• Diana De Jesus

Building a Renewal Playbook In 5 Steps

Renewals are complicated.


From company to company, different teams may handle renewals, and/or the renewal process may be different for each customer segment.


Things can get messy but one way to get around this is by creating a go-to playbook for renewals.


Paul Philip, the CEO of Amity, breaks down how to put a renewal playbook in place that is outcomes-driven –– a.k.a getting the signature 💵


The details


In this post, we are recapping a webinar hosted by Amity called “How to Build a Powerful Customer Renewal Playbook” led by their CEO, Paul Philip.


Amity is a Customer Success platform that has been around since 2012. They’ve helped organizations scale with their real-time playbooks, intelligence, and automation.


Naturally, the folks at Amity know a thing or two about Customer Success playbooks so let’s dive into our three takeaways:


  1. What is a playbook and why do we need one

  2. Types of renewal model and renewal ownership

  3. Renewal playbook sample

What is a playbook and why do we need one


Playbooks are your recipes or set of rules to follow. They outline what to do in different scenarios––like renewal or QBR––and how to go about doing these things. It can help you standardize your process and be consistent with your customer experience.


And because everyone is at a different stage and has a different model (high touch, moderate touch, land and expand, etc), you won’t find a playbook from another organization that 100% fits what you’re doing at yours.


For Customer Success Managers, playbooks are crucial! Paul recalls many times where he’s missed a step or two whenever he doesn’t have a playbook outlined. Playbooks simply help with accuracy. What’s best is that you can also measure the performance of a playbook which can lead you to understand what’s working and what needs help. For managers, playbooks can also give you a glimpse of how your team is performing.


Types of renewal models and renewal ownership


Renewal model


Because there are so many business models out there, we can think of renewals in two ways:


  1. You have a contract- the contract will have an expiry date and you’ll need a new contract with that customer.

  2. Perpetual customers - these customers may or may not have a contract and they have the option to churn at any point (i.e., month to month).


Renewal ownership


Generally, ownership of renewals may fall within these 3 types of models:


  1. CSM managing the renewal by themselves

  2. The CSM hands over the customer to an Account Manager (AM)

  3. CSM and AM tag-team


The biggest variable is how much work it takes to renew the contract. If it’s a much larger contract, it’s probably going to go through a few phases (legal, procurement, COO, etc) before it’s completed. Getting the contract moving through all these stages takes a lot of time and work. Generally, a CSM doesn’t have the necessary skills or time to handle this and that’s usually where the AM comes in to navigate the contract portion of the renewal process.


Renewal playbook sample


The key to a strong playbook is designing it backward. You design it from the outcome you’re trying to achieve. When you do this, you end up with a simpler more effective playbook.


Paul starts off by outlining the outcome and mapping it to the starting point:



Let’s work our way back from the outcome “Execute new agreement”:


  1. Review agreement - Before the contract is accepted by the customer, there’s a step in which the contract is reviewed. Generally, the process isn’t as straightforward, it’s rare to get a signature right away. Customers generally need to review the contract and suggest changes.

  2. Prepare agreement - Before the customer has the agreement, the CSM or AM or both need to prepare the agreement. This can be a contract or a proposal or a design. In the agreement, you want to demonstrate what value the customer will get out of the renewal. Paul recommends having an appendix in the agreement that documents the customer’s problems and what benefits they’ll get from renewing.

  3. Customer review - This could be a quarterly business review, an annual business review, or a basic touchpoint but on this call, you want to understand how things are going with the customer. This is also an opportunity to revisit the value add from the previous agreement and what’s next.

  4. Send renewal notice - Before the customer review, you’ll need to send the customer the notice. This is where you highlight that the contract is expiring and you want to look at the next year in your relationship. Depending on your business, this may look like 30 days or 2 weeks prior. At Amity, Paul and his team do it 30-60 days ahead of renewal. The notice will cover logistics (dates, length of the agreement) but you also want to start building on the value and outcome from the discussion you’ll have. You can do this by reminding them of what their goals were in the last contract period and encouraging them to imagine where the usage and the value can go for the next year.

  5. 90-day internal review - This entire process kicks off 90 days prior. At this point, you’ll explicitly review how the account is doing internally. Doing this will help you develop your message to the customer, understand the value add and improvements needed. Some questions you can ask yourself are:

  6. What were their goals and how did we do?

  7. What was their engagement like?

  8. What’s their healthscore?

  9. What’s their attitude/emotion?

  10. Is there anything that we promised and didn’t deliver or something we over-delivered on?


Once you’ve defined all the steps, your playbook should look like this one:




To wrap things up, Paul recommended a few things. 1. Dedicate your scheduling as part of your playbook 2. Use your internal review notes/learning to feed into the customer review 3. if negotiating are getting tough, it’s good to have the value + outcome to remind customers why we’re doing this.


Summary

  • Because we’re all at different stages and every org is different, we can’t just swipe a playbook from someone else

  • Ownership of renewals can get complicated, understanding which model(s) to use is part of building our playbook

  • Start from the outcome and work our way back when building our playbook

Shout outs


Thanks to Amity for hosting this webinar,! You can go follow them on Twitter.

And if you want to hear more from Paul, follow him on LinkedIn.


LISTEN TO THE EPISODE


 

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