Customer Success Manager vs. Customer Success Engineer

Customer Success is all the rage these days and it’s growing very fast — check Google Trends right now and you’ll see a spike.

But you know what? There is still no real consensus on what customer success means on an organizational level.

The term “Customer Success” implies a successful customer, but what does this really mean?

That a customer is successful with your company and your product? That sounds about right. So, what else?

There’s a metaphor (which I am really taken with) that clarifies what a “customer success” mindset should be:

Customer Success is about treating your customer like trees, nurturing them until they begin to yield a harvest, and then husbanding them for as many seasons as possible.

- Guy Nirpaz and Fernando Pizarro in Farm Don’t Hunt: The Definitive Guide to Customer Success.

Because of this recent mindset, new roles are emerging in the workplace. Customer success teams are being created in companies to enhance and improve the customer lifecycle, and drive adoption, renewals, up-sell and advocacy. A Customer Success Manager (CSM) and Customer Success Engineer (CSE) are good examples of these new roles.

But just like every new trend, customer success is also challenging because it’s really hard to hire the right people for these roles. This is one of the reasons that I decided to write this post.

It’s difficult to say what are the skills and responsibilities of a typical Customer Success Engineer/Manager, because it is still a relatively new area and is an emerging field. All the same, let’s just delve into these personas — because you have to start somewhere.

• A Customer Success Manager is responsible for the entire customer journey.
• A Customer Success Engineer is responsible for the technical parts of the processes for the implementation of customer success. For example, customer onboarding (together with CSM), training, support and technical enablement.

CSM Roles
The CSM is the central point of contact from a post-sales perspective (but not necessarily the single point of contact). CSMs clearly understand the customers’ business objectives and collaborate with all internal stakeholders to exceed the customers’ expectations. They drive a positive customer experience across the entire lifecycle and ensure that customers maximize their ROI with your provided solutions.

CSE Roles
The CSE is a product expert, who possesses a strategic mind and is customer-service oriented. A CSE serves as a coach and trusted advisor during the implementation of technical solutions.

The Verdict
So at the end of the day, both personas interact with the customers virtually, but also represent a good customer relationship. Both these roles serve as the bridge that connects the company to the successful customer.


If you are addicted to building customer relationships, have strong skills for client interaction and possess an analytical mindset, then this is for you.

Apply now for Customer Success Manager

But if you have a strong technical skill set, combined with a great sense of customer interaction, then you can build a strong foundation for your career as a Customer Success Engineer

Apply now for Customer Success Engineer