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10 Books a CSM Should Read

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10 Books A CSM Should Read

By: Mohammed Alqaq  

Click here for the Arabic Version

اضغط هنا لقراءة النسخة العربية

Reading is the Brain workout. It improves your critical thinking and boosts your mental stimulation. The reading goal is one of the yearly goals I set in December for the coming year.

If you haven’t set your reading goal, maybe it is time to start now. Think of how many books would you want to read per month. What types of books would you be reading? Will you be speed reading or reading at a relaxed pace? Do you have the time? Are you confident that you will enjoy the process of reading and not read for the sake of hitting your goal?  You will have to take all these considerations into mind. Be sure to set a realistic goal.

Set your Reading Goal

Now, Since it is a goal, you should push yourself a bit but do make your goal attainable. You should set a reading goal that you are comfortable with and increase it by 10% year over year.

Do not be too stressed on trying to reach your goal just for the sake of hitting the goal.

In this post, I have listed the top 10 Customer Success related books (in my opinion) to improve your focus, memory, and advance your skills… happy reading! 🙂


How Successful Companies Transform New Customers Into Loyal Champions

If you don’t have a customer onboarding plan set up for your business, you’re losing customers and burning future revenues. It’s as simple as that.

Onboarding is the most important part of the customer journey, yet many B2B companies fail to act proactively at the start of the relationship. Instead, Customer Success teams are stuck making heroic efforts to save accounts and fighting fires when customers inevitably run into problems or get stuck. The reactive approach is a problem for your Customer Success teams, your revenues, and your customers.

Customer onboarding matters. More than you may think. A successful customer onboarding program results in more satisfied customer and employees, higher solution adoption, and increased customer lifetime value.

In Onboarding Matters, Donna Weber shares the Orchestrated Onboarding™ framework that she implements with leading B2B companies to turn onboarding from a missed opportunity into a competitive advantage.

How to Thrive in One of the World’s Fastest Growing Careers

The Customer Success Manager has become a critical asset to organizations across the business landscape. As the subscription model has spread from the cloud and SaaS to more sectors of the economy, that pivotal role will only grow in importance. That’s because if you want to compete and thrive in this new environment, you need to put the customer at the center of your strategy. You need to recognize you’re no longer selling just a product. You’re selling an outcome.

Customer Success Managers (CSM) are committed to capturing and delivering those outcomes by listening to their customers, understanding their needs, and adapting products and services to drive success. Although several existing resources address the customer success imperative, there is no authoritative instruction manual for the CSM profession—until now.

The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook is the definitive reference book for CSMs and similar roles in the field. This practical, first-of-its-kind manual fills a significant gap in professional customer success literature, providing the knowledge every CSM needs to succeed—from the practitioner level all the way to senior leadership. The authors—acknowledged experts in building, training, and managing Customer Success teams—offer real-world guidance and practical advice for aspiring and experienced CSMs alike. The handbook is written by practioners for practioners. An indispensable resource for front-line Customer Success Managers, this much-needed book:

  • Demonstrates how to build, implement, and manage a Customer Success team
  • Helps new CSMs develop their skills and proficiency to be more employable and grow in their careers
  • Provides clear guidance for managers on how to hire a stellar CSM
  • Presents practical tactics needed to drive revenue growth during renewal, expansion, and customer advocacy opportunities
  • Explains proven methods and strategies for mentoring CSMs throughout their careers
  • Offers valuable insights from Gainsight, the Customer Success Company, and the broader customer success community with more than a dozen of the industry’s most respected leaders contributing their perspectives

How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine

Chief Customer Officer 2.0 will give you a proven framework that has launched and advanced the customer experience transformation in businesses in every vertical around the world.

And it will take years off your learning curve.

Written by Jeanne Bliss, worldwide authority on customer experience, and preeminent thought leader on the role of the Customer Leadership Executive (such as Chief Customer Officer, Vice President of Customer Experience, etc.) this book follows the five-competency model she uses to coach the C-Suite and Chief Customer Officers.

  • Manage and Honor Customers as Assets
  • Align Around Experience
  • Build a Customer Listening Path
  • Proactive Experience Reliability and Innovation
  • One Company Accountability, Leadership & Decision Making

Chief Customer Officer 2.0 will get you into action quickly with a united leadership team, and will shift your business intent to earning the right to growth by improving customers’ lives.

