Practical Customer Success Management:

A best practice framework for rapid generation of customer success



Customer success management as a profession is still in its infancy, and is growing and maturing rapidly. As it does so it will begin to develop its own language, best practices, tools and templates to help CSMs with being as effective and productive as possible.

This book sets out to further this process by providing just such best practices and tools in the form of the Practical CSM Framework. This framework takes readers through the entire end-to-end experience of engaging with and working with customers to help them realize their successes and in so doing help the CSM’s own company to attain its own successes through maximum renewals and expand opportunities.

The purpose of the book and the step by step processes it contains together with its free, downloadable tools and templates, is to enable CSMs of all experience levels to perform their role to a consistently high quality and in an effective and productive way.

Sample Pages

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What’s Inside

The first three chapters of this book set out the basic concepts of customer success management as a professional practice and explain for the reader what customer success management is all about, how it helps the company that the CSM works for and how it helps that company’s customers to realize more value from the products and services they purchase from that company. These initial chapters also explain how to prepare for the CSM role and how CSMs should go about managing their time, as well as explaining the role of research, analysis and planning within the context of customer success management and the critical path for CSMs to follow to maximize their effectiveness.

The major part of the book provides a detailed review of the Practical CSM Framework itself. Each phase within the framework gets its own chapter, which describes what happens within that phase, lists and explains the steps within it and provides recommendations and instructions for the best way of fulfilling each step. Additionally, a series of downloadable templates and checklists have been created to assist the CSM with their tasks, which are explained within the book and can be downloaded from the website.

The final chapter provides some concluding thoughts on how CSMs can best prepare themselves for their role and how they can avoid some of the most common customer success pitfalls and traps. The chapter also discusses how customer success fits within the overall concept of customer experience and concludes by providing some ideas around how the customer success management profession might evolve and adapt in the future.

As well as the book itself, readers get access to an entire suite of downloadable tools and template.

List of Contents

I wish a book like this existed when I started in Customer Success! I’ve been in the role for more than half of my career and I was impressed with the book’s vast coverage of the multiple facets and nuances of the Customer Success position. ‘Practical Customer Success Management’ is a great foundational book for learning the principles and applications of Customer Success and a good practical guide, well laid out enough to be easily referenceable and easily digested.

Cyn Taylor, Enterprise Customer Success Manager - LogicMonitor

As a relative newcomer to Customer Success, I have found this book to be an invaluable resource. Customer Success as a function within my organization is still in its infancy, and for that reason, there is much that remains to be built out and standardized. I feel as though we’ve done a good job of making the best with what we have, but I am someone that thrives when there is a structured roadmap to follow. That is precisely what this book offers, and does so with great detail. I found so many of the scenarios and examples to be extremely relatable, and the recommended processes highly applicable. I plan to implement Rick’s framework not only to my day-to-day activities, but also to serve as our Customer Success team’s playbook and guide

Dan Louks, Customer Success Manager - Hiring Solved

“Practical Customer Success Management” is unique from any other customer success management book I’ve read in that it bridges the gap between the theory of customer success and the reality of actually implementing a customer success program. The templates provide the jumpstart needed to either stand up a new framework or to bridge gaps in an existing framework. This is a welcome addition to my customer success library!

Theresa Campbell, Customer Experience Executive - Presidio

The growth of Customer Success as a corporate discipline has been remarkable and continues unabated. Rick’s excellent book is an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in Customer Success. Whether you are contemplating your first foray into Customer Success or are a seasoned executive, this book provides both the framework and practical guides to help ensure that you have the best-practice structures and processes in place for both today and the future

Adam Joseph, CEO - CSM Insight

In his book, Adams not only clarifies what customer success management is, but he also provides all the ingredients to create the right customer success strategy. If you need to implement customer success within your own company, or if you are a CSM who simply wants an authoritative guide to customer success management best practices then dive in!

Baptiste Debever , Head of Growth & Co Founder - Alkalab

This book contains so much common sense that my neck was getting tired from nodding my head in agreement so often. As you read the material, and especially if you’re a seasoned customer success professional, you immediately recognize that it was written by someone with many years of deep experience working with clients. And I think that’s where Rick Adams’ book is differentiated from most of the other customer success content that has been published. He’s clearly coming at this from years of customer leadership in real life scenarios, from the trenches in which it seems he was able to work with customers week by week to help them methodically advance in their ability to adopt more of a product or service in order to achieve their goals. And that’s what customer success is all about.

