Gainsight vs Planhat vs ???

vurveyandrew Member Posts: 4 Newcomer
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Hi, I just started this week as VP Customer Success at a company that works with enterprise brands and connects them with creators/influencers on the platform. We are scrapping the entire tech stock of Hubspot/Asana/Klaviyo and I am looking to implement a full-scale CSM software to scale and grow the company this year. We are looking at Gainsight but I am a little concerned about the price (we will need 3-6 seats and have about 50 customer accounts currently, growing to probably 100-150 by year-end. I would love to get any feedback on cost, value, ease of set up and training for employees between these two options or another one you may have experience with that might be better. Our budget is $500-$2500/mo depending on the value and ROI of the stack. Thank you!


  • Børge Solberg
    Børge Solberg Member Posts: 9 Contributor
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    Hi! Could you tell us a little bit more about what you are looking for in CS software? What are your expectations? What goals do You want to achieve? How does you post-sales org look like? What integrations are you dependent on? 

    On a more general basis I think the different CS softwares have a lot in common, and there's often small variances. But UI/UX is quite different. 

    Chris Hicken (follow him on LinkedIn, he's awesome) has done a fantastic job getting data from the major CS vendors and put it all in a nice table.

    I would add that even though there's a checkmark doesn't mean that the functionality is great.
    Like with integrations, there's some integrations that only pull the minimum amount of data and maybe even only one way.

    We use Planhat, and would recommend it!

  • vurveyandrew
    vurveyandrew Member Posts: 4 Newcomer
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    That is super helpful. We are a bit unique in that we have enterprise customers with different business units (Unilever with 9 brands, all technically with separate workspaces and teams, but under one umbrella account) and we also have a creator base of users that provide insights and video content for the brands. We have two very different clientele that we are trying to achieve similar CS-type outcomes but through very different means. Ideally, the software would help us tackle both sides of the business. Hopefully, that adds some depth to my question. I am planning to look at, Planhat, and Gainsight, which seem to be affordable, less affordable, enterprise-level options. Our team is still small but our growth curve is becoming difficult to manage we need scalable tools and systems so need to put something in place but can't spend 6 months building and learning the platform... The classic problem I assume many companies face. Thank you for your help!
  • PankajGRZ
    PankajGRZ Member Posts: 4 Newcomer
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    Hi @vurveyandrew

    As per our experience, Gainsight is scalable and easy to integrate with numerous other systems. But apart from expensive licensing, It takes a lot of effort and expertise in Implementation, configuration, and customization.
  • dkarp1965
    dkarp1965 Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    That's all great advice and insights for you @vurveyandrew.  As has been noted, these platforms all rise and fall with the quality of your underlying data, and it's essential to start there.  For example, if your CRM isn't clean and you don't have core account, contact, and revenue data (and a solid source for your usage patterns) it will be difficult to realize the value of the CSP.

    There is a meaningful difference between CRM and CSP, and getting the right foundational CRM (e.g Salesforce) in place will inform your readiness and options for CSP.  You can often make a lot of progress with the CRM by itself before you need to add the expense of a CSP.

    Please feel free to reach out directly if you'd like to chat 1:1 or go deeper in the conversation.  Congrats on your new leadership opportunity!
  • vurveyandrew
    vurveyandrew Member Posts: 4 Newcomer
    First Comment
    Thank you all for your helpful comments and direct messages. As I am doing 1-1s with team members, it is clear the lack of clarity, process and roles is weighing heavily on the team. Launching the right stack to alleviate these issues is a major opportunity for quick wins, both internally for the team as well as externally for our clients and growth targets. Looking forward to continuing to lean into this community for support. Thank you!
  • ZCross
    ZCross Member Posts: 1 Newcomer
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    Having used GS for years, I found it was great for tracking things like CSAT responses and performing bulk mailouts, but agree that it really does require an FTE to get it functioning at a high level. We rolled out Planhat at Workvivo and have found it pretty straightforward and much more cost-effective. I've also used Amity and Totango previously and would say that Planhat requires minimal training (admin and end users) and does everything you'd need day-to-day. 
  • amckay
    amckay Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    First Comment
    Everyone above has added really great feedback already. I have used Totango and Gainsight. I hands down prefer Totango especially with no Ops or Gainsight admin resource and quick implementation timeframe but there were some limitations at the time (6ish years ago) but they have evolved their product quite a bit since then. They are also easy to migrate out of if your team out grows it. 

    Also, depending on your CRM you could potentially build an object within the account and run CS from there. I’m in the process of doing this as my team is struggling with how Gainsight structures things (we have complex hierarchies as well). We plan to use our CRM (salesforce) plus some of our own tools to help with automation, success plans and use case tracking but still figuring out a few things. 

    If you go with Gainsight, which is a great tool, my caution is same as others, you need a dedicated admin who knows what they are doing. Otherwise your team will be frustrated and you as a leader will not get the value. And that’s a hefty cost to not get value. 
  • ianwelles
    ianwelles Member Posts: 17 Navigator
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    If I were going to buy today I would choose vitally. Gainsight demos are questionable. The expense is obvious. The feature set is incredible, but could you use it this your or in the next 3 years?

  • NaomiAiken
    NaomiAiken Member Posts: 8 Navigator
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    @vurveyandrew - Did you consider ChurnZero? I used to work for CZ and the product is so powerful - it has all the features you need and more. You won't need a full time admin like you would with Gainsight but you do need to plan. The thing is, no matter which CSP you choose you should make sure you are prepared to dedicate time to implement it, configure it, and maintain it. Happy to tell you more about my experience with CSPs if you want.


  • rdesmarais
    rdesmarais Member Posts: 14 Navigator
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    Gainsight is the most expensive customer success platform out there. And they are not prone to discounting in order to match any other solution in the bidding. Pricing discounting is not what Gainsight is prone to do. They are significantly more expensive than other solutions. I recently conducted an RFP considering Gainsight, Totango, and Churn Zero a few months ago. That said, Gainsight is bloody brilliant.

    As for Planhat, I recall demoing their product about 5 years ago. I loved it. It's difficult to remember the details after all these years (we ended up choosing HubSpot), but I recall being very impressed by how easy it was to implement and it had a unique feel to it.

  • siddjin
    siddjin Member Posts: 1 Newcomer
    First Comment

    All these tools help capture objective data pretty well. You can create automated workflows, triggers for Churn, and upsell opportunities.

    However, is predicting Churn completely objective?

    For example, churn reasons can be - a competitor pitched, expecting a new feature ASAP, Point of Contact Changed, and the new POC has used a tool previously.

    Similarly, a standard heuristic can be modeled after Product Usage and CSAT for Predicting Upsell. But, I have seen clients using a verticalized competitor tool for a specific use case. And although they are happy with us, they are also satisfied with them and want to stick to their product.

    But I found this problematic. Is this an isolated observation, or do you feel the same way?

    PS) I am also exploring a CS Tool for us at LimeChat - I would love to get in touch with anyone who can share their experience with CS Tools.

  • Jim Jones
    Jim Jones Member Posts: 25 Expert
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    I'm late to the party here...but @vurveyandrew I'm in a similar boat as you. Our company has about 700 customers total, and our CS team is covering ~100 of them in a high-touch model. I have 3 CSMs on the team, and I am the head of CS/CX.

    I looked at Gainsight briefly, but it's not a fit for us. Too expensive and, as someone else said, it pretty much requires a full-time administrator. I also looked at Planhat, ChurnZero and ClientSuccess. CZ and CS are both viable options for smaller shops. We ended up purchasing if you'd like some insight into the good and the bad of their platform, just hit me up.