Point guard = Customer Success Manager

Basketball was my first passion when I hearken back to early childhood. I didn’t have shooting, dribbling, or dunking skills :-). I made up for it through my intangibles including intelligence and generosity.

It didn’t matter. Sports require raw physical talent to succeed. A good heart only takes you so far.

Similarly, a “rockstar” engineer or scientist in Silicon Valley can do the work of 10 average workers. When the raw talent isn’t there, the best option is becoming an enabler. One could argue that point guard is the most important position on a basketball court. Sometimes, it’s overlooked. In Silicon Valley the point guard is the customer success manager.

Just like struggling companies which lack the customer success/ CX function, basketball teams struggle without a Go-to point guard. A pass-first mastermind accelerates a team’s progress without necessarily scoring points.

In today’s NBA game, it’s rare to see any team succeed without a visionary court general. Oftentimes, the point guard has as many assists as points per game. The most successful companies in Silicon Valley have strong customer success teams — which run the full court press and strengthen client relationships. They help maintain sales growth while minimizing churn.

I look back at two favorite college basketball players who were successful, but yielded different results for their teams. Kevin Durant was a ball-hogging point forward for the Texas Longhorns. He was the most prolific scorer in team history. T.J. Ford was the greatest point guard in Texas basketball history. T.J. was an average scorer, but a great passer.

Kevin Durant continues a great NBA career, but has never won a championship. T.J. Ford won a high school championship and then took the Texas Longhorns to the Final Four. T.J. Ford ended his professional career by making a final stop with the Golden State Warriors. Kevin Durant¬†has already won an MVP award, but he won’t win the MVP with the Warriors this year. He may win his first championship thanks to the presence of superstar point guard Stephen Curry.

Ultimately, a point guard makes the game flow. Customer success heroes should help coordinate rockstar technical teams. Talent alone won’t win championships without a steady point guard.