No-one needs to be told the importance of securing renewals. They are the life-blood of both vendor and reselling partners. However, some vendors fail to realize the leakage and spillage caused to securing renewals by the lack of data, systems and tracking. At both the vendor and partner level.
A vendor will likely have a CRM or PRM that tracks when renewals are due. And will perhaps send the customer a 30, 60, or 90-day reminder. In addition, it should ideally provide partners with details of the renewals due to them from their customers, in the coming quarter and month. This enables the vendor to come at the opportunity from both angles – reminding both the customer and the partner.
There are however a couple of important caveats that vendors invariably miss when it comes to securing renewals:
- Ask the customer if they wish to remain with their current partner of record. This can be a simple automated email with a Yes / No option. The purpose is it clearly ringfences this customer for the partner or gives the customer the option to move if they are not happy with the services supplied by their current partner of record. In addition, it has an ancillary driver in pushing up the CSAT (customer satisfaction), as partners will know that their customers are asked regularly if they wish to remain with them. While many partners don’t need to be kept “on their toes”, little things like this help to drive a service culture.
- The second important program provision is a special price for the incumbent partner. Invariably, if you are a “Gold Partner” or whatever your metallic denomination, you will receive a set discount structure for products and renewals. But there are some sneaky opportunists out there who are looking to pick up renewals business and they may also be Gold and so be able to offer the same price and try to temp customers away. Stealing the lunch from competitive partners, right under their noses rarely makes for a stable channel and customer ecosystem. Therefore, giving the incumbent partner a special price for the renewal, will maintain their status as trusted advisor with advantage and demonstrating how they add value.
“Today we see our Professional Services business is the fastest growing component of the business. Smaller in terms of value but fastest growing. And the way in? The renewal discussions when we come in and discuss options with the client.”
APAC NICHE RESELLER
The importance of securing your renewals base, within enterprise clients, needs no explanation. But it is just as important within the SMB sector. This may seem like a lot of work for a relatively small return. But this important base gives both vendor and partner a larger prospect base with shorter sales cycle into which there are opportunities to cross and up-sell. Selling into an installed base is also less expensive in terms of sales and marketing expense.
“We go in to have a conversation about renewals and pick up other business – we are getting some good cross fertilization.”
AMER LARGE RESELLER
As a vendor, you should be encouraging that stickiness between partner and customer. Obviously with your product or solution at the core of the relationship. Partners, both large and small, will have focused industries, verticals or niches and will have greater knowledge of the needs of the customer. It pays for all concerned to keep that relationship intact. Availability and visibility of detailed data for both the vendor and the partner is an essential piece of the puzzle; linking the customer to the partners and therefore enabling conversations to begin in a timely manner.
Renewals are an opportunity to revisit and rejuvenate conversations with the customer. In addition, they are an opportunity to discuss additional requirements and the services and solutions the partner can offer.