CSMs are Change Leaders, No Matter if You Love it or Not


Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are change leaders, no matter if you embrace it or not. You are the face of your customers’ change; driving value-creating adoption, building user competencies and thinking about lifetime relationships. And that’s why CSMs should invest in being change leaders to drive customer success within their organization — at the very least they must be change-aware and able to set up the right conditions to enable this.

What does change leader mean?

Change leader is a broad and amorphous title. It means something different to each organization and team. The most common role of a change leader is that of Change Manager, whose job is to design, facilitate and implement business process changes. While one team might perceive change management as an opportunity for growth, another may see it as an onerous and frustrating task.

How do we collaborate with other departments?

When your customers’ success is essential to what you do as a CSM, collaboration with departments outside of customer success isn’t just a nice-to-have; it becomes a must. The challenge with defining your role can be that some people within your organization might view it differently than others. Asking for an accurate assessment of what kind of person will succeed in your job can help cut through some confusion about roles and responsibilities.

What should be my role as a change leader in achieving strategic goals?

Change leadership is a framework used to bring about positive change in your organization. There are different types of change such as disruptive (transforming what you do), incremental (adjusting how much and when you do things) and transformational (the end product is very different from what was done before). To successfully lead any type of organizational change effort, keep in mind that there must be a compelling reason for change – goal alignment.


Customer Success Managers and their organizations face many changes in their day-to-day work. How do they achieve value-creating adoption while scaling solutions to keep up with customer needs? This is a real challenge that is too often overlooked. Customer Success Managers are change leaders, whether they like it or not. Hopefully the reader got some quick tips that will help.