Top 10 Customer Success Tools for the Productive CSM

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    If you’re a Customer Success Manager, you’re probably suffering from TMT syndrome – Too Many Tasks! Using the right productivity tools can turbocharge account and customer relationship management today. Picking the right ones for meetings, communications, and time usage can help the working CSM get things done fast(er). This list will showcase the best tools CSMs should consider adopting.

    Related content: Read our guide to customer success strategy

    The Modern CSM – The Main Challenges

    The modern Customer Success Manager (CSM) needs to be on top of things at all times and still have enough time to invest in at-risk accounts, while also pursuing new growth opportunities. However, this key persona is facing multiple operational, professional, and business challenges today. Things can become overwhelming and counterproductive if not kept in check.

    Here are the three main challenges:

    • Too Many Accounts and Stakeholders – Performing daily tasks, crunching data, and tweaking the playbook is hard, but things can get confusing while scaling up. Not having the right set of tools can further complicate things.
    • Too Many Meetings – Having to deal with multiple accounts with a growing number of stakeholders means that there are more meetings to attend. Naturally, there are also schedule conflicts and cancellations in play.
    • Too Many Updates and Tweaks – Managing a CS schedule is not a linear process. Different use cases require different nurturing strategies and flexible communication patterns, while constantly creating new resources. 

    Customer success is becoming more and more data driven and complex. Executives, CSMs, and other post-sales pros need a well-orchestrated tech stack to get the job done. This list will focus on the day-to-day challenges mentioned above.

    Related content: Read our guide to scaling customer success

    Account and Stakeholder Management

    Even the best CSMs are human beings. Research has shown that people are incapable of maintaining more than four dozen relationships simultaneously. For example, manually managing 7 accounts with over 10 people in each of them can result in a burn out. Luckily, it’s 2022. There are plenty of tools to help mitigate those challenges and help CSMs expand their attention span and networking capabilities. 

    1. Gmail Organizer – Kanbanchi
      Other Options – Monday, Drag

    Emails are still the primary way we use to communicate with customers. How long are you spending on going over your inbox? 
    Kanbanchi transforms your email into a Kanban board, to help you make sense out of your email clutter. It’s a great supplementary tool that works seamlessly with Google Workspace and offers online project management capabilities, along with useful collaboration and task management and collaboration features. It offers a Gantt Chart, Kanban Board, and even a dedicated Time Tracker. You can visualize and monitor all tasks and workflows with the user-friendly project boards.

    Sounds like a superpower to me!

    • Pros: Great GSuite integration, Multiple visualization options, Good support 
    • Cons: Limited printing capabilities, Reports of bugs and performance issues
    • Pricing: Premium – $13.97/month, Pro – $33.97/month, Enterprise – $99.95/month, A free version with limited features is also available

    1. Relationship Mapping and Intelligence – Staircase AI

    As mentioned earlier, relationship and stakeholder changes within accounts are becoming more and more frequent. This is making CSMs invest more time in manually updating the details and breaking down the hierarchy fluctuations. But what if it was possible to automate this whole process and get a 360 view of all changes visually? The good news is that you can do so with Staircase AI.

    You can see all the relationships between your stakeholders and your internal team, and enforce stakeholder KPIs to keep the flame burning with your customers.  

    Relationship Heatmaps / Staircase AI
    • Pros: AI-powered technology, Centralized dashboard, Generative AI email assistant
    • Cons: Relatively new offering, Documentation is work in progress

    1. Time Management – Toggl
      Other Options – Instagantt, Timely

    Like most B2B jobs, CSMs have peak times when customers need to renew their subscriptions or when new features are being launched. This means that every minute counts. Time management tools like Toggl help achieve optimal efficiency by helping with project planning, team collaboration, and lead management. Balancing workloads during stressful workdays can become a true gamechanger.

    • Pros: Intuitive UI, User friendly solution, Detailed reporting, Focus on collaboration
    • Cons: Free version is extremely limited, No ability to choose time periods 
    • Pricing: Starter – $10/month/user, Premium – $20/month/user, A free version with limited features is also available

    Meeting Management Tools

    How many meetings does a CSM have a day? Anywhere between 8-15 meetings, a part of every CSMs KPIs. Once you are on top of your accounts and stakeholders, you will need to create an airtight pipeline of meetings and direct communications with them. Confusion, lack of clarity, and scheduling mixups can lead to negative sentiment that can frustrate customers and make you look unprofessional. 

    That’s why it’s highly recommended to get the following meeting management tools into your stack before it’s too late, literally. 

    1. Meeting Scheduler – Calendly 
      Other Options – Sprintful, Zeeg, HubSpot

    We are going with Calendly because it has been around for a while and offers a dedicated solution for CSMs and CS teams. This automated scheduling tool helps customers pick their desired time, while also eliminating the manual aspect altogether. There are also more advanced features like group session scheduling and sharing of resources to make every meeting count. Simplicity is key.

    You will never be able to live without a meeting scheduler once you start using one.

