Editor’s note: Janine Sneed is the Global Vice President of IBM Customer Success. Current job openings are posted online.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Unlike Software Sales and Services, Customer Success is a relatively new go to market function in the tech industry. While I’ve seen various claims on who founded Customer Success (Salesforce and Vantive), the premise has been consistent. Customer Success exists to ensure your customers are successfully using your products to achieve their business outcomes. Customer Success exploded once Cloud-based companies realized that they needed someone to take care of the customer post sales.
In subscription-based software business models, customers don’t “own” your software. Customer retention and revenue are not guaranteed. If companies are not delivering on the stated value proposition, it’s too easy for a customer to leave your platform. This is where the Customer Success Manager comes in.
Customer Success is realized through people, practices, and products. Customer Success Managers (CSM) drive adoption, expansion, retention, and advocacy of your products with your customers. They leverage practices and methodologies to execute their day to day. Practices include things like onboarding customers, usage workshops, MVP builds, and quarterly business reviews. CSMs help get your products adopted and used by your customers. If your customers are using and are happy, they are likely to stay and grow in their usage. It’s a win-win for your customer and for your business.
The CSM profession is on the rise. In 2019, LinkedIn stated that CSM was one of the top 10 (#6) fastest growing careers. With COVID-19, companies realized the importance of CSMs to retain customers which led to 91% of organizations globally growing their CSM teams in size over the last 12 months (Totango).
IBM is no stranger to Customer Success, as we’ve had a global Customer Success organization for a few years now. In 2021, we re-launched mission and organization to support our customers adopting the IBM Hybrid Cloud and AI Platform, with IBM Red Hat OpenShift as the cornerstone to our strategy. IBM CSMs are architects guiding the customers with roadmaps to deploy and adopt hybrid cloud. They identify use cases, build modern enterprise architectures, co-create MVPs with customers, and guide customers into production with business partners, IBM Expert Labs, and IBM Consulting teams. Once customers are deployed into production, IBM CSM Architects are proactively guiding usage so that customers get the full benefit of the solution to achieve their outcomes.
As we grow the IBM Customer Success team, we have a significant and vibrant CSM community right here in Research Triangle Park (RTP). There are a few points worth mentioning about IBM RTP that make it one of the greatest places in the US to work.
IBM RTP was established in 1965 and was the first major tenant in RTP. Fifty-six years later, it’s now the largest employer in RTP (per Triangle Business Journal) and is IBM’s largest employee site in North America. We have 2 campuses, 20 buildings and over 630,000 sq ft of agile working space for our teams to do their best work ever. In fact, our 500 complex renovation was selected the winner of the 2021 Triangle Business Journal Space Award for Top Interior Build-Out.
At IBM RTP, it’s not just about the work. It’s about the community and volunteering to make Raleigh one of the best places to live in the US. IBM RTP employees volunteer 20,000 hours annually and have donated up to $1.5M in the annual IBM Employee Charitable Contribution Campaign. We have more than 50 local IBM leaders sitting on non-profit boards to share their experience and expertise. IBMers answer the call when disasters hit. For example, we donated 4,200 N95 masks to UNC Health when the pandemic started. We provided office and warehouse space for FEMA NC Hurricane Relief.
IBM works with local universities to accelerate new innovation and research. NC State is the first university in North America to establish IBM Q Hub as part of the global IBM Q Network to advance quantum computing. We’ve also announced the investment of $100M in assets, technology, quantum education and resources to HBCUs across the US. NC AT&T, NC Central, and Fayetteville State University benefit from these initiatives.
The exciting part about all of this is that we are hiring IBM CSM Architects globally, including right here at IBM RTP. If you are a technical practitioner thinking about a career change or looking to relocate into the Triangle, I encourage you to take a look at our job description. For me personally, I moved to RTP 10 years ago with the intention of being here for 1 year. I loved the community, culture, opportunity, and quality of life so I stayed and never looked back. I’m part of a new IBM that puts customers, employee career growth, innovation, and diversity and inclusion at the center of everything we do. Check us out.
You could be part of the new IBM, too.
I’d love to hear from you.
About the author
Bold, passionate, and results driven, Janine Sneed is the Global Vice President of IBM Customer Success. A senior executive with a technical foundation, Janine applies her engineering mindset to solve customer and organizational goals. With extensive experience in leading high performing teams in product management, strategy, technical sales, and Customer Success, Janine has a proven track record of helping customers and IBM achieve their objectives through digital transformation. Janine is the founder and co-executive sponsor of GROW in IBM Hybrid Cloud, an initiative to support career growth, diversity and inclusion for the women in IBM.