Salary Snapshot: VP Customer Success
Updated: May 5
As a recruitment partner to Canadian tech companies, we’ve talked to hundreds of start-ups and scale-up leaders about their experiences, their aspirations, their motivations … and their compensation packages.
We're often asked, “What do you see as the market rate for this role?”. And since we know the answers - we thought we’d share our insights with you!
This is valuable (and often unavailable) information that can help your budgeting and can help you create a competitive compensation model. And if you’re on the hunt for your next challenge we hope you’ll find this useful in the negotiation process. (Take a look at our recent Director of Marketing Salary Snapshot here)
We’ve seen a high demand for Customer Success leaders recently so we thought we’d dive into a VP Customer Success Salary Snapshot.
Customer Success can be a bit ambiguous so we’ve defined these VP’s as strategic heads who lead a team, are proactive, innovative and have a critical influence on Customer and Product strategy. They typically own solutions and training (pre-sales and onboarding), account management, customer success and support. We’ve analyzed a spectrum of compensation packages to share both the high-level summary and some of the related insights around how your peers are crafting plans with a mix of base and variable pay.
What are you looking at?
This data represents volunteered current compensation summaries from Director-VP Customer Success in SaaS start-up or scale-up software companies in Toronto. Each individual has between 1 - 20 direct reports.
Some of their responsibilities include:
defining the customer journey and owning strategy,
establishing a knowledge base model, coaching and scaling a team,
bringing in automation tools for a high volume,
customer base (mix of B2B enterprise and SMB focus),
having the ability to build, test and reiterate and
creating a strong feedback loop between customer feedback and product.
Total cash compensation plans ranged from $120-260K with an average of 182K.
30% fall in the $120-150K range - 70% of those being at about $150K
45% of the individuals fall in the 151-225K band.
The Bonus Question:
Of our candidate sample, 60% have a plan that is a combination of base salary and bonus (with the average variable pay of 13% of base and a range of 10-35%). Total comp was anywhere between $140-320K.
For individuals who are earning a bonus, this was typically a mix of personal performance objectives + overall business results. For organizations that are highly metrics oriented, measuring the results of a CS leader was more straightforward.
What about Start-ups and Equity?
Individuals who are part of earlier stage companies tend to be on the lower end of the range but receive a larger share of equity to compensate for a lower base salary. This is typical for all roles, not just Customer Success. Leveraging equity as a key component of compensation not only enables companies to conserve cash, but also ensures that your team is aligned around success. The downside of highly leveraged compensation plans is exclusion of great candidates who have financial commitments that preclude them from roles with lower than market salaries.
Our snapshots are not typical salary surveys - as they represent only the data we’ve collected from a handful of recent searches. We think it’s pretty useful though, as it represents current information from a sample of individuals who we’ve carefully selected as having credible and validated experience, with successful local companies.
What’s behind the data?
Each Salary Snapshot represents between 20 – 50 sources.
Each source is an individual who we deemed a promising candidate for a role within a high growth tech company. Most are gainfully employed and many were recommended as exceptionally talented. As a result, our salary numbers might be skewed towards the top of the range.
We elected not to show compensation figures related to equity or options. Though this was a significant aspect of the comp package for many execs, it’s often tough to put an annual $ value on equity.
Specific details that would identify an individual or their employer will not be shared for obvious reasons.