Pleo Deciphers their Customer Base with Vitally’s Data-Driven Automation

“We wanted to try out a new [Customer Success Platform], some new player on the block who could give us an edge. [The platform] that fit our culture and our needs the best was Vitally.”

Who is Pleo?

Nikolas Artadi, Business Solution Analyst @ Pleo 

Peter Sterkenburg, Revenue Operations Manager, Tech and Infrastructure @ Pleo

Providing a spend and expense management platform for European-based companies, from SMB to Enterprise, Pleo is a fintech unicorn simplifying bookkeeping, eliminating expense reports, and revolutionizing businesses. Trusted by Lyst, IDC, Hello Fresh, and 20,000 other European companies, Pleo continues to grow across industry verticals allowing companies to scale and stay in control of their spending. 

Check out Pleo’s Customer Story

Deciphering their Customer Base: The Challenges

  • CRM prevented the team from understanding who their customers were.
  • Customer Success Managers didn’t have the proper tools or platform where they could experiment and grow. 
  • Without a view of a customer's lifecycle and a clear understanding of their customer base, why and which customers churned was a mystery. 

One of the biggest pain points faced by Pleo was not having enough clarity about their customer base. They had a ton of customer data, but they didn’t have it in a proper platform to really understand who their customers were and why some customers were churning. 

“We didn’t know who our customers were [before working with Vitally],” says Nikolas. “At least we didn't know which customers were churned. [We wanted to] understand our data better [so we could] understand our customers better.” 

The initial plan was to have everything in a CRM, specifically Hubspot, for sales, support, and even Customer Success. Unfortunately, the CRM couldn’t provide Pleo’s Customer Success team with the tools they needed to best serve their customers. 

“Prior to Vitally, we had everything in HubSpot. We use HubSpot for support, HubSpot for sales, and [initially] HubSpot for Customer Success. At that point, we just were in a box,” says Nikolas. “I felt we were reaching that wall where you're like, ‘what's going on right now [with our customers]?’ and a lot of our CSMs had that [same feeling]” using a CRM for customer success processes. 

The breaking point for Pleo was realizing their Customer Success Managers, as Nikolas recalls, couldn’t move anymore. Customer Success Managers could no longer grow in the CRM, and their data was not an accurate depiction of the customer and what they needed. 

“The moment where we really hit the wall was when we noticed that our CSMs could not move,” says Nikolas. In our CRM, “[our CSMs] couldn’t move further and grow. [We needed] a playground for our CSMs where they [could] grow on their own [and this] shared space,” prevented our CSMs from doing just that. Overall, “we needed to understand the current health of our customers,” and a CRM wasn’t making the cut anymore. 

Picture Perfect Customer Views: The Solution

  • Easy integration with their current tech stack.
  • Clear depiction of customer health allowed Customer Success Managers to serve customers better and anticipate their needs.
  • Customer Success Managers can make data-driven decisions, experiment, and ultimately grow. 

The Pleo team tried out, demoed, and trialed various solutions, but when it came down to it, Vitally was the best fit. 

“We wanted to try out a new [Customer Success Platform], some new player on the block who could give us an edge. [The platform] that fit our culture and our needs the best was Vitally.”

For Nikolas, Vitally’s seamless integration and ability to quickly show the status of customers and reasons for churn was a game changer for Pleo’s Customer Success team. 

“Integrating Vitally to our tech stack was extremely easy. It was by far the easiest integration I've done. [Vitally] was the smoothest to implement, like a couple of clicks and done,” says Nikolas. Overall, “Vitally’s plug-and-play approach to integrating with our system was great.” Nikolas also added that Vitally’s “feature [where you can] flip a switch and know who is churned and why that customer has churned is so valuable. Like that is really, really great,” says Nikolas. Knowing who has churned and why “gives accessibility for our CSMs to really dig into what's going on there.” 

As the Revenue Operations Manager at Pleo, Peter dealt a lot with the integration process and was surprised by how easy it was to do with their current tech stack as well. 

“Integrating [Vitally] with the rest of our tech stack is doing really well [and] it's actually pretty easy,” recalls Peter. “We use a lot of other tools. We really enjoy the BigQuery and Census integrations,” as well as “the setups with HubSpot and Intercom.” 

With their integrations established, Pleo’s Customer Success team had a clear view of their customer data, product usage, and in general, a better understanding of their customer’s needs. 

