How Many Accounts Should A Customer Success Manager (CSM) Have?

What’s the golden ratio when it comes to customer success managers and client accounts? We break it down in this post.
Published on: Nov 28, 2023
Last updated: Jan 25, 2024

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Being a Customer Success Manager is no cakewalk.

You've got a flock of accounts relying on you to help them squeeze every last drop of value from your products. Mess things up, and those revenue streams might just dry up quicker than the Sahara.

Talk about pressure, right?

That said, on the other side of the coin, what if you nail that customer success and have the resources and setup to give those customers exactly what they want?

Well, you'll be seeing bigger smiles than a laugh track on TV, along with rising renewal rates and loyalty for the long haul.

Customer success essentially goes hand-in-hand with business success.

But this begs the question—just how many accounts should you handle before things go off the rails?

Take on too many, and you risk leaving customers feeling lost, confused, and even ignored. Too few, and your company's growth could stagnate faster than a hot air balloon with holes.

In this guide, we'll explore what the golden number might be.

One tip: analysts suggest companies who ramp up their customer success see increased revenue of 8% compared with their competition, and companies earning $1 billion annually see an increase of $700 million within three years of investing in their customer experience.

TLDR: A lot rides on the experience your customer success managers provide, and this stuff matters big time!

Let's get into this.

How Many Accounts Should a CSM Have?

Being a Customer Success Manager (CSM) means walking a tightrope.

On one hand, you need to deliver white-glove service to each and every client to drive adoption, retention, and growth. But take on too hefty of a client load, and that quality care can start slipping through the cracks.

So, what does the "just right" number of accounts look like for CSMs to balance successfully?

Well, the sweet spot of how many accounts should an account manager have, depends on a few key factors, the main being revenue.

Client Revenue

Bigger revenue accounts warrant closer nurturing to maximize value and prevent churn. As a rule of thumb:

  • Less than $25k: Up to 200 accounts. The smallest fish need basic tending but allow wide bandwidth.
  • $25k to $100k: 100-150 accounts. Mid-market accounts require greater focus to grow renewal rates.
  • $100 to $500k: 50-100 accounts. For these high-value accounts, dedicate time to understand pain points and focus on upselling value.
  • Over $500K: 20-50 whale accounts. Big clientele needs concierge-level attention, restricting account capacity. Prioritize VIP treatment.

While these figures offer helpful baselines, the ideal client load considers deal complexity, industry norms, tools leveraged, and CSM responsibilities, too.

Assign accounts methodically based on revenue, needs, and efficiency strategies. Avoid overpacking schedules, and continuously refine for peak account support.

Let's break this down a little further with some key considerations:

One Size Doesn't Fit All

While the client revenue metrics provide a handy starting point for shaping capacity, the ideal account load depends on several other elements.

Deal and Industry Complexity

Not all clients require the same level of hand-holding. SaaS products may be simple self-serve platforms, while regulated sectors like financial services need extensive CSM guidance for navigation and compliance.

Scope out complexity levels when mapping accounts to maximize individual bandwidth.

Tools and Technology

Employing solutions like cobrowsing, which enables remote screen sharing and control, helps CSMs resolve issues faster.

Rather than lengthy emails or calls, cobrowsing allows CSMs to fix problems live by viewing and interacting with user screens. Leveraging the right tech is key for quality support and success at scale.

CSM Responsibilities

For CSMs juggling account management alongside other duties like sales, onboarding, or renewals, capacity shrinks. Cross-functional obligations divide focus. Streamline responsibilities with specialized CSM roles for higher productivity.

While benchmarks help set expectations, regularly analyze workloads and refine assignments to fit both company goals and CSM capacities. Avoid overfilled plates, leverage efficiencies, and ensure customers feel heard, helped, and happy!

Tips For Ensuring a Customer Success Manager Has the Right Number of Accounts

Ensuring Customer Success Managers have just the right number of accounts requires carefully balancing quality service and capacity. Follow these best practices for getting the recipe right:

Size Up Accounts Wisely

Factor in deal complexity and customer revenue when assigning accounts. More demanding enterprise clients warrant dedicated nurturing from CSMs so they don't feel neglected.

Additionally, the more convoluted your sales and customer experience processes are, the more complex they are, the more attention is needed to ensure everything runs smoothly and all issues are met.

With this in mind, focus on either simplifying your process or assigning fewer accounts to your customer success managers.

Understand Industry Benchmarks

Regulated sectors like financial services often necessitate closer guidance for navigation and compliance. Shape assignments based on typical support levels for the industry.

Master Time Management

Efficient scheduling, prioritization of tasks, and organization can help CSMs maximize productivity. Techniques like time blocking prevent getting overwhelmed.

Implement Efficiency Tools

Solutions like Fullview with cobrowsing, session recordings, and integrated data help CSMs bolster support and handle more accounts. Identify and leverage the right technologies.

Review Ongoing Workloads

Regularly analyze CSM capacity and satisfaction levels. Are clients getting quality time and attention? Or is the CSM overloaded? Rebalance assignments accordingly.

By methodically allocating accounts, maximizing efficiencies, and continuously optimizing workloads, CSMs can deliver white-glove service at scale. Satisfied customers lead to higher loyalty, retention, and revenue over the long haul.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Customer Success Managers must strike the right chord between quality support and account capacity. Consider core factors like client revenue, deal complexity, tools leveraged, and responsibilities when balancing your playlist.

Resist simply overload accounts based on arbitrary numbers. Instead, methodically assign, analyze workloads, streamline where possible, and continuously refine the rhythm.

When CSMs find that sweet spot, both customer retention and company growth hit the high notes.

And if you're looking for a cutting-edge platform to help amplify your customer success efforts, be sure to check out Fullview.

Our all-in-one solution delivers cobrowsing, session replays, and integrated data to help you better understand customers, identify issues quicker, and resolve problems faster.

The right tools make a world of difference for delivering five-star service at scale.

See for yourself - experience the power of Fullview today!

Sources used:

Sources last checked: 28-Nov-2023

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