If you're on the hunt for a customer success platform but finding that options like Gainsight, ChurnZero & Planhat out there are either super expensive, outdated or extremely hard to implement?
I feel you! This is why the CS world is happy to have some more lightweight options available that do everything you’d need but still be easy to use, modern and affordable.
I'm a Customer Success team lead, and I've recently been through the process of buying a customer success platform. Comparing platforms is difficult and time-consuming! Let me try to help you save time, and make the right choice between Vitally & Catalyst.
The difference between Catalyst and Vitally
On the other hand, Catalyst still has the basic needs of a CS team covered, and it is well-liked for how easy it is to implement & adopt, and for having great proactive interactive customer service.
Another difference is that Catalyst is primarily designed for B2B & high touch models, while Vitally caters equally for high touch & tech/low-touch models.
Comparing Catalyst & Vitally
TL;DR: Both platforms are considered quite easily implemented however Catalyst takes the cake compared to Vitally. However, both offer great support with implementation.
The implementation time for Catalyst and Vitally will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of your organization, the complexity of your data and workflows, and the specific features and integrations you plan to use.
Both tools make it easy to import customer data from your existing systems, such as your CRM or marketing automation platform. There’s a lot of educational content available to guide you through plus additional personalized help from the team.
Both platforms provide help for each of their customers. Catalyst provides each customer with a dedicated customer success manager whereas Vitally offers quick time-to-value programs to help you get up and running with the platform quickly. These programs may include onboarding and training services, data migration support, and customized workflows and integrations. This will help reduce the time it takes to get up and running with the platform.
However, Catalyst has been praised more for its ease of implementation and intuitive UI. People also really seem to appreciate the help of the team with transparent guidance throughout the process.
Its competitor seems to have more quirks and needs some tweaking to get all the data running correctly.
Both Catalyst and Vitally provide a variety of integrations with other popular tools and platforms, such as CRMs, support ticketing systems, and communication tools. Though, Vitally has a larger variety of native integrations available overall. & an API for custom work.
Both tools share integrations with: Segment, Mixpanel, Salesforce, Zendesk, Gmail, Slack, S3, Postgres, Redshift, BigQuery, and Snowflake. Also, both have REST APIs available which you can use to integrate whichever tool you’d like.
Catalyst does have a native integration with Google Calendar, and Jira which Vitally does not. Vitally has integrations with Intercom, Hubspot, Stripe, Chargebee, Recurly, Outlook, Clearbit, Looker, Pendo, and Rudderstack. Catalyst does not.
3. Customer feedback features
With Vitally, you can create and send in-app NPS surveys to your customers to collect feedback on their experience with your product or service. You can really customize how you use this. You can push in front of every customer or choose a trigger that sends this to the chosen customer. Once you start receiving NPS responses from your users, NPS Reporting Dashboards give you insight into your overall NPS score as well as average scores within accounts. And, you can use these insights in your other automations.
Unfortunately, Catalyst does not have any direct feedback features available.
4. Playbooks and automations
Both platforms have a comprehensive playbook feature and automations available. Of course, these look a bit different based on the platform but the goal remains the same: automate common needs by performing a series of actions. Both tools can leverage the collected and analyzed data to create a playbook.
Vitally, however, has a larger variety of actions available within the Playbooks. You can trigger an email, or task, create a project, or indicator, show an NPS survey, and more. You can set it up for organizations, accounts, users, or based on custom object traits.
With Catalyst, you can only automate the creation of a task or send an email. You can set it up for accounts, specific contact, opportunity, or custom object triggers.
Something also worth mentioning is that both tools allow you to create templates for emails and notes. This is particularly useful when you want to save time re-writing the same email multiple times or create a unified way of leaving notes for the entire team. And additionally, you can use different tags and other ways to organize these templates. However, when Catalyst lets you send emails through their platform, they can’t let you respond to any emails which means you still have to bounce between Gmail/ Outlook and Catalyst.
5. Reporting and analytics
Both Catalyst and Vitally offer robust reporting capabilities to help businesses track and analyze customer data and feedback. Here are some of the key similarities between the two platforms when it comes to reporting:
- 360-view of an account: You can easily dive deep into one specific account by having all their data, notes, emails, and everything else available in one place.
- Real-time reporting dashboards: Both platforms offer real-time reporting dashboards that show key metrics such as health scores, revenue, last activity, and more.
- Custom reports: Both Catalyst and Vitally allow users to create custom dashboards and export data to CSV for further analysis.
- Segment-based reporting: Both Catalyst and Vitally provide the ability to segment customer data based on different attributes, such as product usage, location, and plan type, to help businesses analyze their customer data more effectively.
- Success metrics: You can create custom metrics you’d like to track based on your product, goals, etc. Vitally is more powerful than Catalyst in that department (15 different calculations VS 4).
As always, there are some differences between those two as well. Catalyst's reporting features are focused on customer satisfaction and feedback, with a specific emphasis on health scores. Vitally's reporting features are focused on overall customer health, including metrics such as NPS score, health score with heavy focus on product usage analytics. Compared to Catalyst, which is only able to analyse product usage with a third-party tool involved like Mixpanel or Google Analytics.
Something also worth noting is that Vitally allows you to create your personal dashboards which others can’t see, however, Catalyst doesn’t have this capability yet.
