Renewal Management / April 13, 2023
Renewals have gained prominence as the importance of retaining customers versus finding new ones has become a focus. We all know the numbers showing the minimal cost to retain compared to trying to fill the pipeline and close.
This week we asked our Customer Success attendees to share the changes they are making to their renewal programs to better prepare for the current conditions of 2023, especially since this area is more frequently being moved under CS.
Advice For Leaders
Look beyond the current quarter – there isn’t a lot you can do to impact what is happening now. Those who are moving into churn will likely continue that pathway and spending limited time and energy trying to salvage them is not the best use of your resources.
Instead, take a look at Q3 and Q4 predictions and focus on things that can have an impact. There is opportunity in this space to turn things around for any customers that are moving down the churn path.
Advice for Individual Contributors
Focus on account reviews – use your metrics to identify potential risks for those Q3 & Q4 renewals. Present the opportunities, risks, and adoption data to your customers, and collaborate on strategic plans with the customer and your internal stakeholders. Focus on the future and have strategic discussions about customer health rather than reactive ones as churn is occurring.
You should be having purposeful and strategic conversations through the year. Ask early, and ask often. Renewals should not be an event, but a natural progression of value.
Be sure not to shy away from the tough questions such as "are we on track for renewal?" This should not be a last minute ask, but something you ask and revisit. It also shouldn't be a stand alone question but part of your delivery conversations. Pay attention to body language and the way it is answered. Evasion is not a good thing and you should be following up on that.
Get creative! Find other ways to ask such as:
- How was your onboarding experience?
- Did we meet your launch time expectations?
- Are you reacing milestones as you work to achieve the goals our product helps with?
Be sure you are celebrating the wins. Your customer might be so head deep in their work that they are not noticing those milestones being reached. help remind them that progress is being made, which just helps the renewal conversations.
Are your Executive Business Reviews valuable?
Are the decision-makers in the room?
Are you aligned to their high-level strategies and goals?
Are you helping to define what 'good' looks like, what they mean by 'value', and how to identify if it is being delivered?
Be sure to use data here, but don't make it stand alone. Tie it to stories that demonstrate the way it helps achieve their goals and strategies. Bonus Tip: include industry data so they can see how they compare to other companies like them.
Create an Insights Review that looks at actionable insights and metrics, looking for potential gaps and areas of need
Develop a support-focused meeting that looks at specifics like support tickets and outstanding requests for fixes and updates. Show your customers that you are listening and working to close gaps for them.
Become an Early Churn Warning System
Create a Foundation
- Be sure you know contract renewal dates
- Churn has already occurred when the customer has reviewed their tech stack spend and you have not shown the value – be sure you are communicating that value frequently
- Create churn indicators to use as benchmarks
- What are common signs in usage that are seen before churn happens?
- Understand your competitor – what are they offering, and can you compete?
- Create battle cards to successfully respond to questions or objections when raised in comparison to a competitor
Tools & Resources
- Regular, scaled communication to your customers on a consistent basis
- Short case studies
- Changes in the product
- Future rollouts
- Events (webinars, trainings, etc.) with registration links
- Aligned product information focused on how it helps customers
- Value-driven conversations
- Work to identify product areas that might lead to churn risk
- Work with support and your other CS peers as you learn where product pain points are
- Talk to your customers and find out how they are feeling about your product
- 1:1 conversations
- Renewal Surveys at consistent intervals
- CSAT surveys
- Create a process with product that helps prioritize any high-risk areas to be addressed quickly
- Create space for your customers to talk and share best practices – great way to build belonging
- Strengthen your customer meetings – make it about them
- Ask questions (open-ended) to make sure you are still pulling in the same direction and goals haven’t changed
- Share best practices from other customers that might help achieve goals more effectively
- Create an ‘early renewal with carrot attached’ program to encourage renewing earlier or for longer terms