Important Criteria for CSM Training w/ CSM Office Hours
Speaker 1: Welcome to the Gain Grow Retain podcast.
Jeff: Gain Grow Retain. You have Jeff here. Before we dive into the show today, we have some exciting news that we've been holding onto. As of this month, Gain Grow Retain is officially part of the HubSpot podcast network, and this becomes a really important milestone for our community and brings more validation to customer success. Something I love about the HubSpot podcast network is all the inspiring shows dedicated to helping professionals learn, grow, and scale their businesses. If you love Gain Grow Retain and want to check out other shows like us, I'm a big fan of My First Million, I Digress, and The Salesmen. Check out all these shows and more at hubspot. com/ podcastnetwork.
Oliver Plane: My name's Oliver Plane, I'm a customer success executive. I've been on a few of these sessions, so assumed everybody knew the drill, but welcome to the newcomers and welcome back to the old timers. Hopefully you had enough time to have a chat. Here actually, in the chat, you can actually go to this link and see the results of the survey. I see... inaudible you're in a car, so you probably won't be able to click on the link, not if you're driving.
Speaker 4: Not driving.
Oliver Plane: Okay, good. So, I'll share my screen as well, just so that we can see. Here we go. Let me click this down. All right, so probably you can see these. So, what criteria is important when choosing customer success training, and we'll discuss this in a bit more, but the top ranking was a certification type, it being a completion or exam, followed by cost, and then training accreditation. inaudible accreditation is quite a hot topic in the customer success training providers realm, and I might elaborate a bit on that at the end. But those were the top three: Experience of the inaudible, course instructor inaudible and training course format, inaudible letter, or self learning. Then of the 18 customer success training providers, the highest was Gainsite. They do offer training and so does SuccessCOACHING, which is I think with 11 in total. Cisco has a training. Amazon I don't think offer customer success, unless you tell me otherwise, I didn't see. Neither does Google. Neither does G2. They offer reviews on customer success training. And who else was put in there? The Customer Success Association doesn't either. It does accreditation. But all the others do. Cisco, Gainsite, Practical CSM, Gain Grow Retain don't, Growth Molecules provide FT works, Remit- Online, et cetera. I've written actually a report on this, which is now available on the Slack session. So, hopefully you see this. It's available in PDF format. And you can basically navigate around the document. It gives a comparison matrix of the different providers, the criteria, and then you'll see certification type, which was top of the list. What type of certification they provide. So Cisco is exam based, FT Works is a completion and so on. So you can scroll through this. Then the annual costs breakdown for all of them. And then keep on looking at... This is for instructor led specifically, annual costs. And then e- learning which was considerably less, obviously, if you were to attend an actual virtual classroom. And then, for every provider, I provide links to their social media, links to their courses, hopefully they're still up to date, this was produced in August, and a breakdown of the highlights. And this is for all the providers. And apart from Cisco, I talked to all of these folks. I couldn't find someone at Cisco. But anyway, it's available. It's on the Slack Gain Grow Retain, I've just posted it there. I'll send you a link to that. And you can navigate through, you can go back to the comparison slide and navigate to the actual providers by clicking on the icons here. So, if I want to see success coaching, it takes me to the actual summary slide and you can then go back and you can click on their LinkedIn profile, their Facebook, it's all there. So that's pretty cool, if anything. So yeah, feel free to download, I'll just put that in the chat. Where is it? I know, Stella, you're an ex- teacher, so this will resonate with you, right?
Stella: For sure. Zooming all day long. So inaudible applause to you for doing it.
Oliver Plane: Oh, wait, hang on. I keep on sending it just to Jeff. There we go. So there's the link. There's a ungated version to the PDF, which is on the Slack Gain Grow Retain. And there's a gated one where you get asked to put in your email. So whichever you're happy with, go and check it out. And spread the joy, spread the happiness, feel free to share it with others. It's also on the Customer Success Association. Michael put it up there as well. So, with that, back to the questions. And I don't know if you guys nominated any spokesperson for each room and if anybody wants to volunteer to take it away and find... Is training important is the first question. Anyone want to answer that? inaudible. Go ahead, David.