“We wanted to better understand our customers and the data they utilize, and [Vitally’s ability to track that information] was a very appealing criterion for us,” says Nikolas. Vitally’s “data-driven approach gives a better understanding [of customers by showing us who] is utilizing what traits and what's going on in an account.” So with Vitally and our now clearer understanding of our customers, “we are enabling [our CSMs] with an open opportunity for engaging with the customer in the right way.”

Being able to engage with their customers in a more meaningful way while still pursuing their tech-touch Customer Success model was an invaluable capability for the Pleo team with Vitally. 

“Our prime customers are SMBs, and our approach to business is more tech-touch. Our ratio between customer success and customer is pretty high. We have approximately 20 CSMs per company segment,” says Nikolas. “If we look at our SMB segment, we roughly have a ratio of 1000 customers per CSM.” But this is “where Vitally actually adds the most value to us,” says Nikolas, “because it really enables our CSMs to approach customers in a tech-touch way. They don't need to really go into detail about every single customer. They can see this with a broad view [of the customer] within the platform.” 

Regarding the features they are using in the platform, Peter had a lot to share about their adoption of many Vitally features that are accelerating their CS team. 

“We leverage the automation capabilities really extensively,” says Peter. “We have more than 70 playbooks running right now, and there's way more coming! [We use Vitally] from assignments to engagements to triggers to notifications to well, anything and everything really.” Overall, “the features we use the most are dashboards, decks, cards, automation, notes, and tasks because that helps us consolidate a lot of actions, engagement, and outreach with our customers.”  

As mentioned, understanding their customers and how they are using the platform was a major goal. To gain this insight, Pleo is now a big user of the health scores feature and automation capabilities in Vitally. 

“We are using customer health scores in different ways, both for onboarding and for adoption,” shares Peter. “We have something in place [where we] funnel in data points that we bring to Vitally through BigQuery that are coming from our back end.” Ultimately, “we use that to build a multi-level health score, which is constantly being iterated on as we learn more on how to use it and how the data points interact with each other.” 

With their live customer health scores in a Vitally dashboard, Customer Success Managers at Pleo better understand their customers and are aware of at-risk customers early on. 

“The automation in Vitally has helped surface at-risk customers at a much earlier stage, especially since we are dealing with such huge numbers of customers per season,” says Peter. “That has helped us to really know the customer and to also be able to collectively build the right processes for the right interventions at the right time.” 

Vitally’s latest product feature, Docs, is another feature on the horizon for Pleo. 

Though “we are not actively using Docs yet,” says Peter, “I see a huge potential. Especially for creating a shared space with our larger customers to keep them accountable and to make sure that everything stays on track. I think [Docs] has huge potential [for us], and I think it has better possibilities than other portals that are out there.” 

Vitally at Pleo isn’t just for Customer Success. The platform is actually being used by multiple teams as a single source of truth for their data. 

“We actually have many teams using Vitally right now,” says Peter. “From sales to finance to product to support to due diligence. We are a fintech, so we need people to check up on all kinds of data.” Also, according to Peter, teams “are actively using [Vitally] to input date, write notes, create tasks, while other [teams] simply need to have visibility into certain data points.” 

Why Pleo Recommends Vitally to Other Customer Success Teams?

  • Full visibility into customer health in one dashboard. 
  • Plug-and-play-integration capabilities. 
  • Enables their tech-touch model

With Vitally, “we are definitely on track to achieve our desired outcomes,” says Peter. “There are still things within the tool that we're not actively using, but we intend to where applicable, as with any tool. There are always things that are not relevant for [every] specific use case, but we want to adopt [new and existing features] as fully as humanly possible.” 

The flexibility of Vitally and its data-driven platform continues to be a highlight for Pleo. 

Even with Vitally being “a fairly new player in the market, there is a lot of opportunity for growth everywhere,” says Nikolas. Additionally, “the flexibility that Vitally gives us” is a major perk for Pleo. “A lot of other tools are very niche, very narrowed down into a path. What sets Vitally apart is that “it's very data-driven and oriented towards your product.” 

Does Pleo recommend Vitally to other Customer Success teams? We’re excited to report *drum roll please* the answer is yes!

“I have worked with a total of six Customer Success tools now, Vitally being the sixth,” says Peter. “[Vitally] stands out when it comes to flexibility and power [of its] automation. I also think it's very useful when it comes to bringing in a lot of different data sources. I would recommend Vitally to anyone considering a customer success tool.” 

See how Vitally serves as the single source of truth for Customer Success teams, allowing them to perform data-driven decision-making and fulfill customer desires. Get an inside look at the Vitally platform with a free trial when you schedule a demo today.

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