As a member of the pre-sales team, closing another successful deal for GitLab, it is important to pave the way for the CSM. A successful CSM introduction is a critical step in the customer lifecycle. An effective CSM introduction will lead to customer excitement about the product and increase the CSM's credibility as they assist the customer through onboarding, implementation, and adoption.
Please review this course on Introducing the Customer Success Manager.
Not all accounts qualify for a CSM or CSE. Please view this internal wiki page with ARR thresholds by sales segment to determine if your account qualifies for either a CSM or Scale CSE.
To determine if an account already has a CSM assigned, go to the Salesforce account page, scroll to the
Customer Success section, and see if there is an entry for
Customer Success Manager (this should be right below the Solutions Architect). If a person is listed there, they are the CSM and you can reach out to them about the account. If
TAM Scale is listed instead of a person, that means that the account is supported by a Scale CSE. To get a Scale CSE engaged with the account, please reference this handbook page on how to request engagement.
If you have questions about CSM alignment (either for existing or newly-qualifying customers), please reach out to the CSM Manager supporting that region (see this handbook page for details).
If a customer will be on Dedicated, the account team should notify the CSM Manager they work with and familiarize themselves with the best practices for engaging CSMs for Dedicated Customers to get them engaged during the pre-sales process.
|Who coordinates the CSM introduction?||Account Executive||Solutions Architect|
|When does the introduction happen?||
|Why does the introduction happen at this stage?||Since assignments are multifaceted, a CSM/CSM manager typically needs to make the assignment. This is triggered automatically on
||Introduce the CSM when business value discussions are still being had within the account, allowing them to build relationships with the key strategic decision-makers and help the customer visualize their implementation journey. This sets the CSM up for continued engagement at the right level within the account.|
|How does the introduction get scheduled?||SA/AE will send an introduction email to the customer team or schedule a "Welcome to GitLab" call.||SA will schedule a "Welcome to GitLab" call with the customer team, after having synced internally with the full account team (inc. CSM)|
|Where can the CSM access account information?||- Custom Pitch Deck
- Command Plan
- POV (when applicable)
- Customer Strategy/Value Plan
|- Customer Meeting Notes Doc
- Command Plan
- Account Plan
- Customer Strategy/Value Plan
In enterprise deals we want to introduce the CSM to the customer while they are still a prospect nearing the end of stage
3-Technical Evaluation or when transitioning to
This is a great time to introduce the CSM to the decision-makers and key stakeholders, while the SA still has regular contact and a close working relationship. These business counterparts aren't usually involved in future cadence calls, so fostering that relationship early helps CSMs to engage with the stakeholders in the business that are best positioned to help drive adoption, build a successful goals-oriented partnership and ultimately, lead to improved success planning, EBRs, etc.
Additionally, CSM engagement can be requested earlier in stage
3-Technical Evaluation (but not before) in the following situations:
In order to ensure the CSM workload is distributed effectively, SAs should reach out to the relevant CSM Manager in their region to request a CSM to be assigned to the account. As part of this process, SAs should provide at least the following information:
After a CSM is assigned by the manager, the SA should arrange an internal account team meeting.
In preparation for transitioning the account to post-sales, the CSM should schedule a meeting with the entire account team to review details about the customer and the success plan. The account team should use the following questions to review details, and define the next steps near-, medium-, and long-term for the customer adoption journey:
Agenda for the meeting:
If the Solutions Architect has created a collaboration project, the account team should review it together, and ensure that
readme.md details and issues are up to date.
Following the internal account team meeting, the SA should set up a CSM introduction meeting with the customer. When arranging this meeting, the SA can provide the customer with a high-level overview of the CSM role, and what the CSM engagement might look like going forward. However, the SA (and SAE) should refrain from making any statements on behalf of the CSM, as to what activities they will do.
Prior to the customer meeting, the CSM should work with the SA to prepare the CSM program overview deck & Customer Strategy Plan Summary-Page to be presented as part of the introduction client meeting. This will be starting point of the CSM's relationship with the customer, and it's important to convey what the CSM's role is, the CSM's understanding of the customer's initiative's and mutually agreed upon timeline(s), and the general expectations from both sides moving forward.
While the opportunity progresses through commercial discussions, the CSM should engage with the SA where appropriate, in order to maintain the relationships with the strategic personnel and decision makers within the organisation.
Once the opportunity moves stage to
Closed Won the CSM should schedule the kickoff meeting with the customer to go into more detail about the customer's objectives and the CSM program. Please review the details for the CSM kickoff call to learn more about how to conduct this meeting.
Now that the account is in post-sales, the CSM takes primary responsibility for guidance & best practices conversations, customer enablement, and product usage. Most responsibilities of the SAE & SA will transition to the CSM at this point.
During customer onboarding, the SA may choose to stay engaged with the customer to help facilitate a seamless introduction and address any ongoing activities from the POV. This should be done in such a way as to allow the CSM to take over those activities, so all conversations with the customer on these items should include the CSM.
Once the account is fully transitioned to post-sales, the SA may be invited by the CSM to re-engage under certain circumstances.
A successful transition happens when a customer does not have to repeat themselves in regards to their technical environment and goals they have in mind with leveraging GitLab.
In commercial deals the CSM ought to be introduced at time of assignment which occurs after the deal moves to
Closed Won. For opportunities where the CSM assignment is known or there has been an in-depth technical evaluation, it is encouraged to engage the CSM team earlier in the sales life cycle so that the technical requirements can be seamlessly brought over from the pre-sales and into the post-sales technical motions.
The collective account team (AE / SA (when assigned) / CSM) should organize an internal sync to properly handover any technical details of the customer. The goal of this meeting is to give the CSM enough context to engage with the customer without them having to re-hash their current state and near-term desired state with GitLab.
At the conclusion of the pre-sales engagement, the Account Executive should set up an introduction to the CSM, provide the customer an overview of the CSM role, position the CSM as the primary success manager to help the customer achieve their positive business outcomes as identified in the Command Plan.
The AE/SA will need to ensure that Command Plan and Pitch Deck (R7) are complete before scheduling an internal transition meeting to brief the CSM. AE/SA will then introduce the CSM via email.
From this initial introduction, the CSM should schedule the kickoff meeting with the customer to go into more detail about the customer's objectives and the CSM program. Please review the details for the CSM kickoff call to learn more about how to conduct this meeting.
Once the account is in post-sales, the CSM takes primary responsibility for guidance & best practices conversations, customer enablement, and product usage. Most responsibilities of the AE & SA will transition to the CSM at this point.
During customer onboarding, the SA may choose to stay engaged with the customer to help facilitate a seamless introduction and address any ongoing activities from the Customer Strategy Plan. This should be done in such a way as to allow the CSM to take over those activities, so all conversations with the customer on these items should include the CSM.
Once the account is fully transitioned to post-sales, the SA may be invited by the CSM for the following activities:
The SA may also be involved, as needed and at the discretion of the SA & their manager, to support customer enablement, EBR delivery, product demo, or other customer-facing activities for which the CSM may ask for assistance.
Common to both Enterprise and Commercial activity, there are instances where the CSM will need to reengage the SAE/AE and SA. Here are a few examples of customer requests the CSM can listen for in order to reengage them:
us-public-sector parent project for all public sector work
account-management parent project for account-specific work and collaboration with the rest of the sales
customer-success parent project for Customer Success employee, shared or triage work