Over the last few months, we’ve shared tips and tricks around how to break into Customer Success. We’ve talked about where to start in your journey, how to leverage your domain experience, and ways to gain experience without being a CSM.
One other particular way to get into the mindset and understand the work of a CSM is by simply asking questions.
If you’re active on LinkedIn, you probably noticed we CSMs are a talkative bunch. And we love helping people. It’s our job of course.
So as you pursue your first SaaS role, it can be incredibly valuable to set up a few conversations with CSMs to gain insight into their work.
By doing so, you’ll:
This is often called an “Informational Interview” and it's a powerful tool.
The key to Customer Success is asking great questions and getting into the mindset of others so think of this as practice before you land your first CS job.
In this guide, you will find a list of questions that are relevant for any conversation you set up with a CSM.
Some of them are also good questions to ask a hiring manager when you hear the question: “Do you have any questions?”
Spoiler alert - you should always ask questions!
Research and identify the types of companies and CSMs you want to interview (SaaS, Cyber, Fintech, E-learning, etc).
After narrowing down the list - Do your due diligence.
🌟 Protip - Coming ready for the interview with an understanding of the company and domain will show you're serious about learning. Doing this research now will also serve you later when prepping for real interviews.
Ideally, you should target CSMs at the company where you want to work.
If this isn't possible, look for CSMs who work in the specific domain you are interested in. as mentioned above.
Either way, every informational interview helps!
Start building relationships with the people you want to interview by engaging with their posts on LinkedIn. Follow them and set alerts on their profile so you’re aware of when they post (see image below).
Begin to comment, ask questions, and show your curiosity. This will help make your direct outreach to them more personal and recognizable.
The key is to engage thoughtfully and aim to add value to the conversation. Your comments should stand out to the CSM!
When you’re ready to ask for the informational interview, reach out via LinkedIn or email.
You can use this template for sending a private message on LinkedIn:
Hi [CSM Name],
First I wanted to say thank you for all the great content you provide on LinkedIn. I have learned a lot from you, especially around [Add in personal examples]. Keep up the great work!
I’m on my own journey of transitioning from [Add your background] into Customer Success.
It would be a pleasure to connect with you and learn more about your experience in this field. My goal is to learn as much as I can about Customer Success best practices, but I have some additional questions.
Do you have time to jump on a 30-minute Zoom call with me? I would appreciate the chance to learn from you!
Tips for the meeting:
When you start the meeting - thank the CSM for making the time to meet you. Articulate again the reason for the meeting and ask if it's ok for you to go over the questions you prepared in advance.
Here are some examples of questions you can ask during the interview. Choose the ones that will most help you in your journey to becoming the next top CSM!
🌟 Protip: Start off with a question that's designed to break the ice. Don't go too deep, too fast!
Personal Experience and Knowledge:
After the call, reach out and thank them for their time. Often just a simple thank you is enough. If you can however, offer something in return.
Here is a template you can use:
Hi [CSM Name],
Thank you so much for meeting with me today. It was a pleasure to learn more about your role as a Customer Success Manager - I learned a lot!
What was most helpful to me when learning about...[Give an example here and how it will help you transition to CS].
Let me know if there is anything I can offer in return. It would be my pleasure to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you, post about our conversation and tag you, and/or endorse your skills. Let me know what you think is acceptable.
🌟 Protip: Keep records of your informational interviews, key takeaways, and trends in a centralized location like Google Docs or Notion.
There you have it. A simple way to gather inside knowledge of the Customer Success industry. If possible, try to set up one or two meetings a week.
The more you connect and learn from those who have done it, the more confident you will be about your decision to explore this exciting career path and your ability to rock your next interview.
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