Overall, while both Catalyst and Vitally offer reporting features that can help businesses gain valuable insights into customer data, their focus differs slightly. Catalyst's reporting features are designed to help businesses improve customer satisfaction and retention, while Vitally's reporting features are focused on overall customer health and identifying areas for growth and improvement.
One feature that CS people look for in a tool is health scoring. Thankfully, both tools have it available and it’s extremely useful for retaining customers.
Vitally's Account Health feature operates at both the Account and Organization levels and provides the ability to define multiple health scores, such as "Product usage" and "NPS". Users can define healthy, concerning, and poor conditions for each score and Vitally will assign a grade between 0 and 10 for each score. The platform also allows for customization of weights, equations, and health conditions for different account segments, making it possible to score accounts differently based on their stage in the customer lifecycle or their level of product access.
Catalyst’s health score works very similarly to Vitally, the biggest difference being that it is all on an account level. You can still segment your customers into up to five Groups and weigh each group differently. Within each Group, you will be able to select Account-level fields and define your Healthy and At-Risk criteria for that specific Group. And similarly to Vitally, the accounts are graded between 0-10. You can also create multiple Health Profiles based on an account attribute which essentially allows you to segment customers and create custom scores for each segment.
6. Customer lifecycle management
Vitally and Catalyst offer customer lifecycle management features to help businesses track and manage customer interactions at various stages of the customer journey. It’s a very useful feature to have if you want to understand how your customers move through their journey and support them along the way in a meaningful way.
Catalyst has a feature called Journeys which is exactly meant for lifecycle management. The customer journey outlines a unique path to success for each customer, providing CSMs with clear goals and milestones to focus on. You can create journeys for both accounts and opportunities and create multiple journeys with each object, tailored to different segments of your customer base. You can easily track the success of the journey goal values and goal completion status.
Vitally has a feature called Projects for this. With this feature, you can create, manage, and track customer projects, which consist of a collection of tasks aimed at helping customers achieve specific goals. This feature offers a range of project management tools, enabling teams to effectively manage customer work throughout the entire customer lifecycle. It provides you with an ordered sequence of tasks and milestones to complete for a specific customer. All tasks within a Project are simply Vitally Tasks and can be viewed/reported on the same as other existing tasks. Within a project, they can be grouped together to form Milestones. And you can easily track the progress of the customer with statuses.
Vitally also has a feature called Docs which provides a dedicated workspace for collaborative efforts between you and your customers. It’s a great feature to promote transparency and consistency through the creation of templates and offer the opportunity to share information and build more collaborative relationships.
Users can create templates or one-off docs to share with customers and team members, embedding a variety of information such as account traits, files, images, links, projects, and tasks. This feature is especially useful for activities such as onboarding/implementation, success planning, product education, renewal documentation, intake forms, and roadmap notes.
Unfortunately, both tools have decided to not share their pricing publicly. To get a quote, you have to contact their Sales team.
Vitally does showcase three pricing plans on its website- Tech Touch, Hybrid Touch, and High-Touch. In general though, their pricing is based on number of customers and user seats. Vitally promises that all their features are available for all plans including unlimited observer seats, SSO, and data warehouse integrations. You can also ask for a demo account from their team to test some main features and get an overview of the platform.
They also have a Start Up Partner program for companies that have raised less than 3M in funding and have less than 15 employees in total. If your company is eligible for it, you’ll get 70% off for the first year of your Vitally plan and 35% off for your second year.
Catalyst is private with their pricing and plans. There is a base platform fee plus fee based on accounts. Generally, Catalyst is considered quite affordable as far as CSPs go, but exact pricing is unclear. You'll need to get a demo.
Things Catalyst can do, that Vitally can’t
Catalyst does have native integrations available with Google Calendar and Jira. These can be super useful if you want to sync up your customer calls and manage product-related information via Jira.
Catalyst is constantly getting rave reviews from customers about their Support team. They have a very hands-on team that guides you through the entire process of implementing the tool.
Things Vitally can do, that Catalyst can’t
Overall, Vitally seems to be the more mature tool of the two. There are quite a few important things you can do with Vitally, that you can’t do with its competitor. Here’s a quick rundown of the most important things you need to know:
- In Vitally, you can create Indicators that alert you when there’s a risk or an opportunity. It’s a super useful tool to indicate any potential upgrade opportunities or churn risks.
- The Docs feature is an awesome tool to build collaboration between your customers and keep everything in one place.
- You can’t reply to emails through Catalyst but you can do that with Vitally. This is a huge advantage point for Vitally as you do not have to leave the tool at all!
- You can implement Vitally’s NPS survey into your website and analyze the results easily within the tool.
Overall, both tools are great, there’s no doubt about it! They have all the necessary features available you’d need to build your own Customer Success organization. Catalyst and Vitally are both easy to use with modern UIs. Plus, they are also more affordable than a lot of other tools available on the market.
The decision really comes down to your choice of Customer Success approach. If you need in-depth information about product usage and more automations, Vitally is probably a better pick for you. If you’re doing more high-touch Success and are focused on customer engagement, Catalyst might be a better match.
Considering something heavier weight? Check out: Planhat vs. Gainsight.