According to a recent study, 72% of organizations have a dedicated team with one job: to handle service contract renewals. But even with such dedicated resources, Gartner suggests that fully 35% of maintenance contracts lapse due to lack of visibility or management capability. So where is the disconnect? Why are companies spending money on teams to handle service contract renewals but still missing at least 35% of those renewals with their customers?
IT Renewal Opportunities Are Small But Numerous
Part of the problem is that the revenue associated with renewals is small and the work to stay on top of them is complicated and time consuming. When looking at them as individual pieces, it's hard to justify the return for most sales teams. For this reason, renewals tend to only come into play when sales is dealing with their largest customers.
But those smaller numbers add up and it would be a mistake to ignore them long-term. For instance, an individual maintenance renewal worth $3,000 may not seem worth pursuing on its own. However miss 10 of these "small" renewals a month and suddenly the company and the sales team is looking at a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Since maintenance is not a one-time sale, it's easy to see how this recurring revenue stream can help a channel partner's bottom line. It's also much easier to reengage an existing customer than to go and find a new one, especially on a service they have already been sold on once. The channel must take a long view of their contract data to see the real opportunities they are losing out on every month.
IT Maintenance Contracts Create Tracking Data Complexity
In addition, many companies are missing not only when contracts are set to expire, but also missing out on the opportunity to consolidate or revise them to co-terminate. Simplification not only helps Channel Partners, but having this kind of info to offer their customers is a great way to re-engage with existing clients. It offers the customers a valuable service if they're maintenance partners can anticipate and simplify their contract needs.
Unfortunately getting this info boiled down into clear recommendations isn't always easy. Too many companies are still relying on Excel sheets to track their warranty and service maintenance data and asking their sales teams to update them "as needed." This strategy leads to human error, forgotten updates by an already busy sales team, and no consistency around any of the customer information.
As resellers grow in size, finding and connecting customer contract and warranty data becomes even more complex. Identifying when a sale closed or when hardware shipped is simple, but determining the next opportunity date on those pieces of equipment and the associated value is far more difficult. If a single sale involved multiple distributors, many sales representatives will abandon the effort due to the time-intensive research it takes to go through all the necessary data.
At the distributor and manufacturer levels, tracking customer contract data is also challenging, as these companies are two to three levels removed from the actual sale. Since manufacturers typically supply assets to distributors and distributors manage relationships with VARs, the volume of excessive data makes accurate tracking nearly impossible. Products can get registered incorrectly, leading to sizable gaps in manufacturer data. Manufacturers may know a product was sold, but they have no record of the end customer. Or they may know the end customer, but not which VAR sold the service.
No matter the circumstance, the end result is always the same: a lack of a comprehensive, consolidated view of contract data.
Simplify Your Data With Intelligent Contract Maintenance Tracking Tools
This is why having an intelligent tool that can track and alert resellers on upcoming renewals, is an essential resource for every Channel Partner. Ideally it should offer easy automation and customization. Tracking the data so that alerts are sent not only to the reseller but also sent the resellers' clients on their behalf anytime their customer has an upcoming maintenance renewal or event they want to be informed about.
A Tool to Track Contract Maintenance Renewals is A Value-Add for End Users, Too
We know CloudCover offers a unique take on a maintenance management platform for Channel Teams. For one thing, its vendor agnostic. Our platform wasn't built with one manufacturer or support vendor in mind. It was created so that contract, renewal, and asset management could all take place within a single, easy to understand and edit dashboard.
The end result is a dashboard specifically built to meet Channel Partners needs now, and one that we're continuously customizing and refining as your needs evolve. In addition the platform offers such out of the box features as ticket and incident management support and SLA reporting. Everything is further supported by a 24/7 on-call global support team, dedicated to our partners' customer satisfaction.
Our platform can be purchased alone or as a custom branded product. Many channel partners use it as a ready to go-to-market value add for their end-users.
The "How" of Data Integration Should Be the Start of the Conversation for any Contract Maintenance Tool
Giving customers the ability to see and understand their own data helps build trust and simplifies future maintenance needs and renewals. But getting up a running needs to be a smooth process for everyone.
If you choose, CloudCover can act as a member of your team to co-sell the packaged solution to your customers, This can be done on a full-time basis or until your team has mastered the demo and sales pitch, and they can run the calls on their own. Regardless, we'll always be there to assist and train during the onboarding cycle and after the sale.
CloudCover is already designed to easily integrate with common enterprise software packages and data via API. But beyond that we have an entire data science team dedicated to ensuring data integrity and usability. No matter what form data is in, our team has developed a multi-tiered workflow to make sure data is integrated smoothly and quickly into the platform. We'd be happy to walk through this documentation on one of our demo calls.
Getting a normalized view of your company's entire maintenance portfolio is key to avoid missing renewal opportunities, large or small. There's money in that data but the work to dig it out and refine it into a useable form remains a challenge for most resellers. With our intelligent contract maintenance platform, CloudCover can do the digging for you.
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