Making the Leap from Customer Success Manager to VP of Customer Success

This Article helps you understand the role, differentiate it from that of a CSM, and take deliberate steps towards your goal.


So, you've been rocking it as a Customer Success Manager (CSM) and are now setting your sights on the coveted role of VP of Customer Success (VP-CS). Congratulations! It's a significant leap up the ladder, but don't let it daunt you. In this blog post, we'll break down the path to success for transitioning from a CSM to a VP-CS


By the end of this article, you will:

► Understand what a VP of Customer Success does.

► Differentiate between the roles of a CSM and a VP-CS.

► Gain actionable steps to make the transition successfully.

What Does VP of Customer Success Do?

First things first, let's demystify the role of a VP of Customer Success. At its core, this role revolves around strategizing, leading, and scaling the customer success efforts within an organization. Your primary goal as a VP-CS is to ensure that your customers not only succeed but also become advocates for your company. Here's what you can expect to be doing:

Strategy Development: VPs-CS are the architects of customer success strategies. They identify opportunities, set goals, and create roadmaps for their teams to follow.

Team Leadership: You'll manage and mentor a team of CSMs, ensuring they have the tools and guidance they need to succeed.

Metrics and KPIs: VPs-CS are data-driven decision-makers. You'll be responsible for defining and tracking key metrics that gauge the health of customer relationships.

Customer Advocacy: Cultivating strong relationships with your customers is vital. VPs-CS often become the face of the company to their most valuable clients.

How is this Role Different from a Customer Success Manager?

Now that you have a glimpse of what a VP-CS does, let's compare it to the role of a CSM. As a CSM, your focus is on individual customer accounts. You're the boots on the ground, ensuring that each customer achieves their goals. However, as you transition to a VP-CS role, your perspective broadens:

Scope: Instead of one-on-one customer interactions, you'll oversee the broader customer success strategy, impacting multiple accounts.

Leadership: You'll shift from being an individual contributor to leading a team of CSMs.

Strategy: Your role becomes more strategic, involving long-term planning and decision-making.

Metrics: You'll be responsible for high-level metrics and KPIs, while CSMs deal with more granular data.

How to Transition from Customer Success Manager to VP of Customer Success:

Here are some actionable steps to help you bridge the gap and make a successful transition:

Master Your Craft: Continue to excel in your current CSM role. Your success there will lay the foundation for your next move.

Develop Leadership Skills: Seek opportunities to lead projects or mentor junior CSMs to hone your leadership abilities.

Learn Strategic Thinking: Take courses, attend workshops, or read books on strategic planning and management.

Network: Build relationships with other VPs-CS, seek mentors, and participate in customer success communities.

Communicate Your Aspirations: Let your manager and HR know about your career goals. They might provide guidance or opportunities within your current company.

Seek Feedback: Ask for feedback from peers, mentors, and supervisors to understand areas where you can improve.

Set Clear Goals: Create a roadmap for your career progression, setting milestones and deadlines.

Our Personal Opinion:

The journey from CSM to VP-CS may not be overnight. It requires dedication, continuous learning, and perseverance. But with the right mindset and a strategic approach, you can make that leap and thrive in your new role. Your path to VP-CS success begins with mastering your current role and gradually expanding your skills and responsibilities. Keep that momentum going, and you'll be well on your way to leading the customer success efforts of your organization. Good luck!

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