Jeanne Bliss fearlessly shares her tools and leadership ‘recipe cards’ for leading and enabling your business transformation. And she provides practical guidance on how embed the five competencies into how your company develops products, goes to market, enables and rewards people, and conducts annual planning.

Including over forty accounts of actions by Customer Leadership Executives around the world, this is the book you have been waiting for that tells it like it is and gives you the framework to build your customer-driven growth engine.

A Proven Framework to Drive Impactful Client Outcomes for Your Company

As a customer success leader, whose insight do you rely on for success?

Your field is still maturing, yet your profession is one of the fastest growing in the world. There are tons of books and blogs written by success professionals sharing their experiences and strategies, but how do you know what will work for your specific situation? Whose advice is the expertise you can trust?

Wayne McCulloch

has more than 25 years of experience in the software industry—years spent in training, adoption, and customer experience, the building blocks for customer success. Now he’s sharing what he knows as a chief customer officer leading global success functions. In

The Seven Pillars of Customer Success,

Wayne provides an adaptable framework for building a strong customer success organization. From customer journey actions to the development of transformation advisors, you’ll read detailed examples of how companies have put these seven pillars to the test. To create a culture of customer success and stand out in the marketplace, you need a proven framework and knowledgeable perspective—this book provides both, and more.

The Definitive Guide to Customer Success

Across entire verticals of the economy the new normal is the recurring revenue business. Charging customers on a monthly basis, firms with this model have to play by an entirely new set of rules, rules which generally favor the customer over the seller. But this new model also opens up fantastic opportunities to provide and extract more value from the relationship as well. 

To create that value business needs to move away from a hunting mindset to a farming mindset. That change is the new paradigm of Customer Success. Many business leaders have heard of Customer Success but few understand what it really means to run their business from the Customer Success standpoint. Even fewer have the experience to build the Customer Success function and optimize its performance. 

As a pioneer in the field of Customer Success, Guy Nirpaz is acknowledged as one of the earliest proponents of this business realignment. In “Farm Don’t Hunt” Guy breaks down the intellectual underpinnings of Customer Success as a theory and quickly moves to providing pragmatic, actionable advice for orienting your business around this new model.

How a New Generation of Technology Vendors Thrives Through True Customer Success

That’s the cry of a new generation of technology vendors. They have a new approach to enabling success for their customers. And they’re thriving as a result.

These vendors all have subscription pricing at the heart of their business. Each has learned that if customers don’t feel they’ve had success, recurring revenue doesn’t grow and may even decline.

What makes them different? They have absolute clarity about what the customer considers success to be. And they’ve built their business around enabling that success. They know it’s the outcomes for the customer that count. They’re all members of the Outcome Generation.

This book shows how to join the Outcome Generation. You’ll learn how to leverage true customer success at every stage of the customer lifecycle. For existing customers, you’ll learn how to engage customer executives at the start of the buying cycle–and often create a buying cycle.

You’ll learn how to increase new business (new logo) sales by employing the third generation of technology sales–selling outcomes. And exactly what type of outcome to sell. Using the third-generation approach, you’ll create greater emotional connections, differentiate from the competition and win more business.

You’ll also learn how to evolve Services and Support to focus on enabling true customer success, and how that’s producing great references.

And Marketing will have a whole new way of attracting attention, creating interest and engaging prospects.

Most vendors have evolved past solution-selling and its approaches to marketing, sales, services and support. The Outcome Generation shows how to align the whole business around a common theme–enabling outcomes the customers regard as success. And why that allows vendors to thrive! Buy the book now and join the Outcome Generation.

How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue

Your business success is now forever linked to the success of your customers Customer Success is the groundbreaking guide to the exciting new model of customer management. Business relationships are fundamentally changing.

In the world B.C. (Before Cloud), companies could focus totally on sales and marketing because customers were often ‘stuck’ after purchasing. Therefore, all of the ‘post-sale’ experience was a cost center in most companies.

In the world A.B. (After Benioff), with granular per-year, per-month or per-use pricing models, cloud deployments and many competitive options, customers now have the power. As such, B2B vendors must deliver success for their clients to achieve success for their own businesses.

