By Glen Edington VP Client Delivery at ServiceSource

When starting out to help a business transform its renewals culture, we carefully gather all existing data about revenues, opportunities, resources, etc. The most difficult thing to measure may be the most important in terms of the success – the business culture.

Misaligned culture can show up in many ways, including:

  • IT budget constraints which inhibit access to data & tools that are required to enable the renewals sales motion
  • Sales teams that focus exclusively on net new sales rather than renewals
  • Sales management that doesn’t support the unique renewals training and development requirements
  • Sales and marketing strategies that are not aligned on cross-sell and/or up-sell campaigns

Any of these problems can be significant barriers to the success of your renewals transformation or new subscription business. Below I’ve identified the 5 critical elements to successfully navigate the “cultural” challenges you may encounter.

1) Being a change leader


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Resistance to change is a problem in any organisation – and it applies to your efforts to ramp up recurring revenues. Your plan may require that many people change their current ways of doing business.

  • Renewals sales reps need training in new sales skills. If you put tools in place to gather the data they need, they will spend less time wrangling data and more time selling. Depending on the individual, this may or may not be a welcome change.
  • Sales and marketing teams work together differently to nurture existing customers and support cross-sell or upsell campaigns.
  • You may need to move away from legacy processes for gathering and handling renewals. Those who are expert in those systems may resist; you will need to enlist their aid in the transition.

Understand the scope of the change, and then implement targeted strategies to overcome resistance.

Realities Of Renewals: First Understand The Culture
Realities Of Renewals: First Understand The Culture

2) Share your vision of success

People need to understand why you’re undertaking this change in how they do renewals. Share your vision for what recurring revenues can be or what direction your business model is taking. People may not realise the revenue and margin impact of even small percentage point differences in renewal rates. If possible, point to other companies in your industry that are having success. Simplify the message and educate the entire team!

3) Get high-level buy-in

Make sure the leadership is behind your efforts – this will be critical in helping you get the resources you need.

4) Set a path with interim targets

If you have a long distance to travel, don’t try to get there in one stretch. Setting rolling targets for KPIs, for example, or interim objectives will make the business plan seem more realistic and will allow time for team members to progress through the stages of change (surprise, anger, rejection, acceptance, commitment.)

5) Celebrate successes

As you reach those interim goals, acknowledge and celebrate the successes. As people start to see the significant cumulate impact of your renewal efforts, they will understand the value of efforts to support recurring revenues and become more supportive of the ongoing change necessary.