The Road to Renewal – Creating Customers for Life

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What’s more important to a cloud-based software company – acquiring customers or retaining them? 

The answer.  Acquiring new customers is important to driving growth in the business, but retaining customers is even more important.  Why?  Think about the leaky bucket analogy.  If there are too many holes and water is leaking out of the bucket faster than its being poured in – then the bucket will never be full. 

leaky bucket.jpgEnsuring customer success is a core value and focus at Host Analytics.  Onboarding customers, getting them live, and driving long-term satisfaction are mission critical processes to us.  As such, they get a great deal of attention by our management team.  

The philosophy of the Host Analytics' Customers for Life program was recently highlighted in a report published by Blue Hill Research, titled “Analyzing Host Analytics’ Customers for Life Program: The Road to Renewal.”  The report was written by Hyoun Park, Chief Research Officer, based on an interview with Alison Holmlund, Host Analytics SVP of Customers for Life.  Here’s a brief summary of the report. 

Keys to Successful EPM Renewal

This research report was written as part of Blue Hill’s focus on the “customer journey,” highlighting best practices leveraged by vendors to drive customer renewals, and the impacts of this on customers.  As with other cloud-based software companies, Host Analytics must retain customers for multiple years to be profitable.  As a result, we need to provide value and support customer needs across the full customer journey, from initial awareness of the company, through to selection, implementation, and ongoing usage and support, to addressing new needs. 

Blue Hill Research identified three keys to successful EPM renewal embraced by Host Analytics:

  1. Training: Successful customers took the time to pay attention to train and onboard employees on how to use the solution.
  2. Clear Goals: To achieve success, companies must first define success in short phrases that are clearly identifiable.
  3. Prior Experience: Clients with prior EPM software experience have an advantage in gaining value and preparing for renewal.

On the last point mentioned, prior EPM software experience, Blue Hill validated that this is common across many software categories.  Customers who have prior experience with packaged software understand the implementation steps and are typically more successful than those switching from spreadsheets for the first time.  This is mostly due to the massive process changes that often occur as companies switch from spreadsheets to a packaged software solution.  Customers upgrading from spreadsheets are usually successful, as long as expectations are set correctly regarding the implementation process..

Getting to Renewal

leadership_alisonh2x__profile.pngGetting to renewal can be even more challenging than the initial sale, if the expected value from the software has not been achieved.  So the Host Analytics Customers for Life (CFL) team immediately gets introduced to customers when they select the solution.  The team then stays connected to the customers throughout the training and implementation process, and through the support cycle. 

Formal renewal discussions typically start 3 – 6 months prior to the official renewal date.  However, Blue Hill noted that the renewal itself is meant to be an anti-climactic process, quoting Alison Holmlund as saying, “Renewal should be an afterthought based on the customer’s existing success, meeting the needs of the customer, and achieving business objectives.”

Learn More 

Blue Hill Research wrapped up the report with its recommendations for current and potential clients of Host Analytics.  To get the details and learn more about Host Analytics’ Customers for Life program, download the report.

Access the Research Report

Posted by on February 7, 2017
John O'Rourke

John O’Rourke is Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Host Analytics. With a background in accounting and finance, John has over 30 years of experience in the software industry and 20 years of experience in EPM product marketing at Hyperion Solutions, Oracle and Host Analytics. He has worked with many customers and partners on financial reporting and planning initiatives and has spoken and written on many topics in EPM. John has also held positions in strategic marketing and product marketing at Dun & Bradstreet Software, Kenan Systems, and Decisyon. John has a BS degree in accounting from Bentley University and an MBA from Boston College.

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