Technical Account Management

Technical Account Management Handbook

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What is a Technical Account Manager (TAM)?

GitLab's Technical Account Managers serve as trusted advisors to GitLab customers. They offer guidance, planning and oversight during the technical deployment and implementation process. They fill a unique space in the overall service lifecycle and customer journey and actively bind together sales, solution architects, customer stakeholders, product management, implementation engineers and support.

See the Technical Account Manager role description for further information.

Advocacy

A Technical Account Manager is an advocate for both the customer and GitLab. They act on behalf of customers serving as a feedback channel to development and shaping of the product. In good balance, they also advocate on behalf of GitLab to champion capabilities and features that will improve quality, increase efficiency and realize new value for our customer base.

Values

Management

Technical Account Managers maintain the relationships between the customers and GitLab. Making sure that everyone is working towards pre-defined goals and objectives.

Growth

Technical Account Managers help to bring GitLab to all aspects of your company, not just software development. They can do this by showing other business unit's how to use GitLab for their day-to-day tasks and to advocate for new features and functionality that are in demand by other groups.

Success

Technical Account Managers make sure that the adoption of GitLab is successful at your company through planning, implementation, adoption, training and regular healthchecks.

Responsibilities and Services

All Premium customers with a minimum ARR of $100,000 are aligned with a Technical Account Manager. There are various services a Technical Account Manager will provide to ensure that customers get the best value possible out of their relationship with GitLab and their utilisation of GitLab's products and services. These services include, but are not limited to:

Relationship Management

Training

Support

It is also possible for a customer to pay for a Technical Account Manager's services in order to receive priority, "white glove" assistance, guidance and support as well as more time allocated to their account on a monthly basis. There are also additional services a Technical Account Manager will provide to the services listed above. These are currently to be determined and will become available before the end of the second quarter of 2018.


Engagement Models

There are three models currently offered for Technical Account Manager engagement. These are broken into tiers that currently use Annual Recurring Revenue as a metric for determining a manageable volume for a single Technical Account Manager and the depth of involvement during the engagement.

Table of Technical Account Manager Engagements

Technical Account Managers focus on large and strategic accounts, small business (SMB) and mid-market accounts are typically handled by Account Managers.

  TIER 1 TIER 2 TIER 3
Minimum ARR $500,000 $250,000 $100,000

Managing the Customer Engagement

Technical Account Managers will typically manage customer engagements via a GitLab project in the account-management group. This project will be based off a customer collaboration project template and then customized to match the customer's needs as outlined above. The project is pre-loaded with milestones, issues, labels and a README template to help kick off the project and outline a proof of concept, implementation and customer onboarding.

To start a new customer engagement:

  1. Somewhere between step 3 and step 7 of the customer journey sequence, a Solutions Architect should create a project for the customer in GitLab and include an Implementation Engineer and Technical Account Manager who're best aligned with the customer account.
  2. Go to the customer collaboration project template project.
  3. Follow the steps in the PLEASE-READ-THESE-INSTRUCTIONS.md file

Where does a Technical Account Manager fit in?

During the pre-sales process, a Solutions Architect owns the project with assistance from the Strategic Account Leader and should include the Implementation Engineer if there is one assigned. During the pre-sales project, a Technical Account Manager is involved but only for visibility. Until the account becomes a paying customer, the project remains in pre-sales. Once the customer has paid, the Strategic Account Leader will set up the Welcome to GitLab call along with the key GitLab employees (SAL, SA, IE and Technical Account Manager) and the customer. There is a preloaded issue for this in the project template.

This call will introduce the customer to the Technical Account Manager and begin the handover process. The Technical Account Manager will then lead the rest of the call and own the project going forward. The project is then moved from a pre-sales project under the pre-sales account-management group to a post-sales project under account-management group.

Typically this project template isn't used for small business or mid-market accounts. However, if an Account Manager feels this could be useful to assist their relationship with the customer, then they can utilise it and edit down as needed.

Account Triaging

In order to prevent customer churn and improve retention of our customers, we have an Account Triage project in GitLab. The information for this project is documented in the README.md for the project itself.

Customer Onboarding

We should include a pre-defined set of professional services in each initial purchase. This will address customer experience across all "Gemstone" segmentation of customers whilst setting a precedent to how all customers are managed (with regards to outreach, support, technical account management etc.) throughout the duration of their experience and relationship with GitLab. This also includes small business and mid-market accounts.

Technical Account Managers and Implementation Engineers should work closely together throughout the onboarding process, with support from Solutions Architects where appropriate.

Example Accounts Categorised by Gemstone

Customer Tier Segmentation Product On Prem? Licenses Purchased Total Expected/Predicted Adoption (Over 3 years) Onboarding Gemstone Technical Account Manager Onboarding Time
Homeworld Inc. 1 Strategic Premium Yes 12,500 12,500 Diamond Yes 180 Days
Beach City Corp. 1 Large Premium Yes 1020 4000 Pearl Yes 180 days
Funland Arcade 2 Strategic Premium Yes 2500 5000 Pearl Yes 180 Days
Le Hotel 3 Large Ultimate No (GitHost) 450 500 Sapphire Yes 90 Days
The Crab Shack 4 Large Starter Yes 2100 4100 Ruby No 90 Days
Buddwick Public Library 4 Strategic Ultimate Yes 25 300 Ruby No 90 Days
Big Donut 4 Mid-Market Starter Yes 500 500 Quartz No 30 days

At the time of writing this, there are only two customers who are on Starter and over $100k ARR. Customers in this situation are rare so would fall into Bronze along with other starter customers.

Example Onboarding Experience based on the Gemstone awarded

Diamond

Pearl

Sapphire

Ruby

Quartz

Customer Records and Profiling

The Customer Meta-Record

The concept of a customer meta-record is how a Technical Account Manager develops and maintains a holistic understanding of customer accounts. It is a living record that includes both business and technical information about the customer. The data captured here informs not only the Technical Account Manager, but all of GitLab about critical details to the success of our customers.

Business Profile

The business profile is captured during the discovery and scoping stages in the pre-sales phase of the customner lifecycle. Once an opportunity is set to closed-won, the Technical Account Manager is largely responsible for maintaining this data. The business profile of a customer's meta-record contains data points related to their organizational structure, the internal advocate/champion, the features most compelling to the customer, the "why" of purchasing GitLab, objectives for the implementation and critically, the data captured in the customer feedback loop.

Technical Profile

The technical profile includes objective data points about a customers technical landscape and can be captured at any stage of the customer lifecycle. Specifically, items related to architecture, sizing, scale, security and compliance requirements are captured in the technical profile. In general, solution architects and implementation specialists are primarily responsible for collecting and capturing information for the technical profile. This information is transitioned to the Technical Account Manager once a customer goes live and the Technical Account Manager maintains the information throughout the remainder of the customer lifecycle.

Automated Customer Discovery Tools

A series of data sheets and automation scripts is being developed that will streamline much of the intake, discovery and reconnaissance activities during the pre-sales stages of the customer lifecycle. Decisions surrounding where this data will reside and which information is part of the critical path during customer onboarding are currently underway.

Currently, These profiles and data points are a work in progress and the Customer Success Department are trying and testing how to efficiently do this using various different tools and methods.

Some of these currently include:

We are currently researching various Customer Success Applications, such as Gainsight, with which to fully manage post-sales customer success, reporting and strategy around accounts. Salesforce is somewhat limited in certain areas that pertain to Customer Success so this is becoming more of a necessity and will hopefully become part of our workflow some time in 2019.