a lot.
The way they describe their situation and your product… you can steal!
And when you’re building positioning, CSMs are excellent sounding boards:
“If I said this, in this way, how would that go over with your customers?”
They can also tee up conversations to test new positioning with a customer.
(And they can prep the customer: “Don’t be polite. Be skeptical.”)
Finally, CSMs rock when you need to source a beta customer, a speaker, or a case study.
So go find your Leahanne. Find your Tad. And start helping.
From the front porch in Moss Beach,