Renewals are massively important to SaaS businesses. Make sure you start the conversation with your client sooner, rather than later.
Renewals are possibly the main job role of client success. Get this wrong and the business will feel the consequences. Knowing when to start speaking to your client about the renewal is important and can make the process easier and less stressful.
A great place to start is by looking back at how long your previous renewals have taken. Even with happy clients, contracts, agreements and paperwork are never at the top of anyone’s priority list. As a consequence, it can take longer than you think to get a signed agreement back on your finance team’s desk. Ideally, you’ll have all of the communication stored in a CRM system with and checking back through previous renewals might reveal on average it takes you a month from the opening conversation to getting that paperwork back. If that were the case, I’d want to start the process 6 weeks out and give yourself two weeks of insurance.
From my personal experience, the process turns out to be much longer than four weeks, more like 3 months, and it never hurts to start sooner rather than later. An advantage here is the old adage “forewarned is forearmed”. The earlier you start the conversation, the earlier you might realise a churn is on the cards, and the earlier you know that, the more time you have to turn the situation around. If you need to fly the Product team in for a roadmap session or get the senior management involved, this all takes time to arrange.
I had a large client who’s renewal date was December 31st, New Year's Eve! Clearly, no-one on either the client side or in my business was going to be around to sign contracts etc over the Christmas period. As a consequence, I agreed with my contact that we needed to have the renewal all squared away by the end of November. New Year’s Eve was a very obvious data, but it does raise the point that it’s also good for you to know about any personal holidays. If the renewal is in the summer months, do you know if the key decision maker will be taking time off? It’s definitely something you should ask. This becomes even more important if you have international clients, different cultures have different national holidays and it’s easy to get caught out.
In summary start sooner rather than later!
Simon has over 10 years helping clients achieve their goals through the use of software. Having previously lead Customer Success teams in London, Europe and New York City, Simon now owns Kupr Consulting working with B2B SaaS companies to improve their Customer Success teams and processes.
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