Dave Kocher, Vice President of Customer Success at GE Digital, recently shared the top skills of a customer success professional. From a hiring perspective, Dave typically looks at five different levers or capabilities:
1. Project or program management
Do they have the ability to look at a complex problem, define a set of tasks, and come out with a recommendation or action plan?
2. Leadership and collaboration
Do they have the ability to collaborate with others – the EQ side of it? Can they drive to a common resolution in a way that does not create conflict?
3. Knowledge of the industry
Do they have depth in an industry they are hiring for? Do they have a background in and knowledge that will let them have an industry-specific conversation?
4. Knowledge of technology
Do they understand a SaaS business model? Do they understand the difference between software and services licensing? At GE, it has been difficult for customer success managers to make transitions if they are coming from a product or a hardware background and into software.
5. Understanding of the customer success function
Have they been a customer success manager or account manager before? Have they had commercial interactions that make them able to engage in those types of conversations?
Dave said that, if he found a person who had all five of these abilities at a top level, they would be a unicorn – they are few and far between.
Instead, his goal is for the team, as a composite, to possess all five capabilities. There are team members with greater strengths in each category so that they learn from and offset each other.