Client churn is an issue, and smart sales reps know this. Nearly one-third of sellers even say that it’s getting harder to overcome client churn, according to a SalesFuel study. And as prices rise and economic uncertainty is on everyone’s minds, clients are looking to switch vendors for lower costs. “Companies targeting B2B buyers must work twice as hard to retain clients who may be looking to cut costs,” explains Nikola Mijic for Sales Hacker. “Renewal time is always stressful for companies, but especially in a recessionary market.” But Mijic does have advice for making sure renewal rates don’t falter, and his suggestions include these three best practices:
- Start the renewal process on day one
- Understand the changing dynamics of your clients’ businesses
- Use data to build credibility
Smart sales reps start the renewal process on day one
A client renewal should never be a last-minute thought. In fact, it should begin even sooner than you think. Mijic believes that as soon as a client signs a contract, a rep should start efforts to boost the chances of a renewal. Sellers can do this by being an active part of the client’s entire journey and being aware early of what they want to accomplish soon. Ask the client to list three things that they hope to accomplish within a specific time frame, like the next year. That, as Mijic writes, “makes the conversations throughout the year and the end of the term much more productive and positive.” You will have the knowledge needed to be proactive and make those goals a reality. Continue this step to ensure satisfaction throughout the contract’s term, setting the stage for an easy choice to renew.
Understand the changing dynamics of your clients’ businesses
Another smart sales step is to continue to stay aware of the client’s business and industry. Make efforts to understand their changing landscape, and then brainstorm ways to evolve the value you’re offering. This may mean an upsell or even a new product or service. “By staying on top of industry news, competitor maneuvers, the industry at large, you can give your clients crucial intelligence they would either have to invest significant time to collect themselves or struggle to get elsewhere,” he notes.
Use data to build credibility
Be proactive about showing hard data and results to clients. Smart sales reps make it a point to clearly demonstrate a client’s ROI by presenting clear data that can easily be shared. Translate that data into a story showing how you’ve helped the client achieve measurable results, and then use it to show what more you can do in the future. This will show past and potential value.
This also drives your credibility. You’ve shown that you can be trusted, you are a knowledgeable expert, and you deliver on your promises. “Using data helps build your credibility with customers,” Mijic explains. “Make sure to give them simple, yet impactful data that can be easily shared with their executives — this will help tell a unified story and increase the likelihood of a renewal.”
Even with looming economic issues and concerns over cutting costs, sellers can still positively influence their renewal rates. By being mindful from the very beginning of a contract, and enacting smart sales steps, reps can overcome client churn and be the driving force behind long-term relationships.
Photo by Scott Graham