Q&A with Grant Reeves, VP of Customer Operations with Sana Benefits: Scaling CS Operations
Updated: Sep 11
Sana Benefits is a comprehensive benefits provider that brings self-funded plans and fair-
market healthcare pricing to the nation’s 28 million small businesses. The company was
experiencing growth rates that doubled the size of its customer base every year, so they needed a solution that could help scale its customer success (CS) organization to effectively serve customers without hiring more customer success managers (CSMs).
nCloud Integrators assisted Sana Benefits with its Gainsight Essentials Plus implementation.
Grant Reeves, VP of Customer Operations, discusses how the company streamlined its renewal process and incorporated automation to enable CSMs to spend more time proactively managing customers.
What did you want to accomplish with your Gainsight implementation?
Our main goal was scaling our CS function and reducing what we call “Cost to Serve.” Our
objective is to reduce our Cost to Serve by 20 percent while maintaining the same level of
service and customer interaction. As a company, we are growing very quickly and, traditionally, we hire new CSMs based on our customer growth. So, with “X” number of new customers, we hired a new CSM. However, with our current growth rates, this was not a sustainable business model. We wanted to make our CS function more scalable and efficient without hiring new CSMs, so we decided to find a tool that could help us accomplish this. That tool was Gainsight.
The second goal was to be more proactive in our management of customers. Each CSM at
Sana manages a large book of business. We wanted a tool that enabled them to switch from being reactive to proactively managing customer relationships. To do this, we incorporated some automation into the customer journey while keeping the personal touch that is so important with customer relationships.
The third goal was to have one tool where all of our customer information was managed. We
had multiple tools like Salesforce, Zendesk and some other internal tools that housed our
customer information. Our CSMs were operating in so many different systems to find the
information they needed, which was very inefficient. nCloud Integrators helped us pull in this disparate data into Gainsight. We now have a one-stop shop for our CSMs.
How have you experienced any measurable efficiencies through your use of Gainsight?
When we implemented Gainsight, we were immediately able to unlock the ability to manage
customer health and automate customer journeys. Both of these things enabled us to scale our customer success function and more efficiently support our customers. We were at a point in our company's growth where we needed to innovate to support our customers with technology and a tool like Gainsight. Customer success is changing to a more scaled model versus a one-to-one or one-to-mini model. CSMs have a larger book of business, and we needed to make them more efficient without losing the personalization. nCloud Integrators helped us implement Gainsight in a way that is enabling us to find the right balance.
One of our initial focuses was on the renewal process. Each of our CSMs were spending 20 to 30 minutes per customer renewal, which is a repetitive, administrative process. Let’s say one CSM has 100 renewals each month and is spending 20 minutes on these renewals. Automating this process saved the CSM 2,000 minutes per month out of the gate. nCloud Integrators was able to help us quickly streamline this part of our customer journey so we could see an immediate time to value with Gainsight, and at the same time, provide more value-added interactions with our customers.
Also as a health care payer, we have a very seasonal business. Open enrollment is in
January, and then we are very busy October through December. This year with our growth, we are going to be faced with unprecedented volume during the last quarter, but we now have a solution that helps us solve for much of this seasonality by incorporating automation into our administrative activities.
How are you using Customer Health to improve your operations?
nCloud Integrators helped us build a health score with five or six metrics that are important to us in the health insurance industry that indicate renewal likelihood. Some of these were pulled from data metrics stored in various systems and others were manual inputs. All of this data was merged into one comprehensive health score for CSMs. Based on these metrics, we are able to unlock insights that allow us to better track and manage renewal opportunities and take specific actions based on each customer’s score.
What was the biggest advantage of using nCloud Integrators to help with your
Our consultant was great about letting us get our hands dirty, coaching us along the way and making best-practice recommendations. nCloud Integrators empowered our team to learn the software with homework and hands-on activities during the implementation process. There was a great balance between letting us learn by doing some of the things on our own, and nCloud completing some tasks on the back end. Because of this process, I feel comfortable with the administration going forward.
Did nCloud help you overcome any difficult hurdles?
Gainsight is a very robust tool, so there were times when we would get stuck and nCloud was able to find creative solutions. Our core business model is probably different from a lot of other organizations that use Gainsight. nCloud helped us apply the basic functionality of Gainsight to things like claims, enrollments and other processes within health claims administration. We were able to translate business rules and utilizations to create Calls-to-Action (CTA’s) that made sense for our organization. Without nCloud’s help, we would have been in the dark.
Do you have any helpful tips for other companies looking to implement Gainsight?
I love working in Gainsight, but it's a time-consuming tool to administer. My advice would be to have the resources ready going into the implementation, use the Gainsight education and support tools that are available online, and invest the time upfront to learn the platform. We put a lot of focus on Gainsight this year because we realize the return will be worth the time invested.
What are your next steps going forward?
We love Gainsight so much that we purchased five more seats to help manage the entire post-sales customer experience, which includes onboarding, open enrollment, customer success and renewals. Now we will work on getting our implementation team into Gainsight. Once we have our entire post-sales team of 25 up and running, we will iterate additional functionality based on what will have the biggest impact.
Is there a process to use to determine what next steps in Gainsight will have the biggest impact?
We work with our product and finance team to model out our resources and how much time they are spending on various activities. For example, we initially decided to focus on the renewal process because we determined that this was where CSMs were spending around 65 percent of their time. We will continue to make enhancements based on where the analysis shows we can save the most amount of time.