Effectively managing a global and virtual Customer Success Team

Effectively managing a global and virtual Customer Success Team

Three (3) things you should know when handling a large CS Team

As the Customer Success organization matures, the role of a leader adopts. 

When a company grows, its culture changes. The previous “close and personal relationship” that works best in small teams won’t work anymore as it’s nearly impossible to form a deep connection with hundreds or thousands of people worldwide. In this virtual time, with the technology in our aid, Customer Success Leaders are managing Customer Success Managers where the only interaction may exist in online meetings.  

Three (3) things you should know when handling a large CS Team:

  • A consistend leadership need
  • Team culture should broaden and strengthen with growth
  • Investment in resources and training

However, the priority concern when handling a large Customer Success team is not the relationship but ensuring productivity and efficiency. Here are three (3) things you should know when running a large CS Team: 

1. A consistent leadership need 

Large or small, some things won’t change much even in CS Leadership, and one such thing is the role of KPIs. Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs) are essential data that indicate the team’s current status and identify the challenges we face within the group that requires intervention.  

While, in principle, it’s good practice to measure and analyze all of our activities, in reality, it is simply too difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to do so. It is instead, choosing which KPIs to focus on needs careful consideration. Consider what your company and customers value most and which activities your CS Team must perform to support the generation of that value. These are the activities to focus on building KPIs for first. 

Whatever you choose to measure, and however you choose to perform those measurements, try to be consistent in your approach. In other words, measure all CSMs using the same KPIs or as similar as possible. Rather than updating your methodology all the time, document your process and stay with it for sufficient time to build up meaningful data for comparative analysis. Let your team know what measurements are being taken and why those KPIs were selected. Better still, get them involved in helping to determine which KPIs to measure in the first place. 

2. Team culture should broaden and strengthen with growth 

As the company grows, some strategies won’t work anymore. It may not be easy to get the whole CS team together for a meeting or talk to every CSM personally and ask how they’re doing. It’s also important to consider the concept: “less culture fit, more culture add.”  

There’s an existing culture within a team, and one obvious tactic when hiring additional team members is to look for new hires who will “fit in” to that current culture. But when we hire people that only fit with what we already have, we will be left doing the same things in the same way as we have always done them, and we have not provided the opportunity for growth in our depth of experience. It leaves us with a narrow team with less diversity. 

Rather than selecting team members who mimic each other, select team members with a wide range of backgrounds, skills, and personalities that can complement each other. Understanding what your team lacks and hiring a person with precisely what you need to help compensate for your current team’s weaknesses is a better tactic than hiring for an existing cultural fit.    

3. Investment in resources and training 

One of the most apparent differences between large and small CS teams is the level of investment needed. A Customer Success team is naturally expensive, and salaries will be the largest cost, so as the team grows, the cost of running the CS team will increase proportionally.  

But it doesn’t stop at salaries. Larger CS teams will also require greater investments in infrastructure. This will most notably mean investing in IT tools that enable more prominent groups to collaborate, record, and share data. Once you get beyond the very smallest size, dedicated Customer Success software is strongly recommended to help manage, control and report on activity. Software requirements will continue to grow as the team grows.  

Once your team reaches a specific size and maturity, you may need to consider employing one or more “CS Ops” specialists, whose job is not so much to “do the work itself” but instead to support their colleagues by providing all of the right assets and resources that enable greater efficiency, productivity, and quality, and that also enable broader and more sophisticated ranges of tasks and activities to be taken on by the team as a whole. This includes the control and management of team data and the creation of frameworks, playbooks, and documented best practices. 

Finally, only the smallest of teams can get away without having a clearly documented and resourced training and certification strategy for the team. Remember that your greatest asset is your workforce; you need that workforce to be as knowledgeable and skilled as possible. As your CS team grows, you need to standardize methodologies equally; therefore, you must standardize how those methodologies are taught to your team and how your team is then coached and supported. Larger companies may well have the luxury of their training department. Still, even in these companies, it is unlikely that internal trainers have much experience in or knowledge about the relatively new topic of Customer Success Management. Third-party Customer Success training and certification specialists make a lot of sense for most CS teams to bring in once a critical size is reached in terms of both numbers of people and ranges of activities undertaken. 

Incidentally, Practical CSM offers instructor-led and online self-study training and certification specifically for Customer Success Teams. To organize a friendly, informal discussion about your training and certification requirements and the potential benefits of deploying a professional training program, and to find out more about what we offer, please click here: https://practicalcsm.com/checkup/. 


It is vital to have a consistent leadership need to maintain a culture of success within your company. The CS Team needs to know what they are working towards and how they will get there. This can be done by being a strong leader who can set the tone for the company and ensure that the Customer Success Team meets expectations. 

Learn more on how teams are targeted, measured, and evolve as CS organizations mature; Diversity and Culture: Its importance in hiring CSMs; and the Challenges and Joys of CS Team Management, Coaching, Mentoring, and Support with Rick Adams, the CEO and Founder of Practical CSM, and Matt Myszkowski, VP EMEA for CS Services at SAP, on their conversation Managing A Large Customer Success Team here: https://academy.practicalcsm.com/largea/. 

If you want to learn more about how to develop your skills further and become an even more effective leader with our CPD programs. Learn more here: https://practicalcsm.com/. 

Effectively managing a global and virtual Customer Success Team