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Partnering With Customer Success: A Practical Guide for Product Managers

Introduction

Amazing customer experiences are delivered at the intersection of product management and customer success & support. Product management relies on success and support to handle customer needs and report back news from the front lines. Success and support, meanwhile, need product management to advocate on their customers’ behalf on feature prioritization, bug fixes, and other product improvements. To make sure this key partnership is running smoothly, it can be necessary to perform an alignment check.

Below, we’ve reprinted a section of our recent publication, the “Product Manager’s Influence Map.” While the whole piece outlines the relationship between product management and each department in an organization, we’ve excerpted a section focusing on the interaction with customer success and support to call special attention to this important relationship. Read more to understand how an effective relationship between product and customer-facing teams can lead to greater product success.

Methodology & Definitions

We’ve identified eight key roles in the organization that product managers in nearly every company will interact with on a regular basis. Depending on the nature of the business and the market that the product is targeting, some of these functions might be more important or more impactful than others—for example, in a B2C business, the marketing team will have much more power and influence than in a B2B context, in which case sales might be one of the strongest driving forces in the organization.

  • Business Operations
  • Customer Success
  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Technical Support

You will note that C-level executives are not included in this list; we determined that the relationship between product management and these roles is unique and as a result falls outside of this model. We’ll describe that relationship separately.

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