Gainsight Horizon AI Labs: What Is The Right CSM to Customer Ratio?
Co-authored by Shantan Reddy.
Many of you know Gainsight has thousands of customers and tens of thousands of customer success managers that use Gainsight daily, so we have a substantial source of data in our platform. And people have asked me over and over again, “given your customer base, you must have so much data about CS.” The answer is yes – we totally do! So we decided to utilize our latest tool, Horizon AI technology, to gather benchmarks from across our platform to share with the CS community to help us all make better decisions together. Here are some of our initial findings:
Customer Success Managers to Accounts
Focusing first with our US-based Enterprise customers (>$100M Annual Recurring Revenue or ARR), we used anonymized, aggregated data in our research and focused on three primary categories:
- High touch >$100K Annual Contract Value or ACV
- Mid touch $10K-$100K ACV
- Low touch <$10K ACV
As you can see in the chart below, high touch averaged 22 accounts managed per CSM, mid touch averaged 49 accounts managed per CSM, and low touch averaged 144 accounts managed per CSM.
|CSM category||Average number of accounts managed|
The skewed distribution across the CSM categories shows that high touch CSMs manage the most strategic clients with higher ACV and therefore own fewer accounts. This enables the CSM to provide a proactive and personalized CS service to nurture those higher revenue clients. Lower ACV accounts that support the one-to-many model likely have automated CS processes – in-app NPS, communities, webinars, email campaigns, etc. – to help the CSMs scale and support a large number of accounts simultaneously.
CSM to ARR
Next, we focused on the average total ARR managed by a CSM. We compared a pool of 17,034 CSMs from our US-based customers using anonymized and aggregated data. The median (50%) quartile for total ARR was $1.4M while the top (75%) quartile was $4.2M.
This is for certain: Everyone is at a different stage in their Customer Success journey, and we’re all figuring it out as we go. The most important thing to remember is that regardless of your situation, segmentation, and organization, every customer needs a positive experience while obtaining value from your product. And if you are just getting started in your Customer Success journey and looking for benchmarks on how many accounts or ARR your CSMs should own, here’s a great place to start.