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Surviving Account Transitions In Your New Customer Success Job

As a CSM, stepping into a new role can feel like navigating uncharted waters, especially when you're greeted with the challenge of managing accounts that are new to you, missing critical information, and sometimes... Lacking contacts who hold the keys to the knowledge you need.

This scenario, as daunting as it may seem, is not unique but a common hurdle many new CSMs face.

In this post, we'll share a quick approach to keep your ahead above the water if you find yourself in a similar situation.

The Common Challenge With Account Transitions In Customer Success

Imagine this: You've just started your new job as a CSM – congrats!

Accounts are being transitioned to you, but you quickly realize there's missing information. To make matters more complicated, some of the folks who could fill in the gaps are no longer with the company. This situation is far from rare. In fact, it's so common that I've had this discussion with my clients twice in one week!

As the newest member of the customer success team, you've got a lot on your mind.

You want to gain product knowledge ASAP, understand how the team approaches customer success, familiarize yourself with your accounts, and most importantly, you want to prove your competence and qualifications.

However, not every company offers a comprehensive onboarding process for their CSMs, leaving many to fend for themselves and "figure it out" as they go along.

The Solution: An Information-Led Approach

If that sounded like anything you're dealing with, I recommend taking an "information-led approach."

This strategy offers a systematic way to tackle the scenario every time, structured around three key pillars: Research, People, and Customer.


🧐 Research

The first step is research.

Please know that asking for help shouldn't be frowned upon –remember, you're new!

However, that is easier said than done. Most CSMs starting a new job fear that asking too many questions will make them seem unfit. That's understandable; you want to make a good impression.

Doing your own research not only orients you, but it also shows your resourcefulness. Look for usage metrics, notes, call recordings, external news on the client's company, recent account activity, details from the sales cycle, involved teammates, and any materials or assets created for or shared by the client. This initial research will help you form assumptions about the state of the account and prepare you for the next phase.

👥 People

After gathering data, it's time to connect with people.

If your research reveals that certain teammates, who are still with the company, have worked with the account, reaching out to them can provide clarity on your findings.

In larger CS organizations, where multiple roles may support an account, aligning on each person's role in the client partnership is beneficial. This ensures you're all on the same page on how to continue approaching the partnership going forward.

Here's how you can approach your teammate:

"I've done some research on X account, and it looks like you were the [THEIR ROLE IN THE PARTNERSHIP]. From what I've gathered [OUTLINE YOUR POINTS]. I still have a few questions, can we jump on a quick call? I'd appreciate if you could share any insights!"

You asking them to fill in the blanks, which shows them that you've done your research.

🙂 Client

With research done and clarity achieved, the next step is to engage with the client.

Use the "meet your new CSM" call as an opportunity to share your findings, invite the client to fill in any gaps, and begin crafting an action plan.

Questions like "Are these still your current priorities?" or "A year from now, what would success look like working with me and [YOUR COMPANY]?" can guide the conversation towards a productive partnership.

If there are other teammates who will be involved in the partnership in the future, you may benefit from inviting them to this call. This will ensure your internal and external stakeholders are on the same page.

Taking a Step Back

You should have the information to hit the ground running with your new accounts, but this isn't always the case.

Being new at a company can be a superpower. It's an opportunity for the client to truly reflect on their goals because you being there (and being new) is prompting them to do so. It's also a great time for them to request any changes to the partnership that might've not worked in past.

Taking what may seem like a step back is actually a big step towards alignment.

Rushing without direction benefits no one. Establishing a solid foundation with your clients and within your team is crucial for long-term success.


I'm Diana, and I specialize in helping CSMs enhance their skills and navigate their roles with confidence. For more insights like these, subscribe to the Evolve newsletter.

If you're looking for personalized guidance and coaching in your CSM journey, let's connect!


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