David Curry: Hi, I'm David Curry. I'm an enterprise CSM at Cybereason. So yeah, we definitely talked about the importance of certification within our group, right?
Oliver Plane: Yeah.
David Curry: Especially with the youngness of this career field, and in my experience, I've had four different roles in CS already, and I've seen certain feeder career fields that tend to lead in customer success. Insights inaudible, account managers, project managers, and then people want to recreate themselves, find a new career. That's where we think having that certification can help really all of the above scenarios with trying to get, not just a foundational set of knowledge, but really a certified credential behind them that shows that you understand base level what is you're talking about. That's going to help you get that foot in the door, possibly, with interviewers in other jobs. But you're still going to need to know how to do the job. It's one thing to know how like, yes, I know what an EBR is, I know what the acronym means, I know what ACB is and NR and all those other acronyms, but can you demonstrate that? That's where we talked about our flavor of choice for certification. We talked about success coaching. I think all three of us have gone through success coaching and found a lot of success with that. I think for us, it was because of the fact that: One, they were one of the first early adopters of customer success thought leadership. So, they were in the game early talking about that. Two, then they really branched out and became one of the first online platforms to do online training, as well as in- person training. And then from there inaudible built on to offer four different levels, they've gotten certified through a third party continuing education program. So, then they have that, you said that third party validation, It's enough for you to like, we're the best CS platform out there for certification. It's another, when another organization comes out there and says," They're certified, they'll legit, they're good to go." So crosstalk things for us and we looked at certifications.
Oliver Plane: I'm also one of those guys who's done maybe a career move, change. I'm an account manager. I've done customer success when it wasn't called customer success for years. And like you said, to me... I started a customer success journey and I'm looking for a job, still am, and what would give me the edge? That certification would give me an edge, maybe over somebody? And it would just validate to me things that I've done as an account manager and transition to a customer success manager. And you talk about talking the talk, David, but then there's walking the walk. So, being able to talk about the customer success acronyms and putting that into your journey that you've already had as an account manager, as a teacher, or whatever, in your job interviews. That's what I've been doing, and that's why I... Well, I've started the practical CSM training with Rick Adams. And what I wanted to look at was mainly cost. Cost was driving me... because I'm unemployed, I don't have too much of a budget. Then accreditation was important. Or certification type. Is it an exam or is it just an attendance? And I wanted to make it worthwhile, so an exam has more value. Thanks David, for sharing that. Did anybody want to add to that question is training important? Go ahead, Stella.
Stella: Thank you. As someone who's making the pivot as well, I think I would rank reviews in my top three. That's how I chose to cough up money to successHACKER, but I still haven't clicked on it yet. So, what I value is this: Chatting with people, that's how I learn, so that's why I joined Gain Grow Retain. In the group with, Risa and Kevin, we talked about how reading the discussion, reading the comments on those are huge. That's what I did. I looked at the top CS leaders and I would read Jay Nathan and Jeff's posts. I would read all of their comments. I would read all of their responses. And that's how I learned so much. Still room to grow, but literally just reading people's posts on LinkedIn. Marcus inaudible shout out, Donna Weber shout out, Ashna Patel shout out. Those are my gems, those are my people. So find your people, read everything they say.
Jeff: We wanted to take a minute, and if you haven't implemented a CRM system into your business now is the time. A CRM platform is at the heart of scaling your side hustle into your success story. CRM platforms take any customer interaction and transform that interaction into valuable data and insights, allowing you to strengthen relationships with your customers and grow your business. With tools for marketing sales, customer service, content management, and operations, the HubSpot CRM platform is fully customizable for whatever your business needs. Use HubSpot to meet customer demand, align your teams, and work smarter without slowing down. With total control in over 650 integrations, HubSpot is totally customizable and purpose built for businesses big and small. Whether you're just getting started or looking for all the bells and whistles, HubSpot is the number one CRM platform for scaling businesses. Learn more about how you can customize your CRM platform with HubSpot at hubspot. com. Now back to the show.
