Timeline vs CTA: What will you prefer to register activities?

  • 29 November 2016
  • 16 replies

Hello Everyone,

With the new feature of timeline and the log of activities, I'm curious to know how other companies will encourage CSMs to register customer activities.

In our case, today we are using CTAs to log meeting/calls annotations.

  • CTAs pros: can create reports based on CTA reason, duration, etc.
  • Timeline pros: much better interface, formatting, connect with contacts, etc.

This means that if I want to use both, a CSM would need to follow this process:

  1. Receives a new QBR CTA.
  2. Do the call.
  3. Take notes logging a new timeline activity (without reason categorization).
  4. Go to cockpit and close QBR CTA without annotations.

This would result in a CTA disconnected from its notes.

What will you guys going to recommend to your teams?


16 replies

Userlevel 6
Thanks for posting, Bruno!  

The customers that I have talked to are not planning to change their current processes where they have: (a) consistent users of CTAs with notes logged on the CTA - especially if they're attaching the file to the CTA which means you have everything in one place like you mentioned or (b) high usage of a Chatter-like platform for note-taking.   

What they have talked about is getting feedback from CSM teams who are using an external tool like Evernote to see what it would take to move note-taking into Gainsight (and as appropriate syncing to SF activities).  They also have some interest in "post an update" when there's information that doesn't fit anywhere else and logging a CTA is 'too heavy'.  I think it would be great to "post to a profile" so you could filter on all your "profile info" easily and quickly. 

Once we have reporting available on Timeline & more integration options, I'm excited to see what Timeline can offer.  In the interim - like you, Bruno - I'd love to hear what others are thinking! 
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
We will be using Timeline for activities that are external to CTAs.  CTAs should be for the larger activities, significant Events, Risks, Opportunties, Objectives - notes can be captured in the CTA as they pertain to those.  Timeline activities would be for the in-between actions that are not tied to something more significant.
Userlevel 6
Badge +2
Totally valid concerns around having to (1) leave CTAs to log an activity on the Timeline, and (2) having no categorization or reason allocation as to why the call was made (QBR). This shouldn't be an issue once we bring Timeline functionality to CTAs (and Cockpit) -- everything goes to the same place, but with additional context of you working through a particular situation (CTAs). For now, though, there are limitations that might make a complete change of process difficult, as pointed out by Elaine and Jeff.
Userlevel 7
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For more discussion and ideas. 🙂
Thanks for this post. I am trying to figure this out too. We use CTAs to log customer trainings. With timeline, it would be good to note when the training occurred - but I feel like it's double entry for our CSMs.
Hey Jeff - how is your org using Milestones. We are exploring that, and thought to use it for larger activities/events - but I see you are ding that for CTAs.
How soon will you be able to link the timeline entries to CTA's?

I also noticed that from timeline I only see ability to log time on 'Log a Call' and 'Log a Meeting'...the other options time entry is not available.
Userlevel 6
Badge +2
It's one of our top priorities, right after connecting Timeline to Relationships. Likely to happen only after the Winter (Feb) release, though.

We left it out by default for Updates and Emails. You can always add it back [i]and add more custom fields to the layout as needed. There is also some interesting discussion happening on layout and template configuration here. Would love to hear your thoughts!
Manu, can you elaborate on what "bring Timeline functionality to CTAs (and Cockpit)" means?  I am excited about the timeline, but share the concerns expressed here by other clients about duplication of effort.  Further, my users are really interested in seeing the full picture of account activity all in on place-- pulling CTAs (at the point of CTA close perhaps?) into the Timeline alongside activities would be key to making Timeline useful for my org.  Not as important, but it would be cool to see milestones in the timeline as well.
Hey Manu, any update on this ?
Userlevel 6
Badge +2
Hey Manish,

Being able to log Activities from CTAs is planned for Spring/May release.

Yes, when will the timeline and CTAs work together?
Userlevel 6
Badge +2
One of the main goals of this project was to not have comments be siloed in different areas of the product. It should be possible to combine all the commentary together and get a true picture of what's going on with a Customer. 

What we are very actively working on right now is the ability to log activities from within a CTA. ETA is Spring/May release. This would then be extended to Scorecards, Success Plans, etc. over subsequent releases. 

There are a couple of ways in which Activities and CTAs would soon work together:

  • You'll be able to log Activities of any type from within a CTA.
  • If you log an Activity this way but with inline next steps or to-dos, these would become Tasks under the same CTA -- so one list of to-dos.
  • If you log an Activity outside of a CTA but with inline next steps or to-dos, these would cause a CTA to be created and then Tasks would be added underneath. 
The last point to address is whether or not all Activities logged from CTAs would be automatically available at the Customer level. We want them to be because it makes a ton of sense, but at the same time, we also want to provide some means of volume control. So what we are planning to do for May is the following: Admins will be able to tell Gainsight, for each Activity type, whether or not such Activities are 'always important'. For example, an admin can configure that all 'Calls' are important but all 'Emails' might not be. This would then ensure that all 'Calls' logged from within a CTA are automatically available on the Customer's Timeline, but everything else remains confined to the CTA. This flagging will be available for individual Activities, too, so end-users also have some degree of control over what gets rolled up.

I hope I was able to address most of the questions, and would really love to hear your thoughts and feedback!
Hi Manu,

Just to confirm - all good and this option will be added with the May 16 update?
Userlevel 6
Badge +4
You will see that ability to log Activities (and create Tasks!) from Timeline with our May release.  This will be released to customers May 23.  The release went to Sandboxes this morning.