• At the SiriusDecisions 2015 Summit, five organizations that exemplify best-in-class ABM or customer experience programs were recognized
  • This blog follows one winner, Imprivata, from its challenges to its solutions
  • Through best practices, Imprivata saw tangible results, like an increased customer retention to 97 percent

At SiriusDecisions Summit 2015 in Nashville in May, our Account-Based Marketing (ABM) service recognized five organizations that exemplify best-in-class account-based marketing or customer experience programs. Recipients of our second ABM Program of the Year awards were Citrix, Imprivata, Medidata Solutions, SAP and Xerox EMEA.

In other blog posts we’ll highlight why Citrix, Imprivata, SAP and Xerox were selected as winners; this post showcases Imprivata. 


Imprivata is a leading provider of authentication, access management and secure communication solutions for healthcare. Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Lexington, MA, Imprivata went public via IPO in June 2014. With a focus on improving security and provider productivity for better focus on patient care, Imprivata has over 1,300 customers in 18 countries across the globe.  


Imprivata was experiencing 40 percent-plus annual growth and readying for the launch of its product into the customer base. But even though the company’s customer retention rate was an impressive 90 percent, it had slipped from its previous 95 percent.

Created in 2012, the existing customer experience organization included a senior executive and the senior vice president of customer experience (who reported directly to the CEO), along with the professional services, customer support and customer education functions. Chartered by the CEO to “deliver a signature customer experience that ensures we never lose a customer,” Imprivata redesigned its entire post-sale experience, involving the whole company to create a new customer experience function.  

At the moment, the teams’ annual incentives were not aligned. Imprivata also knew that there was a need for a new function to coordinate customer touchpoints across departments.  It was also evident that there was a need for new technology and process in key areas like education, online support, case handling, escalations, services project automation, and overall account views and communication via the CRM system.


Imprivata began with the end in mind, using the customer’s point of view. The customer experience leader held cross-functional executive sessions to define and map out the ideal customer experience over the next three years. The organization took the following steps:

  • Map the customer journey. The first step was to understand the end-to-end customer experience of two key constituencies: the clinicians and the IT professionals who support them. Imprivata documented the activities that customers undertake during their journey: awareness, research and planning, evaluation and selection, implementation and orientation, using the solution, and maintenance/support. 
  • Design the Imprivata signature experience. The customer experience mapping revealed gaps and opportunities for competitive differentiation for Imprivata. The team began with a commitment to better secure and simplify healthcare IT to enable improved patient care.  Across every stage of the customer lifecycle, Imprivata sought to remove complexity and become easy to do business with. They committed to differentiate themselves by bridging the gap between IT and clinicians in every experience, and by bringing knowledge of the industry and the customer to bear in all interactions. They focused on creating promoters in the customer base (as measured by Net Promoter Score) and arming employees with knowledge of every customer and empowering employees to do what’s right at every interaction. 
  • Define the rules of the road. To create alignment, a RACI model (responsibility assignment matrix) was instituted to provide clear expectations of who owned which activities, as well as who was to stay informed, where and when. For example, sales was ultimately responsible for the customer relationship and maximizing lifetime account value, while customer experience was responsible for progressing customers toward success. As customer success works with customers toward that success, sales is always informed and never surprised.
  • Implement the customer advocate team. Imprivata’s customer advocates work cross-functionally within the organization to resolve satisfaction-related issues. They provide proactive communication to customers, progress customers toward success and ensure that customers realize ROI from their Imprivata solutions. This team also generates add-on opportunities and leads for the sales organization.
  • Set customer advocacy KPIs. Goals were set for the customer advocate team in four key areas: improving customer relationships by engaging at the CIO and/or director level with assigned accounts; ensuring that customers are using at least 80 percent of their licenses; driving opportunity creation by identifying customer needs; and achieving an NPS score of 30 from CIO/CMIOs in 80 percent of assigned accounts.
  • Communicate, communicate and communicate. The need for change management was not overlooked, and both visibility and buy-in by the executive team was critical. However, the team understood that confusion and mistakes were inevitable and approached the change presuming that everyone has the best intentions. Finally, Imprivata adopted the following motto: “CRM is king – if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen.”

Best Practices Exemplified

  • Joint sales and customer experience alignment, effectiveness and precision
  • Executive sponsorship, alignment and communication throughout
  • Map the customer experience/journey from the customer perspective to identify and validate strengths to leverage and gaps to address
  • Bringing together activities focused on post-sales relationships under one umbrella
  • Creating a dedicated post-sale team to allow sales to focus on growth, with the team existing outside of sales
  • Measure customer advocates/customer success teams on retention, growth and advocacy


  • Increased customer retention to 97 percent
  • Increased NPS by 52 percent
  • Service project customer survey averages 9.4 out of 10; Customer support survey averages 9.0 out of 10
  • Services revenue increased 76 percent
  • Maintenance and renewals revenue increased by 31 percent

Congratulations to Carina Edwards, senior vice-president, customer experience, and the entire Imprivata team for being selected as a 2015 Customer Experience Program winner!