Customer success teams are being created in companies to quarterback the customer lifecycle and drive adoption, renewals, up-sell and advocacy. The Customer Success philosophy is invading the boardroom and impacting the way CEOs think about their business. Today, Customer Success is the hottest B2B movement since the advent of the subscription business model, and this book is the one-of-a-kind guide that shows you how to make it work in your company.

From the initial planning stages through execution, you’ll have expert guidance to help you:

  • Understand the context that led to the start of the Customer Success movement
  • Build a Customer Success strategy proven by the most competitive companies in the world
  • Implement an action plan for structuring the Customer Success organization, tiering your customers, and developing the right cross-functional playbooks

Customers want products that help them achieve their own business outcomes. By enabling your customers to realize value in your products, you’re protecting recurring revenue and creating a customer for life. Customer Success shows you how to kick start your customer-centric revolution, and make it stick for the long term.

A Best Practice Framework for Rapid Generation of Customer Success

Practical Customer Success Management is a complete “handbook for CSMs”, written by a customer success expert who has coached and trained many hundreds of customer success managers across the globe. The book is aimed at increasing both productivity and consistency of quality of output for customer success managers of all levels, from relative newcomers through to seasoned professionals.

The book is highly practical in nature and is packed full of good humored but very direct advice and assistance for dealing with exactly the types of real world situations CSMs face every day.

Practical Customer Success Management provides a simple-to-follow, best practice framework that explains what the core customer success management steps are at each stage of the customer journey to business outcome success and in what circumstances to apply those steps. It describes and explains which situations each step applies to and provides recommendations for activities or tasks that the CSM can perform to complete each step, together with detailed explanations and step-by-step guidance for successfully completing each activity or task.

Included in this book is an entire suite of tools and templates that enable rapid completion of each task and ensure consistency of approach both across multiple customer engagements and by multiple CSMs within a team. Each tool’s use is clearly explained within the book, and CSMs are able to adapt and customize the tools to suit their own specific needs as they see fit.

The first 12 months of your journey into growth

  • Are you a Customer Success Executive or making your way up the Customer Success ladder?
  • Do you want to transform churn into maximum recurring revenue and growth?
  • Are you looking for a clear route to an established framework?
  • Are you determined to be proactive, rather than constantly firefighting, with your customers?
  • Is your company invested in or implementing a customer-focused philosophy?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is for you!

Customer Success is an emerging discipline for professionals pioneering revenue growth through customer relationships, outcomes, trust, loyalty, retention and referrals.

The Customer Success Pioneer is a practical handbook for creating a best-in-practice Customer Success function from the ground up. It will help you ensure that your existing portfolio of customers become successful partners – delighted, committed and renewing – by putting in place processes that will work across your portfolio and into the future. This book will help you find the essential frameworks to maximise customer retention, recurring revenue and growth, build a productive and balanced team and excel as a Customer Success professional.

How to Champion the Customer at Your Company

Are you looking to start or grow a customer success team? Customer success is no longer just for companies with large teams and resources. It’s a company mindset that can unlock the biggest opportunities in business. Customer success can help streamline experiences, grow product engagement and loyalty, and more importantly — retain business.

In The Startup’s Guide to Customer Success, Jennifer Chiang presents a guide on how to plan, execute, and grow your own customer success team and the actionable steps that you can take to champion the customer at your company. Learn insights such as:

  • The four attributes Shreesha Ramdas, CEO and Co-Founder of Strikedeck, says are must-haves when hiring your first customer success team

  • How Jamey Jeff, Managing Director of Customer Success Solutions at Coastal Cloud, reevaluated QBRs to derive more value for his customers with less work

  • How Maranda Dziekonski, VP of Customer Success at Pared, manages her time wisely to not only get everything done, but fight fires and plan ahead

This book is for everyone from new customer success leaders, CEOs and VPs who want their company to be more customer-centric, to start-ups who are starting their own customer success teams.


Set yourself a goal of reading between 30-45 minutes everyday. Why to set this goal!

  • Measurable: it is easy to make it happen and easily you can measure your progress
  • Achievable: it is not a significant time commitment.
  • No Upper limit: You can read more if you have the time and it feels good to exceed your target

The way this goal framed will set you up for success and I believe will help you to maintain momentum throughout this journey.


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