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Your Customers Are On PTO, Now What?: How to Get Ahead of Your December Renewals

Ready or not we are in the Q4 holiday season! I'm sure you're planning your own PTO - Few days surrounding Thanksgiving, maybe a week off during Christmas, but guess what, so are your customers.

Most Customer Success teams see an increase in the number of renewals in Q4 impacted by historical buying cycles which means not only do you have more to do, you have less time to do it.

Similar to years past, I ask that my team work diligently to close out all of their Q4 renewals before Thanksgiving to avoid paper process issues with folks out of the office or procurement backed up reviewing new contracts. So here are a few things you can do to make everyone's life easier.

1) Start the process earlier: At ClientSuccess we manage our renewal process 120 days out; so roughly 4 months before the renewal we start the conversation to avoid the last minute rush. In the past when I worked with Global Enterprise organizations it wasn't uncommon to start the process 6 months out (sometimes even more depending on their requirements).

2) Be Clear on Their Process: Make sure that you are crystal clear on who will need to be involved and what the process looks like. Most of the time there are more people involved than you think and the process has quite a few steps. Once you know the who, it's also acceptable to ask about their availability - if you know a key player is going to be out for 2 weeks, plan for that.

3) Communicate Your Intentions: Tell you customers why you are starting early or why you are working to get things executed in advance of their end date; truth is this benefits them as much as you. Think about how much more relaxing your time off will be when you know you've completed everything.

4) Manage Expectations: It's important to manage expectations with your customers as well as internal stakeholders. Be sure to communicate next steps, timelines, changes etc. don't leave anyone guessing or in the dark. Make sure internal notes and documentation is clear and current and it's even helpful to establish a recurring cadence with your customer to ensure you always have a "next meeting" secured to align on the next steps - especially for large Enterprise companies.

5) Have things Ready: Prepare proposals, quotes, SOs, forecasts in advance of meetings with customers and internal stakeholders. Be prepared and try to accelerate things on your end. Make educated assumptions in your preparation to keep things moving and don't come to conversations starting from scratch.

Partner with your manager and any team members you need to so you can chip away at your renewals as early as possible. While we are nearly done with October, save this pro-tip for next year so you can start working on them in July or August to ensure you've got plenty of time next year.

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