Who Should Own Renewals?


Who should own renewals? You have three choices here… customer success, account executive, or account management. While the size and the complexity of the deal matter, there are pros and cons to each model.

1. Customer Success

  • Pros: Customer success teams are focused on customer value, making them well-suited to manage renewals. They have a deep understanding of the customer’s needs and can proactively address any issues.

  • Cons: Success teams often feel a conflict of interest when negotiation time comes. They are building a relationship, and don’t want to tarnish it by playing bad cop. They also lack formal sales training and are incentivized to paint a rosier picture of the customer’s health since they feel it reflects on their performance.

2. Account Executive

  • Pros: Sales teams live to generate revenue, and managing renewals is a natural extension of this responsibility. Sales representatives already know how to negotiate contract terms and pricing.

  • Cons: Sales teams do not have the same relationship with the customer post-sale as the customer success team. They also are used to chasing winners (finding the 2 or 3 deals out of 20 that have the most juice). In renewals, you have to fight for every customer, and the habit of chasing winners usually drives the wrong behavior and short-term thinking.

3. Account Management

  • Pros: This team can bridge sales and customer success, ensuring a balance between revenue goals and customer satisfaction. Renewal and expansion are different than new sales and require a bit more follow-through and touch while maintaining commercial discipline.

  • Cons: This approach may lead to a lack of continuity if the team drops in at renewal time without understanding of the customer’s history and needs.