Oliver Plane: I agree. I know you're a big Marcus fan, Stella. We were on the same webinar last week and you even shouted that out in the comment. I've put a deck of... It's called Marcus's law. Named after Murphy's law. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but I find his stuff is really good and thought provoking. So Katya, you also had something to say.
Katya: I did, thank you. I also wanted to throw in there that you should keep in mind the context of the training. So, if you are a current CSM and you are at a product led growth company, Slack, Box, something that's really easy and intuitive to adopt, those are very different than the type of courses, or at least strategies, that you use for a platform as a service company, where adoption might not be that intuitive. Also consider where you are in your career stage, are you looking for leadership courses or are you looking for: How do I more strategically manage my inaudible business? And then lastly, don't shy away from industry certifications of the product that you are representing. So for me, as an example, I would get a lot more out of a PMI certification than I would of CSM level one certification. Not to say that one is better than the other, but where I am in my career and the conversations that I'm having in my inaudible business, project management, I'm leaning more heavily towards project management, management and PMI versus CSM level certifications. I do love successHACKERS' one- off courses. Highly recommend the change management course. It gave me a really good visibility into the universe of stakeholders. But I say all of that basically to say: Tailor it as much as you can based on your career level, trajectory, industry, or at the very least what kind of product you are representing. Is it a product led growth CSM function, or is it platform as a strategy?
Oliver Plane: Right, right. Very good points. Thanks Katya. Transitioning into customer success, I wanted to validate what I knew, so I had different motivations. But yeah, one of the points also in the report is: Do these providers offer additional training courses than just customer success management? Around leadership. And that is, exactly what you said Katya, depending where you are in your career path, would be relevant or not. Anyone want to add on any of the three questions?
Speaker 8: I'll go ahead. So we had a great group, Chris, Anu, and JT. I think we're probably al saying much of the same thing in a different way. But basically to touch on all three, we said, yes. Obviously really important for this continuous learning to keep up with the industry, to keep up with your network, and make sure that you're relevant when you're speaking to your customers. Chris and JT both touched on this, and I really liked it, they said that: It's hard to pinpoint what the training should be, what the criteria should be, because it's hard to pinpoint what a customer success manager does. Anu was pointing out that training with templates and samples, she was doing successHACKERS, which she said was great. Those are really helpful, but we all agreed that as you move through the content, you build this library or this repertoire of knowledge that you draw on as you gain different customers or as you move through. So, it might not be relevant at the time, but then as a crosstalk, a new problem comes up, you remember, I remember that I learned that and you can go back to it. And I really like that. That helps with continuous training, or different ways, so Chris was dealing with some change management, so different ways to go and approach a problem if a solution hasn't worked before. I think that's something to remember, as you're not going to train and immediately apply it. But all of this is so helpful to build on. And also just to understand what your customers are talking about and have that empathy and draw on when you need it.
Oliver Plane: I agree. It's all about being relevant to the customer and talking their language. Has anyone, once you've done your training, have you applied what you've learned in customer success in your daily jobs? I know a lot of these training providers provide templates around project management. I think I've seen... The Success League have put out already an Excel template where they have the different milestones that is expected. Have you ever used what you've learned in customer success in your daily job?
David Curry: We're in the process of revamping our CS program at Cybereason, and our senior leadership is huge fans of success coaching, and as such, they've built a success plan template very similar to the one provided by the guys over there. When they posted it, I'm like," I've seen this before."
Oliver Plane: Right. Okay. inaudible. Anyone else that want to share some of their-
Chris: inaudible I would say in theory, it's always good to implement right after you start doing the training. I think it helps solidify what you've learned. It doesn't always happen though. But I think that's where you actually see a quicker time to value, if you will, of the training is if you actually start trying to implement some of those steps right after you learn it so that you don't fall back into the same patterns or habits that you were doing before, and just stepping outside your comfort zone. It'll help you grow, it'll help you do develop. I always try to do at least... JT had made a point of finding gems within the courses, the training that we're doing and try to implement at least one of those things immediately, so that it actually sticks in your head. And then it's a continuous, positive momentum, if you will, to continue to start implementing new things.
