Upcoming Contract Renewal

Playbook Overview
When should you run this playbook?
- You have active, engaged users who are on time-bound contracts.
- You’ve noticed that 90 days prior to renewal is a high churn period.
- You want to build or strengthen your expansion motion.
Who to target?
Enterprise accounts with high seat adoption and product usage nearing the end of their contract period.
Playbook goal?
Defend existing contracts from churn, with potential for contract expansion among highly active users.
Responsible team(s)?
Sales (Account Managers)
Customer Success (CSMs)
  • Renewals are not guaranteed and it’s best to begin the conversation early. Build a genuine relationship and act as a solutions consultant rather than focusing on just closing the deal.
  • Make sure you’re using the same definitions of success as your customer and that you understand what their goals are for the coming year.
  • Consider offering incentives for early renewals to make the decision even easier for your customers

What is the key signal?

Your current contract with a customer is on the horizon. Because this signal is time-bound and pre-determined, you can choose a standard number of days pre-renewal to begin running this playbook; 90 days is most typical. 

What is this playbook? 

One of the best ways to defend against customer churn, as well as potentially expand pipeline, is to check in with your accounts ahead of their next contract renewal. A common mistake is to assume that healthy accounts will automatically renew on their own and don’t need any intervention. By building the strength of the relationship ahead of renewal, ensuring that your customers are happy, and highlighting the value they get out of the product you’ll not only avoid the risk of a surprise churn, but you may even identify the opportunity to upsell the contract to a higher tier. 

When should you run this playbook? 

Review your accounts on a quarterly or half-yearly basis, taking note of which accounts will be up for renewal. Review factors like how long the original contract took to close, how healthy the account is currently, and whether there is an opportunity to upsell services or expand a contract length. While outreach timing will vary, consider starting sooner rather than later. Customers rarely appreciate feeling like you are only involved and helpful during the 30 days ahead of contract renewal.

Step 1

Conduct a quarterly or bi-annual review of your accounts. Identify all of the accounts with renewals coming up before your next review period. Investigate the account health using indicators like seat usage, key feature engagement, and number of recent support tickets. If applicable, look at any recent NPS scores to understand whether your accounts are promoters, neutral, or detractors.

Step 2

Focus on reconnecting with accounts well in advance of renewal. Begin reestablishing rapport at least 90 days before their renewal date. Proactively seek feedback on their product experience thus far, as well as where they may need more support or benefit from unlocking more features and usage limits. Approach this experience with a consultative mindset, focused on building value and positive brand experiences for your customers. What are their goals for the next year? How can you support them?

Step 3

Address the renewal early. After reconnecting and addressing any immediate issues, start highlighting the upcoming renewal. Understand how your customer defines success and value, and build your renewal pitch around those definitions, especially if you plan to recommend an expanded contract. Go deep into account research by analyzing their usage. Does their usage indicate the potential to layer in additional use cases? Have they run into any paywalls within the product? Consider offering more favorable terms or pricing, or adding in additional features or increased usage limits for early renewals. 

Enable this playbook in Pocus

  1. Connect your relevant data sources.
  2. Select your goal (in this case, Revenue Retention).
  3. Build your playbook based on the signal (trigger) and actions outlined above.
  4. Run the playbook by rolling it out to the relevant members of your team.
  5. Iterate over time based on reporting and results. You may find ways to improve this playbook’s effectiveness beyond what we’ve outlined here!
About the author
Alexa Grabell
Co-Founder & CEO at Pocus

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