Everyone understands how critical renewals are to your business. Despite the importance of renewals in business growth, many companies and teams struggle with a few key challenges–lack of visibility into the renewal book of business, siloed data, and disconnected workflows between Sales and CS teams.
Gainsight has a solution that alleviates those pains—Renewal Center. We recently asked our friends at Conversica to share their renewal management strategy and how they use Gainsight RO. To listen to the webinar on-demand, access it here.
Conversica is the leader of Business Intelligent Virtual Assistants. Through the use of AI, Conversica helps companies extend their workforce capabilities to attract, grow, and retain customers. Conversica’s success also created some significant challenges. Brian Kaminiski, Chief Customer Officer at Conversica, sat with Gainsight’s Christine Friscic, Senior Product Marketing Manager, and Lauren Olerich, Senior Director, Install Base Marketing, to share his wise insights into Conversica’s struggles, strategies, and renewal wins.
Three Common Renewal Challenges
- Lack of visibility
- Siloed Data
- Disconnected Workflows
The lack of visibility causes teams to miss a centralized view of their renewal book of business. Renewals that are upcoming, late, or missing should be surfaced, and in this economic climate, sooner rather than later.
The second challenge is multiple teams are often involved in renewals. And Sales, CS, or any other team working on renewals might be operating in different records systems. Even if there is a dedicated renewals team, they may not have access to the same insight as other teams (e.g., Customer Success). Both platforms may have robust, valuable data; however, relevance and insight are lost when the data is not centralized.
The reality is that data remains mostly siloed. As a result, teams often end up exporting sales opportunity data into spreadsheets. They also try to combine financial and opportunity data with CS insights from their customer success platform. The resulting spreadsheets require a cumbersome process without the most accurate forecasting.
The last challenge teams are facing is disconnected workflows. Oftentimes, more than one team is involved in managing renewals, making it necessary to have a cohesive understanding of the customer, their goals, and the historical relationship and a way to align on steps to take to secure the renewal. If teams do not have a single source of truth for customer information and a centralized tool for collaboration, the renewal process will be impeded or, worse, impossible.
Customer Success at Conversica
Brian explained Conversica’s 1600 customers’ landscape is a mix of SMB and Enterprise companies. They also have all the CS functions in play—including CSM, CS Partner Success, CS Ops, Support, and more. Convesica groups its customer base into six different segments, and CSMs have varying sized books of business. Depending on the segment, their approach differs between hand-to-hand engagement with larger clients and a more scaled approach with some of their smaller customers.
Their Customer Success team is responsible for all renewals and most of the expansion business (the exception being for the enterprise segment). Their Sales team is focused primarily on new logos but combines with CS efforts to drive renewals into the enterprise segment or as needed.
Customer Success at Conversica is all about balance. It can be complicated in some scenarios to balance both the advisor and the sales role. The CSM acts as a trusted advisor to the customer; however, the role also needs to be commercially oriented.
Diagnosing Renewal Management Challenges
Although Convesica had a way to manage renewals before effectively, they faced a few key challenges that kept them from truly optimizing their strategy and accomplishing their goals.
Lack of Visibility: Getting the right visibility into your customer base is a challenge that every company struggles with at one time or another. Conversica’s primary challenge was managing their renewals through their CRM. While Conversica was able to leverage the platform as a “one-stop-shop,” it was primarily built and oriented for the sales organization’s processes rather than what the CS team managing renewals needed. This made it difficult for the team to get the relevant information and align around an accurate renewals forecast. “We do forecast the business across each of the areas,” Brian said. “So we historically had some challenges around being able to forecast more successfully. We wanted to focus on driving more long term engagements and more multi-year engagements as we were looking to drive more commitment between ourselves and our customers.”
Before Gainsight, spreadsheets held all the answers. Because they didn’t have visibility into the data they needed in their CRM system, the team found themselves managing their forecasts in spreadsheets, making it difficult to ensure accuracy and forecasting consistency. Additionally, with Conversica’s six customer segments and a leader for each, it was even more difficult. They needed to consolidate the individual forecasts for each segment into a single forecast that could surfaced to the company’s leadership. Each leader had a unique approach to forecasting.
That is where Gainsight’s Renewal Center came into play. It centralizes and provides visibility into their renewals forecasting, making it easy to share information across the organization. All stakeholders could look at a renewal forecast and easily understand the what and why behind it. Gainsight allowed Conversica to centralize all of their renewal data into a single source of truth to simplify their forecasting and drive more accuracy across the board.
Limited Flexibility: When Conversica wanted to make renewal-related changes in their CRM environment, they needed to engage their CRM admin. They found it challenging to get CS-related items prioritized because the CRM was geared towards their Sales organization’s needs and new business acquisition. The team needed a more flexible solution to customize what sales were doing in their CRM. They found it in Gainsight Renewal Center.
Conversica discovered when they switched to Renewal Center, they had complete control over how their team wanted to manage renewals. They could make changes quickly and be more self-sufficient while still syncing the data back to their CRM to ensure consistency between systems. It was a “good balance of both of those worlds for us.”
Lack of Alignment: Managing renewal opportunities in their CRM was not easy because the way they viewed opportunity stages for renewal was not aligned to how the sales team approached new business opportunities. “We were sort of working on trying to seek alignment with Sales and CS on those opportunity stages. But it was always challenging to sort of think about those in different ways. Renewals needed different fields, different data, different types of renewals, and different types of structures.”
Ultimately, this lack of alignment made it more challenging for the CS team to manage their renewals optimally. They needed a solution that would allow them to follow the processes that worked for renewals instead of new business opportunities.
Benefits of Renewal Center
Renewal Center is built to help align entire organizations around renewals and drive efficiency in your processes as a centralized command center. The dedicated renewals dashboard gives Conversica the visibility into its renewals book of business needed to optimize their approach. The ability to pull in relevant opportunity data from their CRM and enrich it with Customer Success insights also allows Conversica to improve forecast accuracy for their renewals.
Brian noted that Conversica spends a lot of time in Renewal Center’s Forecast tab. “It gives us the ability to filter by any specific data element, which aligns nicely with our six segments. We can look at our forecast in totality. We can look at our forecast in any of the segments.” This function also provides greater flexibility to hone in on the most relevant data to each user. “If someone is responsible for one area,” Brian shared, “they can filter out the other scenarios and simply focus on their specific area. It’s given us a nice match to the granularity that we provide in our business and our forecasting to be able to mirror that in our reporting.”
By surfacing the renewals that need the most attention, Gainsight’s Renewal Center allows you to lean on automation and free up your team’s time to focus on the renewals that need the most attention. At Conversica, this helped them more easily identify those at-risk renewals and helped them streamline preparation for their weekly renewal meetings.
Overall, Renewal Center has enabled the team at Conversica to gain greater control and flexibility in managing their renewals, improving the accuracy of their forecast and how they report on renewals, and increasing the efficiency of their renewal processes.
To learn more about how Gainsight can help you optimize renewal management, schedule a live demo of our Revenue Optimization products today.