8 Must-Read Books For Customer Success Managers

If you want to be successful, you have to focus on self-development as much as you focus on your business.

The same goes for becoming a good customer success manager.

There are a lot of competitive companies on the market that convert curious people into loyal customers each day.

Happy customers.

And surprisingly, that’s not that difficult to do.

Customer satisfaction, customer churn, customer retention, customer relationships… What if I told you that all those are related to your customer success program?

True customer success is achieved through clear relationships with customers, and that all depends on how good you know how to communicate and create emotional connections with them.

So, here are the eight best books about customer success for you that will help you create an amazing customer experience.

Let’s dive in:

Best Books for Beginner Customer Success Managers

1- The Seven Pillars of Customer Success: A Proven Framework to Drive Impactful Client Outcomes for Your Company

Wayne McCulloch, a Top 100 Customer Success Strategist and one of the world’s leading customer success experts, serves as the Customer Success Leader for Google Cloud’s entire SaaS portfolio. In addition, he is a keynote speaker and multiple industry award winner with over twenty-five years of experience in customer-focused roles.

And his book is one of the best customer success books for beginners.

“In an industry that is still evolving and increasingly viewed as a growth driver, Wayne has taken the courageous step of distilling a vast amount of information into a repeatable framework. The Seven Pillars of Customer Success is an excellent overview of how to roll out and execute your customer success strategy.”

Matt Collier, Senior Director at Adobe

The book deconstructs customer success into its most fundamental components, which include operationalizing customer success, retention, and advocacy.

The chapters explain the principles of customer success in simple terms and provide practical suggestions for putting these theories into practice. The book is filled with anecdotes that assist readers to comprehend the process and offers significant insights from time spent in the tech business.

Here is the link to this book

2- Farm Don’t Hunt: The Definitive Guide to Customer Success

Guy Nirpaz is unquestionably a pioneer in the field of customer success. And if you’re looking for a good book on ‘customer success fundamentals,’ this is a great place to start.

“A really practical handbook for anyone fooking to be a leader in the space. Customer Success is something that is evolving realy quickly, and this book is the right combination of simplicity and insight to understand it”

Mark Roberge, Sr. Lecturer at Harvard Business School

Instead of constantly capturing new customers, the book advocates for customer success strategists to nurture and grow a clientele base.

The authors demonstrate how customer success can be a mutually beneficial arrangement, as well as how to reduce client churn and reap the most benefits from long-term relationships.

Here is the link to this book

Best Books For Mastering Customer Success Management

3- The Startup’s Guide to Customer Success: How to Champion the Customer of Your Company

This book is an excellent resource for anyone wishing to build or grow a customer success team.

Customer success is no longer reserved for giant corporations with large teams and resources. It is a company mindset that may unleash the greatest commercial prospects.

Customer success may assist to streamline interactions, increase product engagement and loyalty, and, most importantly, keep customers coming back.

The Startup’s Guide to Customer Success is an amazing resource! This is so timely for me as I am building out Customer Success from scratch again at my new company. I have already shared this with my team – and you should too!” 

Maranda Dziekonski, Vice President of Customer Success at Pared, Top 100 Customer Success Strategist 2017 & 2018 

This guide will walk you through how to develop, implement, and grow your own customer success team, as well as the concrete steps you can take to champion the customer at your organization. It’s ideal for new customer success leaders, CEOs, and VPs who want to make their organization more customer-centric, and start-ups wishing to establish their own customer success teams.

Here is the link to this book

4- Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue

Gainsight’s Chief Customer Officer Dan Steinman, CEO Nick Mehta, and Customer Success Ambassador Lincoln Murphy clarify exactly what “customer success” is, why it matters, and where it’s heading in this well-phrased book.

“Having been at Salesforce to witness the birth of Customer Success, I’m excited to see a book focused on this subject around which I have so much personal passion. One of the foundations of our success at Salesforce was Customer Success so it’s particularly great to see the history of the discipline, along with a glimpse at the future, documented in this book. I recommend it to every CEO or leader out there who is truly seeking to build a customer success-centric company.”

—Jim Steele, President and Chief Customer Officer, Insidesales and former President and Chief Customer Officer, Salesforce

The book begins by delving into the origins of the technique and highlighting the advantages of the approach for various business models.

Part two lays out the “ten laws of customer success,” which include “sell to the right customer” and “relentlessly monitor and manage client health.” The authors recognize that personal relationships aren’t always the key to retaining customers, and that the functionality product is crucial to consumer satisfaction.

Finally, the book discusses Chief Customer Officers and predicts customer success growth.

Here is the link to this book

Best Books For In-Depth Customer Success Management Practices

5- The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook: How to Thrive in One of the World’s Fastest Growing Careers—While Driving Growth For Your Company

ASHVIN VAIDYANATHAN is the Chief Customer Officer of Gainsight. Ashvin began his career at Gainsight as a Customer Success Manager, and he spent much of his time there developing new and innovative processes. Prior to joining Gainsight, Ashvin worked at McKinsey & Company, where he advised businesses on Marketing, Sales, and Customer Experience transformations. 

Gainsight’s Chief Strategist RUBEN RABAGO launched Pulse+, a refreshed continuation of the world’s largest education program for Customer Success professionals, and he consults with universities on curriculum development. Ruben is also in charge of Gainsight’s community outreach, which aims to increase diversity in the profession.

