So a little while back we had a deep dive on just how much of a product expert your VP of Sales needs to be, and your sales team in general. More on that here. The bottom line is while views weren’t consistent, I can tell you VPs of Sales that don’t know the product close to cold … fail. They just plain fail in my experience.
I repeated the survey for CS, and found more what I’ve personally experienced — the CS team needs to know the product cold. And yet, so many seasoned VPs of CS and Chief Customer Officers actually … don’t agree.
Why not? Why do many CS leaders not view being a true product expert as being critical? Because many CS leaders view the job once you scale as primarily one of process.
That their job is to process customers, to attempt to drive NPS up (and these days, really more upsell up). By doing classic QBRs and jumping in when there are issues — but at scale, not necessarily by solving the issues themselves, but by grabbing other resources to solve these issues.
This does drive me nuts as a customer of SaaS products, when I talk to the CS team and especially the CS leadership of SaaS products at $50m-$200m+ ARR … and they literally not only have no idea how to solve my problem, but often don’t even fully understand it.
Still, it’s a reality. I don’t think you can expect most CS teams at scale to be product experts or problem solvers. More problem process managers.
But here’s my only point — don’t settle for a CS team that just focuses on “process” at least in the earlier days. And be very careful when you hire a Head of Customer Success from a Bigger SaaS Company.
Because they likely manage the process of problems — not actually solving them. Trust me here.
If you don’t, ask them to give you a rich, detailed demo. They probably can’t themselves.