Mar 20, 2023

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Who owns customer renewals and expansions: Customer Success, sales or account management?


If you want to keep the peace at the dinner table, three things should never be discussed: religion, politics and who owns customer renewals and expansions. Yet at the business table, it is an important question to ask.

We put these two questions to respondents in our most recent 2022 Customer Success Leadership Study published late last year. The study is based on an annual survey we conducted in collaboration with ESG and sponsored by Higher Logic Vanilla and

Who owns customer renewals?

We defined customer renewals as measured by gross revenue retention (GRR).  GRR excludes expansion revenue which can mask churn and the true performance of the Customer Success team. 

Here’s how the answers to that question—who owns customer renewals—tallied:

  • 50.2% said Customer Success; 
  • 19.2% said account management;
  • 17.7% said sales;
  • 8.9% said a dedicated renewals team; and
  • 4.1% said other.

Compared with the same survey from 2021, Customer Success teams experienced a slight decline in ownership of renewals. Account management teams claimed the difference. Even so, most SaaS companies clearly rely on their Customer Success managers as revenue drivers. 

It’s also important to note that these answers can vary by company size. As the study says, “in companies with lower revenue, Customer Success is the most frequent owner of renewals. Larger companies tend to have these functions owned by sales, account management, or a dedicated renewals team.”

customer renewals and expansion

Who owns customer expansions?

We defined customer expansions as measured by net revenue retention (NRR). NRR can exceed 100% and effectively compares the total value of customers a year ago to the total value today.

Here’s how the survey responses to that question stacked up:

  • 41.8% said Customer Success;
  • 33.3% said sales;
  • 20.3% said account management; and 
  • 4.5% said other.

The full report draws a conclusion similar to that of customer renewals with respect to company size. A Customer Success team’s ownership of customer expansion trends downward as the annual contract value (ACV) increases. At the same time, sales ownership of expansion trending upward as ACV increases.

customer renewals and expansion

The full report is available for download. It will provide you with an insider’s look at the evolving Customer Success landscape based on the firsthand experience of those leading the way with details around their priorities, teams, and charters. 

Related resources:

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