How I used our platform: My path from Gong’s first CSM to Director of CS

  • 22 November 2021
  • 3 replies
How I used our platform: My path from Gong’s first CSM to Director of CS
Userlevel 2

When I started working at Gong in 2017 as a founding member of the Customer Success team, we didn’t yet have strong recommendations for how ICs should use Gong (we also didn’t have many ICs). I started listening to tons of calls during my “self-paced onboarding”, many of which were from our CEO, @Amit Bendov, as he sold the product, and our CCO, @Eran Aloni, who was onboarding customers. 


Being new to the team, it was helpful to hear our execs talk about our product’s value, but as I became more familiar with the sales process and identified my own gaps in knowledge, I began to dig for calls in a more targeted way. 


I leveraged our Calls page and filtered for calls that mentioned our machine learning features, so I could better position them myself. I also searched for demo calls using CRM Opportunity Stage filters to hear how AEs (rather, our one AE!) positioned Gong’s value. And I listened to past calls with accounts I was managing, to learn what we had promised and where the last point of contact had left off. 


When GDPR suddenly became a top topic on customer calls, I set up an alert so I could listen whenever one of our prospects or customers mentioned it. I quickly learned which concerns came up most frequently and how to respond to them.


Gong for me and my team


Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to move from an IC role into a leadership role, managing members of our Enterprise CS team. During that transition, I began leveraging Gong in several ways to give myself and my team a boost. That included using it to coach team members, validate or flag customer health, launch initiatives, anticipate new customer volumes for account assignments, and get up to speed on escalated issues. 


Today, seven CSMs report to me. Coaching — especially for those who are in the onboarding or ramping phases — is one of the top ways I use Gong on a daily basis. Coaching happens offline, in 1:1s, and in group sessions. When I look for a starting point across new team members, we review Team > Stats to see if anything stands out. I look at their call volume compared to the rest of the team and check to see if any of their interaction stats are far off the team average or best practice. I can also see whether they’re going too deep on certain features (Trackers), or discussing Next Steps (Topics) less frequently than our more tenured reps.


How I use Gong for 1:1s


I’ve worked with all my CSMs to  choose one or two areas of improvement they should focus on. That’s what we look at during our 1:1s.


I ask them to either bring call snippets to our 1:1s for us to review together, or they ask me to review a chosen call offline and provide coaching using the call comments feature. In both cases, I  ask the CSM to review the call first and self-coach using the comments feature, having them point me to specific areas in the call where they’d like my attention. When we review a call together, I’ll typically pull up the call and screen share, speed up the call to 1.75x or 2x, and then pause it occasionally to discuss. 


…And in group sessions


We’ve recently used Gong in group sessions for spiffs and certifications. We had a lot of fun running a discovery spiff, looking for the best example of digging deeper with a customer to understand the root cause of their pain. We created a Google Sheet with everyone’s name and a column where they could add their discovery snippet, then played the snippets in a team meeting and let the team vote on which one they thought was best. The winner exemplified best practices in digging deeper and it was a fun way to reinforce the use of those practices.


Success Planning is another important initiative for our team, so later this month we’ll run a certification using Gong. We’ll ask each team member to share one call from that quarter, where they shared their Success Plan with a customer and talked through the points they trained on. We’ve already created a Success Plan Scorecard which the leaders will use to score each team member on their Success Plan competencies. Each CSM needs to get a four or a five in order to be certified. 


Your key to success


It’s an amazing experience to help customers use a product that has given me so much support across many roles. It was like a golden key for me when I started as an IC, and I know it can be for your reps as well. And for others in my position as a CS Director, I hope you’ll make the most of what’s to offer in Gong. In addition to improving your team’s coaching, use it to validate and flag customer health, launch and track your initiatives, anticipate new customer volume (for account assignment), and get up to speed on escalations.


And if there are other ways it helps you, either as an IC or as a Director, share away! We’re all here to learn.



Learn more about customer success software

3 replies

Loved reading this Sam (and the pic from the Celebrate Masterclass!)


I’m new to Gong and I have been trying to find best practices in terms of workflows for CSMs all across your learning platforms. This is exactly what I was looking valuable! Love it!


Userlevel 6
Badge +1

@laurathedigitalcsm Yay! Welcome to the Gong Community — I’m so glad you found this helpful!