The Third Installment
Strikedeck presented the third installment of its NextGen CSM Webinar series with “How to Ace the Customer Success Manager Interview”. The webinar dealt with the major considerations for succeeding in CSM interviews.
Paul Reeves, the Vice President of Customer Success at TokBox (a happy Strikedeck customer!) was the main presenter. Paul has conducted numerous job interviews to hire employees as part of his current and former roles, and has accumulated a treasure-trove of insights. He is passionate about helping CSM community with these insights, and this webinar was a perfect forum for this.
Jeff Lowenstein, Strikedeck’s enterprise Sales executive (me!) and self-professed “Champion of CSMs” moderated the webinar.
The Interview Process is the Test
Paul’s main message to the audience was that the “Interview Process is the Test” for CSM’s because it aligns well with what is expected from CSM role. This starts with understanding customer needs and values (i.e. understand your potential employer). Jeff went on to outline three other points that shows how performing well in the interview portends well for succeeding as CSM.
The presentation was divided along three major phases of the interview process – Preparing, Engaging, and Following-up.
Preparing for the Interview
Preparing for interview is the most important, and thus most time-consuming part. Paul said preparing for interview starts “yesterday”. This would include creating an appealing LinkedIn profile with a professional photo and testimonials. The preparing phase includes doing research on the company, as well as the interviewers (especially the hiring manager).
The ‘Engaging’ Phase
The “Engaging” phase of the interview is where most of your preparation efforts will pay off. A good CSM will be proactive, anticipating questions, and having thoughtful answers. The most important skill at this phase, per Paul, is to listen, which also happens to be a key skill for CSMs.
The final section of the presentation was on the importance of follow-up, and how to do it properly.
Q & A
After the presentation, there was a lively Q & A session in which attendees asked interesting questions such as “How does one break into Customer Success from other fields?” and “How often CSM should switch jobs?”. Paul and Jeff gave insightful answers to these questions.