Oliver Plane: That's great points. I can also relate, we did a course in one of my previous companies about powerful demos. One of the things that really struck out, like a gem, was you start off with just an ice breaker catcher in your presentation. Which is topical. And that was something. Of the 80% that was discussed, I only withheld maybe 20 and implemented maybe 10. But, that already is generally pretty good. But you're right there, totally. Thanks, Chris. Okay. Anyone want to add anything more? I think we're all in agreement that training is needed. And that we take away these specific gems and implementing them immediately is a great strategy to learn them and put them to use, and like you said, Chris, taking yourself outside your comfort zone. Because often, what you're learning training isn't necessarily what you're doing day to day and it requires a change. Great points. Thanks to everyone. If there's nothing else to add, I think that's that pretty much-
Katya: I did want to add one thing, because we talked about cost being a factor. If you currently are working with somebody, ask if they have a learning and development budget. And secondly, if they do not, offer up to work with your enablement team and say," Hey, I will take this course and I will work with enablement to standardize it and share it with the rest of the team. Is there an opportunity for coverage for me attending?" Those two tactics have worked in the past for me. Even if it's not a full reimbursement, it's partial. And it also helps you retain that information, because you know you have to teach it to somebody else after. inaudible that's my feedback.
Oliver Plane: Not specific to customer success management, but is part of inaudible of the customer's success journey is training your customer. We've delivered software, custom software, and then there's a need to train the customer on that software. So, it's not a standard Salesforce tool or whatever. Or an Oracle marketing tool, it's a custom built application. And then what we often did was: Train the trainer. So, have you found that's more useful than training a hundred people, but you maybe train 20 of those and they go out and then train their own?
Katya: I think that's best practice, at least in the Slack space, because you also don't want all of the end users flooding your ticketing portal. So, it's always best to train admins. But it's the same concept with your CSM team is if I take this course and I help my managers by upskilling the rest of the CSM team, I help my enablement team because I'm helping them build out this curriculum. It also gives you visibility into your organization. And hopefully they start seeing you as a thought leader within your org. So, that's why I recommend that if you go through these courses, paid out of pocket or sponsored, to share with the rest of your group, the rest of your CSM peers within your organization, because at the end of the day, it can only help.
Oliver Plane: Makes sense. Great. Okay. Well thank you very much. It's five minutes earlier, unless anyone else has to add anything. One thing, just before we drop, is a quick family photo. Please wave and I'll snap a screenshot, the usual. Thank you very much. Great. But yeah, anyone else want to share anything before we close?
Stella: I'll just say, I'll shout out BrainPOP. BrainPOP is amazing company, and every single teacher is in love with it. I don't know, but I can go on the record and say they probably have like 2% churn rate or less. And what inaudible them amazing is that their program is amazing for not only teachers, students get logins to it, so it has to be so user friendly that students can access it kindergarten until eighth grade and beyond. So that's amazing. And then they have certification programs, so you could be a BrainPOP expert, and then you go and champion it. And not too many people are doing that. So, if you're are in a company and they don't offer that, bring that up and you'll be a genius, because lots of these places do not do that. Let people be driving their own boat and not having to rely on you and having to go to all your trainings. I like to be in charge of my own learning, so how can you do that as best as you can inaudible?
Oliver Plane: Great. Okay. Thank you, Stella. I messed up my screenshot. We're going to have to do the wave again. So please, can you just do that for the show? Thank you very much. Okay. Let me just double check I got you all. Yeah. Come on. Paste. Oh man, no, no, no, no, no, no. Something's going wrong with my computer. So again, sorry. Do it again. Okay. There we go. I wasn't on the right screen. There we go. Perfect. Okay, folks, thank you very much. Thanks for coming today. Next week, it's me again hosting the session. And this time I'll talk about business value realization. So, hopefully another interesting topic for you all. Okay. Thank you. Have a great day. See you next week. All right.
Chris: Hey guys, thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the Gain Grow Retain podcast. If you liked what you heard, please take a moment and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues and subscribe. We really appreciate it. Talk to you soon.
This week we are discussing important criteria to consider for CSM training
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