Sherpa: Driving empathetic sales with rich data insights

At a glance

Sherpa was founded to help guide people through the complex and emotional transition of moving into senior living communities. We partnered with Sherpa to help the users of Sherpa CRM understand how they compare to their peers and gain insights that help drive more human connection and success in senior living sales.

What we did

  • Data analytics
  • Data warehouse
  • Flexible, scalable reporting
  • Amazon DMS, Amazon S3, AWS Lambda, Amazon Redshift, Amazon DynamoDB
  • DevOps
  • Continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD)

Marrying technology and empathy

Moving out of your home and into a senior living community can be one of the most difficult phases in life. It’s a complex decision—emotionally and financially—that involves not only the prospective resident, but often adult children, spouses, and extended family.

The goal of Sherpa’s CRM is to enable organizations to provide the most effective, empathy-based customer experience for older adults and their influencers.

Sherpa CRM has grown rapidly and now supports over one thousand senior communities around the world, serving ten thousand users, and impacting millions of people. The software empowers users to truly connect with and prioritize the needs of each individual prospect, leading to better customer interactions. Through this technology, senior living sales teams gain deeper insight into a prospective senior resident—their life story, typical day-to-day activities, vital health information, and much more.

What to do with all this data?

Sherpa CRM was built on the AWS cloud, and the Sherpa team had deep knowledge developing and deploying applications on AWS. Sherpa started to grow and scale faster than it was prepared for and needed to quickly augment their current team to gain deeper understanding of the data and analytics technologies available through AWS.

In the senior living industry, Sherpa holds the most robust single collection of data. But the data was siloed by individual customer, which made it hard to analyze and pull insights from. The IT team was eager to roll out new analytical capabilities based on this proprietary data to help its customers—sales teams at senior living communities—create a more human-focused, personalized sales experience. Sherpa decided it needed to invest in a new cloud-based analytics platform.

Slalom is such a great partner. From the very beginning they worked to truly understand the problem. They feel like a partner, not a vendor who comes and does a project, but people who actually come and invest in the outcomes.

Rolling out new analytical capabilities

On day one of our partnership, Sherpa President and Co-founder Alex Fisher outlined Sherpa’s purpose: to guide the senior living industry toward a more empathic, authentic, and results-driven sales culture.

This helped the Slalom team understand the motivation behind Sherpa’s need for new data capabilities and co-create the right solution. Drawing on our extensive experience developing data solutions for clients using AWS, the Slalom team was able to quickly provide several options that would best fit Sherpa’s specific needs. We then built those options into a proof of concept.

Once everyone agreed on an ideal architecture, we got to work developing the data warehouse on Amazon Redshift. Leveraging Amazon S3, data is now consolidated in a central environment. The combined data sets and resulting analytics improve current reporting performance and allow for anyone on the sales team to create their own report beyond the original canned, pre-built reports.

The solution is designed to be resilient and handle common issues including changes in data structures, unplanned downtime, and bulk data loads as new customers sign up. The new platform provides agility and enables Sherpa to incorporate automated data-driven recommendations to nudge appropriate customer action. The solution can be fully automated to reduce ongoing effort and cost.

The results are incredible. We can present solid data to the industry. It’s been really instrumental within our growth.

Maximizing the cloud to drive empathetic sales

With the new data warehouse, Sherpa’s development teams can now build reports in a flexible and scalable way. They have consistent data that all sales teams can access at any time, and they can pull deep insights and identify trends about their customers that they couldn’t get before. 

Once the data warehouse was in place, the conversation focused on all the other possibilities that Sherpa could do with this newfound data. At every step, Slalom worked with and trained multiple departments within Sherpa from the visual experience team to the development and data teams to senior leadership. Slalom trained the teams on how to interact and integrate within the new environment.

By teaming up with Slalom, the Sherpa team has been able to accomplish its roadmap much quicker, at a lower cost, ultimately driving growth within the industry and organization.

“Slalom is such a great partner," said Fisher. "From the very beginning they worked to truly understand the problem. They feel like a partner, not a vendor who comes and does a project, but people who actually come and invest in the outcomes.”

Through the new reporting capabilities, the Slalom team was able to make recommendations on ways that Sherpa can leverage machine learning in the future. Sherpa is now developing new capabilities on top of Amazon Redshift including a peer-group benchmarking tool that enables a user to understand how they compare to their peers in the senior living industry and gain insights that can help them understand what they can do to improve conversion rates. Ultimately, it’s helping to further enable senior living professionals to do more of what they enjoy: guiding older adults and their families through life-altering changes with compassion.

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