Productboard Reduces Gross Churn by 50% in 1 Year with Vitally
“In 2020 alone, we reduced our gross churn relatively by 50%. Even as we scaled, we were able to spend our time as wisely as possible with customers.”
“Our leadership team can be happy to know that we're doing our jobs over here on the Customer Success side, and that sales is selling into the right markets.”
Domila McFarlane, Customer Success Director @ Grata
Grata is the leading company intelligence engine that enables dealmakers to search, find, qualify, and engage the right customers and companies for their business. Grata provides organizations like OneMedical, Providence Equity, Trilogy, and beyond, with unparalleled information and access that drives the private economy.
Before finding and implementing a dedicated Customer Success Platform at Grata, their Customer Success team was tracking customer engagement in a Google sheet, and an incomplete one at that.
“It was not segmented properly. It did not have all of the relevant information that was necessary to actually give us some insight into what our customers were doing, what our engagement was with our customers,” said Domila McFarlane, Customer Success Director at Grata. “It really didn't give us the ability to properly identify, and properly connect and build those relationships that we were looking for with our customers.”
Naturally, operating out of a Google Sheet comes with its own set of limitations—in this case, the limitation was that it was not at all actionable.
“It was missing that driving function that we needed to really put our customers first for our company,” said Domila. “We had specific metrics that we wanted to measure but were unable to measure… something like the NPS score, which is, I think, really essential for any customer success team, was definitely a metric that we wanted to track, but not something that we had available.”
Beyond their Customer Success team’s inability to operationalize customer data, they were facing another problem. They did not have a good understanding of which customers they were properly engaging with throughout the customer lifecycle, especially when it came to renewals.
“We were not able to onboard our customers and have those conversations, with a specific workflow and a specific process, that provided us with the information that we needed to really support those customers from their initial setup to their renewal period,” said Domila. “Before Vitally, we actually did not have a renewals process in place, so renewing our accounts was really just kind of shooting from the hip.”
When Domila was brought on to direct Grata’s Customer Success team in May 2021, one of her first tasks was to look for a Customer Success Platform, or some sort of CRM platform, that would take her team out of Google Docs, and give them a dedicated place to actively manage their relationships.
“I looked at a couple of different platforms. We really loved Vitally, and didn't have to talk my COO into it,” said Domila. “All he needed to know was that I saw the platform and saw the demo… So he was happy with whatever I suggested.”
Now, the entire Grata team benefits from enhanced visibility into their installed customer base.
“Now that we've actually implemented Vitally, it's been great to see the response from the company at large,” said Domila. “When I show them dashboards or show them reports that I'm pulling out of Vitally, now that we have all of that information in there, they're really happy with the choice.”
One area where Grata has really experienced an ROI with Vitally is in regards to NPS. Prior to implementing Vitally’s NPS feature, Grata had identified NPS as a key metric, but had zero data around it.
“Right now we are above the number that we have assigned as our [NPS] goal, and 71 is the current number that we have…,” said Domila. “So, that's been a real game changer for us. That's a pretty high ROI for us.”
Not only has Grata’s NPS surpassed the goal they initially set, there’s also company-wide visibility around NPS responses, thanks to Vitally’s Slack integration.
“The NPS score is in our Slack, which is visible to the entire company,” said Domila. “So sales can be happy when they see that a customer that they sold gives us a 10; [CSMs] can be happy when they see a customer that they built a relationship with gives us a 10; Our leadership team can be happy to know that we're doing our jobs over here on the Customer Success side, and that sales is selling into the right markets.”
Grata’s executive leadership team is also able to operationalize customer data to support their go-to-market strategy.
“Our CSMs are able to actually translate what they have in their brains after having conversations with our customers,” said Domila. “Then they put it [in Vitally] where our CEO or COO can go in and say, ‘Oh, this is what's happening with the bulk of our revenue’; ‘These are the customers that are happy’; ‘These are the customers that are not’; ‘These are the segments that I can see in Vitally that are doing really well for us, so our sales team should double down on them.’”
Aside from NPS, another feature that Grata’s Customer Success team loves to leverage is Playbooks.
“It doesn't sound really, you know, like a game changer—but it really is—to be able to automatically add a user into the platform to an account, and then they get an automated outreach from that CSM that says, ‘Hey, welcome to Grata. I'm your CSM. Let me know if you're interested in training!’ said Domila. “We've actually seen an uptick in our monthly active users and our power users after I launched that specific playbook.”
