Digital Customer Success – There is a Problem!
By Alan Fecamp. Alan is a Director in Zeren’s Commercial team, specialising in placing Customer Success and Post Sale roles into high-growth tech businesses.
Scale Customer Success, Tech Touch, Low Touch, or Digital Customer Success is a hot topic and is now seen as a critical component of a successful CS strategy.
My tuppence worth her, Digital Customer Success is the correct terminology in my opinion.
My feed is full of debate around how to best apply a great Digital strategy to your business and it seems to be at the forefront of how best to navigate the market challenges in 2023.
On the surface, it seems that companies are finally embracing Digital CS across all customer segments, where it was previously viewed as a strategy to engage high volumes of low-value customers.
There is no doubt there has also been an uptick in demand from clients looking to hire a CS leader dedicated to implementing a plan for all customers, and not just SMBs.
But there is a problem!
The skills required and the roles within a Digital team are NOT the same as a typical CSM function and there is a clear shortage of specialist Digital CS skills in the UK and European markets.
Job roles are becoming increasingly more nuanced as CS functions drive for operational efficiency across the customer journey, leading to more emphasis being placed on hiring ops, and at-scale skillsets.
However, experienced candidates within the UK are in extremely short supply.
Dig into the data, and you’ll only find 151 UK-based profiles on LinkedIn where Digital Customer Success activities specifically feature on their profiles. Ever. At all levels.
Dig in further, and you’ll see many folks have “progressed” from being in a scale role to more traditional CSM roles, confirming the thinking around the role being viewed as a poor relative.
Plus, there has been a 46% increase in live roles being advertised over the last 12 months. Impressive growth despite the economic backdrop.
There are very few profiles amongst this number you would consider a Digital CS leader capable of building and executing a dedicated companywide strategy.
Combine this with how Digital CS has previously been perceived in the market, often as a role in isolation purely focused on low ACV customers, and not as valuable as your high touch enterprise team, it’s not always easy to attract the best of breed candidates into such a strategically important role.
However, this does not mean there aren’t highly experienced Customer Success leaders who are more than capable and experienced in executing Digital CS strategies.
Not all CS folk will clearly outline Digital CS skills on a profile or CV – for many, it’s just part of their overall strategy and will be baked into their playbook and doesn’t need to be separately identified.
So, what should you consider when looking to hire this type of role:
- Look for backgrounds where you know the Customer Team has high numbers of customers to manage in a mature CS organisation. There is a higher probability there will be some level of digital customer engagement where customers are in the high hundreds or even thousands.
- PLG companies have a larger pool of Digital CS candidates – the customer motion lends itself to harnessing this approach better than other sectors to date. If you operate a Remote working policy, this could be a great strategy to secure top talent as most are based in Dublin : )
- Consider the core skillsets required to perform the role. The data shows that the top skills listed amongst the 151 profiles are Customer Success, Digital Marketing, Data Analysis, and CRM Management. A great reflection of what you’ll need day to day to perform the role.
- Think about the state of your current motion. Is there any activity? Or will this hire need to build from scratch including customer journey mapping, fixing data problems, setting up tooling, and possibly building a team? That’s a big list of requirements. This will take a strong operational skillset and a background in RevOps, Sales Operations, CS Ops, or even broader operational roles in a previous life work brilliantly.
- Consider what title you’re using when promoting your role. The core predominant title with small variations is Digital Customer Success. Avoid using Tech Touch, Low Touch, or Scale. That feels somewhat out of touch with where we’re at.
These are just a few solutions to a growing bottleneck in the market.
If you would like to discuss how Zeren is helping clients to overcome these types of challenges to build world-class Customer Success teams, we’d love to chat.
Please reach out on LinkedIn or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org