Peter Armaly, Senior Director Customer Success - Oracle

It is refreshing to see a book that articulates easy-to-follow concepts of customer success management using real-life examples on how to perform the role more effectively and efficiently. Adams’ style of writing is entertaining and very simple to digest, and what I particularly appreciated is the way in which he has broken down complex challenges and made them easy to understand for customer success managers to apply in everyday situations when serving their customers.

Samuel Parri, Global Success Manager and Senior Program Leader

This book provides a comprehensive review of the Customer Success role and responsibilities as distinctly different from overall customer experience and applicable to any business, not just SaaS. Onboarding, adoption planning, and adoption implementation are described in depth and there are immediately usable recommendations to execute each phase effectively.

Anne Marie Ponder, Senior Manager, IT Infrastucture - Astellas Pharma US

“Practical Customer Success Management” is a must read playbook for all business leaders and customer success-focused professionals. It imparts a solid grounding in what customer success is and why it is so important, whilst highlighting key challenges and how to respond to them. In addition it provides a detailed practical framework that explains both what to do and how to do it at every stage of the customer success engagement.

Jason Noble, Global Customer Success and SaaS Leader

A structured and logical approach that will help new and experienced CSMs to bridge the gap between Customer Success theory and practical application

James Scott, General Partner - Success Hacker
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Interview with the Author


Get Chapter One – An Overview of the Customer Success Manager’s Role – in its entirety in PDF format for free when you sign up for our monthly newsletter

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Bill Cushard from Helping Sells Radio interviews Rick Adams about his new book Practical Customer Success Management: A best practice framework for rapid generation of customer success. 

About the Author

Rick Adams is an independent author, trainer and consultant, specializing in helping technology companies deliver measurable business value for their customers. Adams has over 25 years’ experience of working in the IT industry, including owning his own startup software-as-a-service business which he sold in 2012 to focus on writing, training and consulting. Having delivering training and consultancy to many hundreds of businesses and thousands of technology professionals in over 30 countries across four continents, Adams is now based in the rural west coast of Ireland where he lives with his two dogs Zeus and Terri.

Adams’ recent work includes the development and delivery of a global certification program on customer success management for Cisco Systems Inc. His book titled ‘Practical Customer Success Management: A best practice framework for managers and professionals’ was recently published by Routledge and is available from Amazon and all other good book retailers. His current interests includes helping individuals and companies develop best practices in customer success management and in business outcomes focused selling.

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Customer success management is all about outcomes – outcomes for the customer and outcomes for the CSM’s own company. This book is also all about outcomes – outcomes for the CSM and for managers who set the customer success strategy, provide resources and lead the team. The outcomes that CSMs can expect from reading this book include a deeper understanding of the following:
  • The nature of customer success management and its role within a modern business
  • What skills, knowledge and experience the CSM needs in order to be effective in their role
  • The types of research, analysis, planning and action-taking activities that CSMs get involved in
  • The need for a customer success strategy and what should be in that strategy
  • The Practical CSM Framework, its benefits to the CSM and how CSMs can engage with it to maximize the quality and efficiency of their work
  • What the CSM should do to prepare themselves for engaging with a new customer initiative
  • Approaches to onboarding and the role of the CSM in ensuring that onboarding takes place and is relevant to each customer’s needs
  • How to engage with customer stakeholders and how to create meaningful stakeholder management plans and utilize those plans to develop high quality relationships
  • How to understand the customer’s business vision and strategy and how its business capabilities relate to that vision and strategy
  • How to help the customer to understand which users will be impacted by change and what those users’ needs are
  • How to help the customer to build an adoption roadmap that includes a communication strategy, a training plan and a user support package for all impacted users
  • The role of the CSM in helping customers to track and measure activity and to analyze and report on these measurements to show the value being realized
  • The role of the CSM in helping customers to identify and overcome adoption barriers and to deal with risks
  • How the CSM can develop their own knowledge, skills and experience over time to fully realize their potential as a highly competent and successful customer success professional

For senior leaders, there are two additional outcomes from reading this book:

Firstly they will have a complete, end-to-end, best practice framework for conducting customer success management-related activities, which they can either use as it is or adapt and customize to meet their own organization’s specific customer success-related requirements. Applying this framework of best practices across the team will enable consistency of both quality and productivity from all team members, ensuring your team delivers success every time.

Secondly they will gain an understanding from the book on how to create and develop a customer success team, how that team can integrate and work with colleagues from other departments, what resources that team will need to be able to fulfil their roles, how to set targets and activities for individual team members, how to measure team and individual CSM performance, and finally how to improve that team’s performance over time.

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