Customer Lifecycle Data Best Practices

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  • Updated 5 months ago
Good Afternoon-

I'm the new Gainsight admin for my company, and we're almost ready to roll out some new features to our CSM team.  

One of the last steps before roll-out is to define which lifecycle stage (New Client, Onboarding, Adoption, Expansion, Renewal, Retention Roadmap, etc.) each customer currently resides.

What are best practices for which database (GS or SFDC) this type of information should live in?

What are pros/cons of each location?

We're running with relationships if that makes any difference in best practices.

Thanks for the help!

-Jim
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James Whitehead

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Posted 5 months ago

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Seth, Employee

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We have two picklists on the Account, so that we can describe things from our perspective versus the customer's perspective:
  • Lifecycle Stage: Implementation, Live, Renewal (which actually populates from the Opportunity Stage on the open renewal)

  • Customer Journey Stage: Understand the Problem, Evaluate the Options, Trust Solution & Gain Confidence, Exposure, Routine, Impact, Use Case Expansion
We don't use Relationships, which may or may not impact the best practices here. The advantage to a picklist with history tracking is that you can create automations in Gainsight triggered by how long a customer has been in a stage, or triggered on customers who moved from one stage to the next stage 'yesterday', 'last week', whatever.
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James Whitehead

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Thanks for the prompt reply.

I'm all for picklists for the reasons you stated. 

Do you use automation to push a customer from one stage to the next once certain criteria are fulfilled (with the picklists set so SDFC users cannot manually update the stages), or do you rely on your CSM team to change the stages based on CTAs which are triggered by your set internal rules for when a client should move stages? i.e. from Implementation-->Live, etc.?
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Jeff Kirkpatrick, Champion

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We are leveraging triggered CTAs to capture the actions that move customers through to each phase. Then as each action gets completed we have rules that look for the completion of those CTAs to move the Phase (which for us lives on Customer Info). Phase is not editable by CSMs. I woeked at a different company before where we had an editable stage field and you have to be so careful because if someone for some reason manually overrode the field - and we had automation dependent on it - the automation could really get thrown out of whack and you inadvertently trigger things you didn’t intend.
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Seth, Employee

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We would love to be in Jeff's world, or even his old world, but we're still in the fully-manual stage. :-) For better or worse, it at least doesn't get complicated with automations! It does put the onus on the CSMs' managers to reinforce behavior in their 1:1s, ideally helped by a list of customers who've been in a certain stage for an awfully long time.
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Jeff Kirkpatrick, Champion

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Be careful what you wish for Seth!  LOL  Automation is awesome but has a lion's share of pain sometimes.