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Q4 Customer Success: Renewals and Retention Process
For most B2B companies, Q4 means the time of contract renewals. It can be a busy selling season! It has become just as important, in the SaaS industry particularly, to work to keep existing customers as it is to chase down new leads. Customer retention and renewal are now crucial pieces of business growth. Focusing on customer success and the renewal process in tandem can help improve customer retention.
Whether Customer Success or Sales Teams own the renewal process, it’s important to plan ahead for a jam-packed Q4. Once you’ve set your overall Q4 goals, it’s time to dive in and actually talk to your customers. We’ve got an easy timeline, and some tips you can follow along the way, to help you organize and focus on customer success and the renewal process.
90 Days Out From Renewal Deadline
Conduct Preliminary Customer Success Renewal Research
Before you reach out to the customer about the possibility of renewal, run through some preliminary research. It’s a good idea to have an understanding of their product usage, their overall customer health score, as well as their personal Net Promoter Score (NPS)®. These pieces of information can provide a clear picture of where your customer might be experiencing gaps in the value of your product, but also where they might be the most satisfied.
Email the Customer
It is critical to get in touch with your customers. Reaching out directly can demonstrate your emphasis on customer success and therefore drive renewals and improve customer retention. It’s an opportunity to show your customer all they’ve done over the past subscription period with your product. Have they had any big wins? Passed any major milestones? If your data shows these points in their customer journey, make sure to let them know!
You can also use this email to request a meeting where you and your customer can dive into this data in more detail.
Lead a Call Focused on Customer Success
Prepare a meeting where you can walk through everything your customer has accomplished in this past subscription period with your product. Visuals can be helpful here. This can help lead into a conversation about what your customer wants to accomplish moving forward, and how a renewal of your product can help contribute to their success.
This is a great opportunity to listen closely and use the customer’s voice as you progress in conversations about the renewal process.
60 Days Out From Renewal Deadline
Acknowledge the Upcoming Renewal
Reach out to your customers to explain what they can expect in the upcoming renewal period. Customer success and renewal strategies go hand in hand here — treat your customers as your partners, and give them as much information as possible about the renewal process.
If you haven’t already discussed upcoming renewal with your customer, use this as an opportunity to highlight it. Provide a detailed plan about how your company and your product can continue to help them meet their goals.
You might worry about bringing up the renewal too early, but the more time you give yourself and your team to work through negotiations and approvals, the better. It also gives you the opportunity to offer your customers incentives for renewing early.
30 Days Out From Renewal Deadline
Make the Customer Success Renewal Process Clear
If you haven’t already, clearly outline for your customers exactly what they’ll have to do in order to complete the renewal process. The easier you can make it and the more obstacles you can remove, the more inclined your customers will be to renew. The more information you can provide, the more likely you are to improve customer retention.
You might provide multiple options for completing the renewal process, such as automatic completion, self-service, or manual contract signing. Make sure your customers are aware of their options and you can help them choose the most appropriate method for them.
Send a Friendly Reminder
Whether an email or an in-app notification, don’t miss the opportunity to give out reminders of how a renewal can contribute to customer success. Emphasize what your customers can expect in the coming subscription period, including upcoming releases of new features, benefits for tenured customers, or anything else you think might add value to the partnership with your customer.
Send a Thank You
A quick “thank you” can take you miles when it comes to customer success and renewals. Use this as an opportunity to reiterate that the customer has made a good decision for their own goals, and that you can’t wait to help them go even further in the upcoming subscription period. Customer success renewals rely on a strong relationship between you and your customer — use a thank you note to help underline that.
Keep Planning for Customer Success
If you’ve prepared well for Q4 and you start your efforts early, the end of the year doesn’t have to be stressful. But we’re all under pressure to finish the year on a strong note and ensure not only customer success but customer retention.
If you find yourself needing more tips and tricks about how to plan for the end of the year, check out our ebook — we compiled advice from customer success experts about the best practices for year-end planning, so you can have it all in one place.