Integrating Planhat with Hubspot to improve NRR and upsells

7 min read

In times of intense innovation and change, the need for Learning & Development to support organizations and their people is more important than ever. And more and more companies are leveraging technologies in the form of learning platforms and content to help their teams.

Since 2018, THRIVE Learning has provided a solution for this. The global company, headquartered in the UK, runs a learning and skills platform growing at hyperspeed, helping organizations achieve their long-term business objectives using learning development and communications.

With THRIVE’s SaaS solution, teams can innovate learning and training, improve communications, grow skills and increase employee engagement. It uses data-driven personalized learning recommendations at the core and offers an all-in-one approach to upskilling, communications, and collaborative knowledge sharing.

Today, companies like Sysco, Matalan, Ted Baker, and Sky all work with THRIVE. However, growing at such a speed meant that THRIVE faced another challenge: keeping track of their customers' health and making sure everyone got the best possible customer experience. That's when they discovered Planhat.

| The Challenges

  • Need to track and report on NRR to better understand business opportunities.

  • Difficulty getting an overview of customers health.

  • Using Hubspot as the CRM for existing customers didn’t work.

  • A vision to make the customer experience essential for all departments

Any subscription and consumption-based business quickly becomes a game of numbers. And, for a Chief Operating Officer like Ryan O'Connell, it becomes a game of letters.

Being a COO, Ryan provided direction to ensure the best possible customer experience and to help ensure THRIVE can combine that with being a profitable business.

Among many other things, he was tracking Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), but he wanted to start monitoring Net Revenue Retention (NRR)(learn more why NRR is such an important metric for subscription businesses here).

"The problem was that we were using Hubspot as our CRM for all our existing customers. And in reality, it didn't work. There was no feasible way I could get an overview of our NRR using Hubspot."

Ryan started looking around for a new tool. And as always, when you start looking for alternative ways of working, you realize there are plenty of things that could improve.

Therefore, if any new customer software was to be implemented, it had to fill three different criteria:

  • Making it possible to report on NRR to understand better whether they were meeting their customer's needs and expanding their business in the long run.

  • Integrating with Hubspot so that the data received in the early stages of the customer journey was integrated with the customer software - and ensuring no information was lost in the process.

  • Measuring the customers' health to better understand when the customers were about to churn - before the customers even knew it themselves.

And on top of these criteria, Ryan O'Connell himself had a bigger vision of what a customer platform could achieve.

"Our customers' experience isn't only something the customer success department cares about. Everybody prioritizes it at THRIVE. And if we get the right tool in place, it would help us cement this in place."

| The Solution

  • Planhat’s flexibility and pricing model gives every department access to the platform.

  • Sales and marketing use Planhat for a better understanding of customers.

  • Customer Operations and Customer Success can create a better customer experience.

  • The management team gets a better overview and more correct business insights.

With THRIVE Learning being a data-focused company, there was a lot to include during the eight-week implementation. Still, with Planhat being on a similar trajectory of hypergrowth, there was a mutual understanding of what needed to be done:

"From the start, I could sense what a game changer this could be. From increasing visibility of customer insights to making it easier to pick up conversations if a colleague is off or away or viewing company performance, I could tell Planhat would improve both the customer experience and our processes."

THRIVE used Planhat's flexibility and the pricing model with unlimited seating, giving every department access to the platform.

Sales are using Planhat to match appropriate references for their prospects. With most THRIVE customers being solid advocates, a reference call is always easy to find. And with Planhat, the sales reps can find the best reference based on company size, sector and usage.

Marketing are using Planhat to find case studies. Whenever they plan a campaign, it's easy to see which customers are using what features and services, how successful they are and whether or not that would be a great case study.

Customer Operations uses it to manage implementations, invoicing, and setting up new customers.

The Customer Success department uses it for tracking health scores and playbooks. Internally, the processes for renewals have always been in place, but due to human nature, it wasn't always followed. But with the playbooks in Planhat, it works automatically.

Finally, the management team uses Planhat to get crucial business insights, and the tech team uses it to get data about product adoption.

"The whole organization is using Planhat. Now we all have a finger on the pulse of our customers. And for us, the insights Planhat gives us are crucial. We ask ourselves, every decision we make - does this improve the customer experience? If it doesn't, it has to be kicked out. And if it does, let's do more! "

| The Results

  • Smooth integration with Hubspot allows leadership to track NRR.

  • Increased license upsells due to better customer visibility.

  • Planhat’s versatility reduces overall tech stack and licensing costs.

  • Customers at risk are identified early on, resulting in lower churn.

Today, Planhats integration with Hubspot works smoothly, Ryan O'Connell's team can track health scores, and the whole leadership team can follow NRR to see the growth of their business.

But using Planhat as a customer platform for all THRIVE’s teams has proven to bring much more value than he initially hoped for.

Together with the team at Planhat, Ryan identified two different use cases to prioritize early on, and they can already see the results.

One of the projects is about consolidating and organizing all their customer data.

"It has helped us review our tech stack and reduce the number of platforms we use. For example, we no longer need Zoho for project management since we can use Planhat instead. And by integrating Planhat with Zendesk, we have been able to move some users from Zendesk into Planhat. So by organizing all our customer data, we have been able to reduce licensing costs. "

Another project has focused on finding ways to identify customers at risk as early on as possible.

"Even before Planhat, we had incredibly high retention rates. And we wanted to ensure we maintained them. Now that we track health scores, we can better understand where there are churn risks and what customers we should focus. "

Overall, with the use of Planhat, everybody at THRIVE has better visibility of their customers, which helps them see what value they create today - and where they can create even more value in the future.

"Our license upsells are 24% higher this year than last year. Now we can see when customers are approaching their license limit and speak to them beforehand. It's all thanks to the visibility we get from our customers. "

In the end, Ryan O'Connell got more out of THRIVE’s new software than he originally was hoping for.

"At Thrive, we always put our customer's experience first. And with Planhat, all areas of our business can see this. Who is getting the most value from our product? Who is adopting well? How are our customers becoming successful, thanks to their partnership with us? These are key questions for us, and by using Planhat as a customer platform - we finally have an answer to them. "

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