Customer Success Attitudes to Training, Certification & CPD 2020/2021 Report


Author: Rick Adams, Peter Armaly, Scott Morgan
Year: 2021
Pages: 145
Publisher: Practical CSM Publications
Format: eBook PDF

SKU: CSAT21 Category:


This report is the result of a 6 month survey conducted between September 2020 and February 2021, followed by detailed analysis and report writing which took place between March and June 2021.

The survey was open to all CS Leaders and a wide variety of questions were asked to obtain both a broad and deep understanding of existing relationships between CS teams and training, certification and continuing professional development (CPD). The analysis and reporting was conducted by three industry and business experts with over 50 years of industry knowledge and experience between them.


  • Client Success
  • PIE
  • Dasteel Consulting
  • Experience Investigators
  • Custify
  • Churn Zero
  • Gainsight
  • CSM Practice
  • Totango
  • InSided


  • Thank You to Our Sponsors
  • Introduction
  • About the Authors
  • About Practical CSM
  • Foreword: Jeb Dasteel
  • Foreword: Jeannie Walters, CCXP
  • Survey Findings
    • SUMMARY: Overview of the major findings presented in more detail below
    • ONE: Current Workload and Change Levels are Unsustainable
    • TWO: Lack of Experience and/or Maturity Creates Service Delivery Problems
    • THREE: The CS Profession Lacks Clear Expectations and Goals
    • FOUR: Representation at Senior Level is Critical
    • FIVE: Standardization is an Enabler of Professionalism
    • SIX: Onboarding and Adoption are Handled Differently by Larger Players
    • CONCLUSION: Investment is Needed in Training, Certification and CPD
  • Survey Results
    • ONE: Survey Format and Questions
    • TWO: Overall Survey Responses
    • THREE: Categorization by Region
    • FOUR: Categorization by Revenue
    • FIVE: Categorization by Type of Ownership
    • SIX: Categorization by CS Team Size
    • SEVEN: Raw Data and Interpreted Response Tables

There has been a transformation in how technology is consumed. Technology investment has moved from being product led to being customer’s business outcomes led. This change is fundamental and more far-reaching than just another marketing sound bite. At the heart of this sea change lies both the concept and the function of Customer Success Management!

CSMs must be both competent and confident in their role. They need to be trained to a uniform standard of acceptable excellence and they must be able to prove this standard both to their own company and to customers. Just as no one would employ an unqualified accountant to manage finances, or an unqualified mechanic to fix machinery, business outcome attainment should be in the hands of qualified professionals. Both formal training and certification and informal ongoing learning are therefore essential for every CS professional’s career.

Too many CS leaders (from a corporate perspective) and too many CS professionals (from a personal career perspective) do not give this topic either sufficient thinking or funding. Perhaps this is part of the maturing process that the profession has to go through, but the findings within this survey appear to justify a legitimate concern that this laissez faire attitude towards training, certification and CPD is already holding the Customer Success profession back.

Studies such as this one are essential in helping us all to understand what is really happening in terms of attitudes towards training and certification within the Customer Success profession. Hard data from surveys like this are sorely needed, and the information gained from it is to my mind invaluable as a guide for all CS leaders as to both the current status of CS training and certification and the needs of the profession moving forwards into the future.


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