Playbooks that support CSMs and customers alike throughout the customer lifecycle have also been a game-changer for Grata’s Customer Success team.
“I'm launching a lot of different playbooks around onboarding and renewals,” said Domila. “So, for onboarding, making sure that not only do our Customer Success Managers know that they have to onboard a customer, but now, especially for new hires, they know how to onboard that customer. They know the specific questions they're supposed to be asking. They know when they should be reaching out. They know their timelines.”
Playbooks, along with other Vitally features, are also supporting Domila and her team in developing institutional knowledge around Customer Success processes.
“My team, generally, is very young in terms of their experience. I’m able to have that discussion with them about—this is how you do this thing, and this is why we're doing this thing—and then have it recorded in Vitally with projects and tasks…” said Domila. “Being able to see what they need to do to be successful, and have it be a part of every single account that they go through, the ROI there really is being able to train my team up much more quickly than I could have without Vitally.”
Domila also encourages her team to leverage Vitally in order to further level-up their Customer Success skills.
“Right now I have the team building out dashboards for their particular accounts,” said Domila. “The way that I explained that to them is, you know, every enterprise Customer Success Manager, anyone who's going to reach the upper echelons of their career, they're going to need to have and track specific metrics for their accounts so that they can talk to anyone, at any time, about what's happening with the relationships they're building. Vitally is pretty integral to that.”
Vitally has also helped Grata’s Customer Success team identify, and track, critical metrics that were not previously on their radar.
“Single user seats. So, this wasn't a metric for us last year, it wasn't really even on our radar. Through setting [Vitally] up and getting that customer information into the platform, we were able to see that we had a lot of single user seats that accounted for the majority of our churn,” said Domila. “That is now a metric we track for 2022, and something that we are working against… but that was only kind of brought out and visible after putting that customer data into Vitally.”
Customer evangelists are another key Customer Success initiative the Grata team has been able to take action on and track since implementing Vitally.
“Something else that we track through Vitally that we couldn't do before is our evangelists…” said Domila. “We want to provide those customers with tokens of appreciation. We had no way of tracking that beforehand. We had no way of seeing, or even determining, what kind of KPI we should have for that, but we can now track that through Vitally, and we are almost halfway to our 2022 goal of having about a third of our customers be evangelists. So that's pretty fantastic for us.”
Ultimately, Domila feels that Grata has achieved their desired outcome with implementing Vitally, and they’ve just started to scratch the surface of what Vitally can do.
“I do think, without a doubt, that Vitally has solved the original problem that we had which was, understanding what our customer engagement is, how we're building our relationships with our customers, tracking who is in charge of particular accounts, tracking how much they're paying, etc. using a Customer Success team,” said Domila. “That was not going to be possible through Google Sheets, but it's definitely possible now through Vitally.”
So, does Grata recommend Vitally? Well, they actually wish they would’ve recommended it to themselves months earlier.
“It's a shame that we didn't have [Vitally] beforehand because I think that we would have been in a much stronger position starting out 2022 if we had onboarded Vitally earlier in the year to really get the full picture for some of the accounts that were renewing this year,” said Domila.
Aside from achieving Grata’s desired outcome with Vitally, Grata’s Customer Success team also loves that Vitally is always looking for ways to improve and innovate.
“What sets Vitally apart is, 1) They have a great CSM team over there. So that's fantastic, being in the same kind of industry. They're very responsive,” said Domila. “2) I really like the fact that they are a little bit of a younger company. That means that they're looking for ways to innovate. They're looking for ways to keep their customers focused.”
As a Customer Success veteran, Domila is thrilled that Customer Success professionals are no longer an afterthought, tacked on to hand-me-down sales technology.
“I've been in Customer Success for a long period of time. I’ve been in startups, and in a very large corporation, and there hasn't ever been, at any of those companies, a platform dedicated to Customer Success specifically. It's always been some sort of sales CRM that Customer Success is kind of added or tacked into it,” said Domila. “With vitally we actually have a dedicated CRM just for us.”
Customer data can play an enormous role in driving Customer Success. Customer data management empowers companies to personalize each customer's experience and to proactively maintain its relationship with buyers. This leads to extended customer lifetime value and increased profits.
When a customer indicates they're ready to go, it's vital that the experience not be negative; the cancellation flow presents an untapped opportunity to present subscribers with an alternative to ending service.
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