    • Pros: User-friendly solution for all sides involved, One-click usability, Seamless integration and sync with popular email solutions, Strong support
    • Cons: Integration issues with Google Meet, Meeting links are public/open to all
    • Pricing: Essentials – $8/month/seat, Professionals – $12/month/seat, Teams – $16/month/seat, Custom pricing available for enterprise customers

    1. Time Zone Sync Tool – TSW
      Other Options – Spacetime, World Chat Clock

    The B2B world is now one big centralized marketplace. This means that you can have one account in Tokyo, with others scattered all across Europe and the United States. While this gives more growth opportunities, the time differences between the locations can lead to unfortunate mix ups. The same applies to companies with branches in different continents. Timezone Sync Widget will eliminate all confusion.

    • Pros: Straightforward interface, Quick implementation, One-click sharable links
    • Cons: No real support or documentation
    • Pricing: Free

    1. Meeting Summary Tool – Fireflies AI
      Other Options – Tactiq, MeetingSense

    AI technologies are taking over the B2B space and this is becoming evident even in the notetaking aspect of things. Fireflies AI is a great tool to record, transcribe, document, and summarize your video meetings and phone calls. This allows the maximizing of data harvesting from your communication channels and better understanding of what really happened while interacting with the customers. 

    • Pros: Strong integration capabilities with Slack, Zoom, and more, Good support team, Good visibility and strong data sharing features
    • Cons: May require training due to complex UI, Some transcription inconsistencies
    • Pricing: Pro – $10/month, Business – $19/month, Enterprise – Contact the team,  A free version with limited features is also available
    1. Time Optimization Solution – Time Doctor
      Other Options – Rescue Time, TimeCamp

    Time Doctor is another solution that helps CSMs make the most of their time. It tracks the time spent on the various tasks and provides a comprehensive breakdown of each working day so you can optimize your activity. All insights are provided on a centralized dashboard for maximum visibility, optimized productivity, and also to also boost cross-department efforts. This tool is even more useful with remote and hybrid teams in action.

    • Pros: Good monitoring capabilities, Strong integration with third-parties, Good reporting functionality, Mobile-friendly, Good for hybrid/remote workforces
    • Cons: Setup is complex, UI can be overwhelming initially
    • Pricing: Basic – $7/month/user, Standard – $10/month/user, Premium – $20/month/user, There is no free version
    1. Collaboration and Productivity –
      Other Options – Miro, Groupboard, IdeaFlip

    Mind mapping, brainstorming, strategy planning, playbook adjustments, and team calls are key elements in any customer success team today. CSMs can use Weje to do just that, regardless of the work setup they are currently in. Hybrid teams, remote post-sales professionals, and business executives – all can collaborate with the help of this intuitive, straightforward, and user-friendly workspace.

    • Pros: Quick installation, Intuitive interface, Drag-and-drop usability, Fast performance
    • Cons: Limited mobile functionality, Iffy user management Pricing: Personal – $5/month, Business – $9/month, There is a free version

    Education and Nurturing Management

    CSMs always need to be on top of their game, follow the latest market trends, and educate their customers about how to get the most out of the product they are using. This to be done while tracking resolved tickets, churn rates, upselling opportunities, and more. Unfortunately, they often need to create the resources on their own, which is extremely time-consuming and a known productivity-killer. 

    1. Video Recording – Loom
      Other Options – Clip, Soapbox

    Have you had something you wanted to simply show a customer, without all the fuzz of booking a 15-30 minutes call? You can use tools like Loom to quickly record a personal clip of seconds to minutes and shoot a link to your customer.

    Loom is a SaaS solution that essentially minimizes the need to edit and convert videos for post-sales purposes. You can capture videos of the content playing on your screen or record short snippets via your camera to use it for educational purposes. Besides the obvious customer success uses, these videos can also be used for internal purposes like training and onboarding of new CS workers.

    • Pros: Engaging and intuitive UI, Extremely mobile-friendly, Great collab and sharing features for hybrid or remote work settings, Good integrations with third-parties
    • Cons: No provision for live recordings,  Limited video editing capabilities
    • Pricing: Starter – Free (1 User), Business – $12.50 (1 User), Enterprise – Contact the team
    1. Knowledgebases and FAQs – Document360
      Other Options – HelpSite, Kipwise

    Knowledgebases tend to be cumbersome to use and cease to become dependable solutions for educational purposes. Document360 is helping change that with its mobile-friendly and self-served support center functionality that can contain technical docs, tutorials, SOPs, FAQs, and much more. Styling and customization options are also available to make customers feel at home.

    • Pros: User-friendly solution, Strong customer support, Lots of integrations, Snippets and Glossary features boost engagement, Aggressive product roadmap  
    • Cons: Pricing may not suit startups and SMBs, Formatting/customization limitationsPricing: Standard – $149/3 team accounts/month, Professional – $299/5 team accounts/month, Business – $399/5 team accounts/month, Free trial offered

    Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget Your Mental Health

    We can’t possibly conclude this article without addressing another key issue – your mental well being. Possessing the right mindset, maintaining a positive vibe with colleagues, and projecting a constructive attitude with customers in today’s hectic workplaces is not easy. The stress that comes with scaling up and growing can take its toll. But tools like Calm or Othership can surely help you stay a CSM rockstar. 

    Taking care of yourself is key to taking care of others! 

    All in all, having all these tools in your arsenal should allow you to automate multiple manual processes, become more organized with your daily schedule, and be more transparent, things that will significantly improve your book of business.

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