“. . . the most comprehensive book that’s ever been written on the critical steps for successfully implementing CS at scale. . . the Handbook not only communicates what needs to be done but how and why. . . a book that should be in the minds and on the desk of every CS professional.”

—J.B. Wood, President and CEO, TSIA

The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook is a useful playbook for putting customer-centric principles into practice and running a company that serves customers in a meaningful way.

The book begins by explaining CSM and outlining the opportunities for advancement in the field, before identifying the characteristics that lead to the most successful customer managers.

The guide’s second half teaches leaders how to incorporate customer success into organizational operations, as well as how to recruit, develop, and retain skilled CSMs.

Here is the link to this book

6- Onboarding Matters: How Successful Companies Transform New Customers Into Loyal Champions

Although onboarding is the most important part of the customer journey, many B2B companies fail to act proactively at the beginning of the relationship.

Instead, Customer Success teams are tasked with making heroic efforts to save accounts and putting out fires when customers encounter problems or become stuck.

Donna is a well-known Customer Success thought leader, influencer, and strategist. When she isn’t managing customer onboarding, you can find her outside, hiking or riding the hills of the San Francisco Bay Area, or kayaking the waterways of California and beyond. Donna resides in Palo Alto, California, with her husband, Ed. Donna received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego.

Onboarding Matters: How Successful Companies Turn New Customers Into Loyal Champions is her latest book.

“Do yourself and your customers a favor and read Onboarding Matters! Customer Success leaders will benefit from Donna’s conclusions on the importance of onboarding and its impact on the rest of the customer journey. The C-suite will be thrilled about the future earnings an orchestrated approach drives.”

— Kristen Hayer, CEO of The Success League and Top 25 Customer Success Influencer

The author recommends beginning the client relationship on a favorable note by interacting with your customer at the start of their client journey and taking the time to explain the finer points of the service.

Teaching clients the ins and outs of the offering can assist prevent problems or disappointments, let the consumer understand the full potential of the product, and make the client aware of the resources available. Not to add, this gesture develops a rapport and tells the consumer that the support crew cares, which makes clients more likely to stick around and gives the organization an opportunity to resolve concerns.

The book discusses the significance of onboarding and provides guidelines and recommendations for providing excellent onboarding experiences.

Here is the link to this book

Best Books For Practical Advice About Customer Success 

7- The Trusted Advisor

This book outlines five steps for developing a trusting relationship. It is especially beneficial for customer success managers who act as a member of their customers’ teams in order to establish and maintain trust.

The authors provide readers with practical advice, lists, and anecdotes to help them put trust into action that benefits both parties.

“This book is engaging, enjoyable, and absolutely on target. It is packed with truth. The Trusted Advisor will guide success not just in the advisory professions but in leadership and life as well.”

William F. Stasior senior chairman and former CEO, Booz-Allen & Hamilton 

The Trusted Advisor explores the factors that influence consumer trust and arranges them into a simple yet effective equation.

They propose that trustworthiness is calculated by dividing your credibility, reliability, and intimacy by your self-orientation, or T = (C + R + I) / S. Your goal is to demonstrate your expertise, keep your promises, and develop an emotional bond with your consumers while minimizing your own interests.

Here is the link to this book

8- Practical Customer Success Management: A Best Practice Framework for Rapid Generation of Customer Success

Rick Adams is an independent author, trainer and consultant, specializing in helping companies of all types and sizes deliver measurable business value for their customers.

Adams has over 25 years experience of in helping companies to realize business success, including owning his own startup software-as-a-service business which he sold in 2012 to focus on writing, training, and consulting.

“Practical Customer Success Management is a must read playbook for all business leaders and customer success-focused professionals. It imparts a solid grounding in what customer success is and why it is so important, whilst highlighting key challenges and how to respond to them. In addition it provides a detailed practical framework that explains both what to do and how to do it at every stage of the customer success engagement.”

Jason Noble Global Customer Success and SaaS Leader

This practical guide is a comprehensive “handbook for CSMs,” written by a customer success expert who has coached and trained hundreds of customer success managers worldwide.

The easy-to-implement best practice framework aims to boost productivity and output quality for CSMs ranging from newcomers to seasoned professionals.

KPIs and measurable outcomes, research and planning, customer success strategies, and collaborating with other areas of the organization are all covered in the chapters.

Here is the link to this book

Final Thoughts

Here is the main idea that all those books focus on:

  • Good business outcomes are achieved with exceptional customer experience.
  • Customer loyalty depends on the quality of the customer lifecycle.
  • Customer expectations can be met through a correct model of customer management.

Reading a business book will not only provide you with some expert advice or gold class guidance, it will also help you see the needs of customers through their own eyes.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the best book on customer success?

The Gainsight Customer Success trilogy will teach you the ins and outs, the goods and bads of Customer Success. The books are easy to read and the authors are experts in the field.


Is customer success a good career?

Depending on your skillset, customer success can be both a fulfilling and financially beneficial career. It’s a job that’s on demand, and you can easily find high-quality resources to develop yourself.


Is customer success a sales job?

Customer success and sales are two different jobs. A customer success manager focuses on the demands and actions of the user while a sales manager focuses on demo calls and customer interactions.

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Hilal Yıldırım

I’m UserGuiding’s growth-obsessed creative content writer and junior journalist. I like to research and write about growth, onboarding, and inbound marketing. If you feel like we could exchange ideas, feel free to reach out via LinkedIn or email! P.S. If I don’t respond, please know that I’m on a road trip with my camera and motorbike.