North America
Customer Success, Product Experience

Mavenlink Masters Product-Market Fit with Gainsight PX and CS Data Insights

Mavenlink, a leader in professional services SaaS, leveraged Gainsight PX and CS to develop data-driven frameworks, tracking adoption, addiction, and attitude metrics, ultimately boosting client retention.


accuracy in predicting retention

This client health signal tool we built has been able to predict Mavenlink client retention with an 86% degree of accuracy. This allows us to plan our headcount, product roadmap, and business resources accordingly.

Sabina Pons
VP of Client Success and Support at Mavenlink

Mavenlink was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Orange County, California. As the leading SaaS platform for professional services and creative organizations, Mavenlink enables customers to deliver project outcomes across a global footprint quickly and profitably. The Mavenlink product portfolio includes five product areas that help clients deliver successful project outcomes: Resource Management, Project Management, Team Collaboration, Project Accounting, and Business Intelligence. Mavenlink’s mission is to reinvent the way services organisations manage their work by providing comprehensive project delivery and resource management tools available on a platform that is backed by experienced services consultants. The company has doubled its headcount over the past two years. Over 400 Mavens help the company serve over 3,000 clients, including SAP, Salesforce, Target, and Qualtrics.


Mavenlink’s success is a result of its focus on finding, maintaining, and increasing product fit with the needs of customers. According to Jared Haleck, Senior Vice President of Product, “Product leaders need to always be searching for, improving, and defending product-market fit.” Haleck defines product-market fit as the product that meets the needs of underserved customers better than the competition. Says Haleck, “We believe that the product is what distinguishes successful companies from unsuccessful ones. It is therefore incumbent upon everyone at the company to pursue product-market fit.”

For Mavenlink’s product managers, measuring progress toward the company’s product-market fit objective and creating a useful data-driven framework for doing so is a continuing challenge. According to Haleck, productmarket fit is best measured by retainable ARR, or simply put, retention. Product management’s goal is to track retention and consistently monitor progress towards it through adjustments in the product and other areas such as customer success and support.

Retention, however, is a lagging indicator of productmarket fit. Despite the fact that a customer may purchase a product, Haleck knows that doesn’t necessarily mean they are satisfied with it. Users will decide whether or not to renew with Mavenlink instead of the competition once they have had enough time to use Mavenlink’s product and compare it against alternatives.

Haleck describes the challenge this presents: “As product leaders, we have to think about the components of retention–the leading and operational indicators that can influence the lagging indicator of retention as it relates to product-market fit.”

As a result, Mavenlink’s product and customer service teams need to dig deeper into customer data to understand their attitudes and behaviors, assess the impact of these indicators on retention, and give advice on how to improve product-market fit.


With the help of Gainsight PX and CS, Mavenlink Product and Customer Success teams collaborated to develop a data framework that tracks and measures leading and operational indicators across customer behavioral and attitude dimensions.

The team combines product telemetry data with sales and marketing data from Gainsight PX and Gainsight CS to create these indicators. Leading indicators include data from sales and marketing, such as customer acquisition costs, revenue growth rates, and conversion rates. Operational indicators include traditional product telemetry data, such as differentiated features, as well as what Haleck refers to as “adoption, addiction, and attitude” measurements.

Adoption, addiction and attitude metrics are particularly important for retention. Harris Eilenberg, Mavenlink’s Manager of Customer Success Operations and Gainsight Admin emphasizes, “It’s about driving adoption and usage to meet the business outcomes needs of our customers. These customer outcomes will be achieved by using a range of different products.” To increase adoption, it is crucial that product management track usage data, logins, page views, clicks, and calculated fields like the percent of users performing an activity or the total number of objects created. Eilenberg notes that Gainsight is integral to this process, “We’ve been able to leverage the integration of Gainsight CS and Gainsight PX…After we understand these usage factors, we can then measure that usage in specific product areas and drive the development of those products to increase adoption by our clients.”

Mavenlink also uses the Gainsight Adoption Explorer to create client segment reports showing how each client uses the five individual product areas in comparison with other clients. The Product and Customer Success teams benchmark and compare these adoption metrics between clients. It’s useful because, says Eilenberg, “In areas where we see high usage, there may be opportunities for success stories and references. Ultimately, however, we’re looking for ways to expand and renew. In areas with lower usage, we need to figure out why. We examine if the problem is due to business objectives, tools the client is using, or a lack of training and services.”

Mavenlink aggregates user adoption and usage data across its entire client base to help inform what Haleck refers to as a “North Star metric”, which is intended to ensure that the areas where the team focuses on achieving adoption actually increase that metric. For example, the teams analyze the license activation and utilization report that is built in Gainsight to identify churn risks and opportunities. The team can see the number of licenses purchased, deployed, how many users are active over certain periods of time, and whether that number is increasing or decreasing. High rates of license utilization indicate expansion opportunities, while for low rates the customer success team jumps in to mitigate the risk and understand why this is.

