How to make a functional CSM Tracker using Google Sheets / by Joseph Palumbo

As I've mentioned before, the majority of people I've met working in Customer Success are new to the discipline, coming from departments such as support, operations or sales. They've been charged by their company to build out a Customer Success team and program from the ground up, but usually with very limited resources. 

This situation presents a number of challenges for new Customer Success leaders. Namely, how can he/she accurately track and report on their team's activities, and, more importantly, how those efforts are moving the right needles in the right direction - retention, revenue, customer loyalty, etc - which is the most convincing way to garner further executive buy-in and additional resources. 

A few people I've talked to have been able to add a few new fields to their existing CRM or Salesforce to help them track CSM activity:results, while others have gone the route of the shared spreadsheet. 

I'm currently in the process of integrating ClientSuccess at my company, but for several months I relied on the proverbial spreadsheet to keep track of my CSMs and their customers. 

While there are many books and blog posts about What is Customer Success? and How to build a Customer Success program? there isn't much in terms of bootstrapping tools and reports.

Fortunately, by clearly defining what I wanted to get from my spreadsheet along with a ton of Googling, I was able to build something that offered a minimal, easy to read, easy to use interface, and that pulled out key data points into a second tab which allowed me to regularly report on what my team was doing and how it was impacting the bottomline. 

What follows is a three part video series on how I created this makeshift (but solidly functional) solution using Google Sheet's built-in tools, such as Data Validation, Conditional Formatting and the =SUMIF and =COUNTIF functions. 

Creating The Spreadsheet

In the first video, I walk through the (very) basic structure of how I built the initial spreadsheet using a "Less is More" philosophy. The spreadsheet focuses on tracking the most recent interactions, but also maintains a more thorough account record by linking to a number of other data stores. 

Adding Conditional Formatting

Once the basic structure of the spreadsheet is completed, I want it to be as glanceable as possible, which is to say I want to maximize the amount of understanding I can get from a quick glance at a relatively complex data set. 

I accomplish this using Google Sheet's conditional formatting. Conditional formatting will automatically change the formatting of the cell based on the value inserted. 

This becomes especially useful in the Last Engaged column where I use conditional formatting to color code each cell based on how long it's been since we last spoke with that customer. 

Watch the video to learn how I use this feature. 

Pulling Metrics

Making your tracker glanceable is nice, but nothing beats an organized set of trustworthy metrics when managing and building a team. For this, I used Google Sheet's =SUMIF() and =COUNTIF() functions to pull individual CSM data into a second tab. 

These two functions will look in one column for a matching value, then pull another values from corresponding rows. 

For example, when adding up the total revenue of John's accounts, I would use the following command: 

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 5.21.55 PM.jpg

The third video provides a better explanation on how to use these functions to pull individual CSM data, key performance indicators, or any data point that you want to track. 

Conclusion

If you have the resources, I strongly advise taking a close look the products available from companies like Totango, Gainsight, Strikedeck and ClientSuccess.

However, if you're bootstrapping a Customer Success program with limited resources, using a spreadsheet like the one I've built will help you to track, gather and analyze the data needed to create a convincing business case for further investment into your company's Customer Success strategy. 

Addendum

Want to take a closer look at the mock CSM tracker, check it out

It's also worth noting that all of these features and functions I've demonstrated are available in both Google Sheets and Excel, although I'm not sure about Apple Numbers. 

If you have any questions about the features and functions I used to create this tracker, please leave a comment, email me or tweet at me