A second important operational indicator is addiction metrics, which measure client product and feature usage over time. This set of metrics is referred to as a Retention Report in Gainsight PX. As Haleck explains, “The reason why this report is so important is that it provides a direct indicator of whether or not users are addicted to your product as a whole or to key capabilities and features that you are tracking.”

Mavenlink’s Retention Report is organized by customer cohort. The Product team uses it to compare the retention of different cohorts over time in order to improve retention/ user metrics. Product managers can see retention rate trends by month for a particular feature, a set of features, or the whole product. They can see if a cohort of customers who started using a feature six months ago has a higher or lower retention rate than a cohort who adopted it twelve months ago. Summarizing the value of these reports Haleck says, “These retention reports are extremely useful. They are a means for our product teams and leaders to manage and track whether or not the capabilities they are adding to the product are moving the needle.”

The third key operating indicator that Mavenlink tracks is end-user attitude. The reason for monitoring this metric closely, Haleck says is, “Among our product team, we have a saying that buyers can hire, but users can fire. It is therefore important to keep track of the attitudes of your application’s users.”

Mavenlink uses Gainsight in-app surveys to gauge user satisfaction. In a B2B SaaS software environment, Gainsight’s in-app surveys are of particular value, Haleck says, because customers often don’t want Mavenlink to bother end-users too much, so the team doesn’t get as much access to end users as it would like. Conducting NPS surveys inapp is quite beneficial in this regard as Haleck notes,, “Historically, the reason why most enterprise software has not been great is because product teams build by listening to buyers but have little access to end-users. With Gainasight you can bridge that gap and get a lot of that user information in ways that are easy and don’t interfere with what end users do on a daily basis.”

The Product and CS teams track NPS over certain time periods up to a year for specific user groups. They try to ascertain if users become more or less satisfied over time the longer they use Mavenlink tools. This data helps the product teams focus on ways to improve each of these cohorts’ NPS over time through improvements in productmarket fit.

Additionally, the Mavenlink team is trying to connect NPS data to churn by looking for signals such as users who are struggling to use the product or who are using other tools for the same purpose. By using Gainsight’s in-app survey, Haleck notes that the team can detect a lot of customer churn signals well before a customer would leave.

The three operational indicators of adoption, addiction, and attitude feed into the ultimate lagging indicator of client retention. Customer renewals and retention are the responsibility of Sabina Pons, VP of Client Success and Support, and her team of 40 Customer Success employees. Reflecting on her team’s responsibility as it relates to the tracking of operational and leading indicators, Pons explains that, “It is imperative that Customer Success is tightly linked to Product Management. Customer Success is responsible for renewals. As a leader of that collaboration I have been able to rely on the Gainsight Scorecard.”

Pons describes how Gainsight Scorecard was designed and is used, “Historically, Mavenlink used a different system for customer health scores that didn’t provide the visibility and insight that we needed for our retention goals. Since deploying the Gainsight Scorecard, we have been tracking system usage data as well as CSM sentiment. Using the Gainsight DEAR framework methodology, we now have over twenty quantitative and qualitative data points.“Using a refined methodology, Pons’ CSM team captures reasons for customer churn and how it relates to the sentiment and attitude of users in Gainsight. CSMs can use this information to have a conversation with their customers about previous issues, such as unresolved feature requests. The Customer Success team then analyzes this information to determine what it can do differently to increase future retention rates.


Tracking customer health scores and indicators in Gainsight has helped the team improve retention based on past performance, as well as forecast future retention. Pon’s team tracks customer health scores daily, weekly, and monthly, so they can examine a particular cohort of customers in a particular time period, see what their health scores were in the weeks and months prior to that date, and then compare it to where they are at present. This information can be used to forecast a cohort’s future retention rate.

Pons says the Gainsight Scorecard and other data has been a boon to overall product and retention efforts, “This client health signal tool we built has been able to predict Mavenlink client retention with an 86% degree of accuracy. This allows us to plan our headcount, product roadmap, and business resources accordingly.”

Pons also describes how Gainsight data is helping product managers and the CS team collaborate to improve retention over time, “Product managers and CSMS are now working in partnership on client outreach to probe into a client’s needs, understand intended business outcomes, and to make sure that we are building features in a way that aligns with our strategic vision and the clients needs, and to make sure that we have an overall product-market fit.”

Pons summarizes the features and benefits of the Gainsight platform, saying, “As product management and customer operations leaders, our job is to use the data accumulated in Gainsight PX and Gainsight CS as a tool to help us get the job done. We can ensure product-market fit and the best possible client experience by working together to consume, leverage, and act upon the data.”


Mavenlink is committed to providing the best product-market fit to achieve client outcomes. Product-market fit is measured and adjustments are made to products based on retention metrics. Using Gainsight CS and Gainsight PX data, Mavenlink’s product management and customer success teams collaborate to create the frameworks that track and analyze client important retention indicators including adoption, addiction, and attitude. Gainsight data integrations and reports enable Mavenlink teams to drill down into the leading and operational indicators that ultimately drive retention and which indicate relative product-market fit. Mavenlink’s product management and customer success leaders can use these insights to plan product resources and roadmaps that improve client experience and outcomes and positively impact retention.