As a Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider, managing billing relationships and subscriptions can be daunting. When dealing with New Commerce Experience (NCE) clients, this challenge becomes even more complex. Every aspect of renewal management poses unique challenges, from keeping track of subscriptions to sending timely renewal reminders and devising retention policies. In this blog, we’ll dive into the complexities of renewal management and provide guidelines for overcoming obstacles related to pricing, positioning, and financial risk management.
Legacy vs. NCE: Looking at the Many Changes
In August 2021, Microsoft introduced the new commerce experience (NCE) to provide enhanced capabilities and increased flexibility for partners when purchasing and managing products. While many partners continue to purchase license-based services in the legacy way, NCE has brought many new changes. The top changes include:
- Modifications in commitment, such as monthly vs. annual vs. multi-year, allow customers to choose a subscription that best fits their needs.
- The introduction of term-based pricing enables different pricing for annual and monthly commitments.
- Price increases for certain SKUs, with prices for some commercial plans.
- Promotions on how partners discount monthly SKUs needed to be done as Microsoft began incentivizing partners to move to NCE.
- Several currency changes, such as consistent global pricing for Microsoft products, CSP pricelists changing to USD, semi-annual exchange rate calculation for local currencies, and more.
Guidelines for Efficient Renewal Management
To design an effective renewal process, you need to start backward by picking a timeline and understanding the considerations required to decide on that window. Once you have done this, you can finalize the renewal timeline that works best for your organization, whether it’s 30 or 60 days.
Renewal management can be a complex process, and it’s impossible to cater to every customer and relationship. That’s why it makes sense to adopt the 80/20 rule and focus on an approach that caters to 80% of your customers.
Leading with data is crucial in designing a successful renewal management process. This means considering who you are renewing and what products you are renewing. By determining the amount of data you have on customers, products, and prices, you can create a more effective renewal strategy.
Designing the outreach and messaging is also essential to get customers to renew. Creating a cadence and communication strategy will help you decide how to communicate renewals to your customers and what mediums work best for them. Here are some questions that impact renewals, the customer experience, and effectiveness:
- Who is the outreach from? Is it the sales team, billing, or customer success? Do you treat renewals as an opportunity?
- How are you positioning the message? Are the contracts in spirit set up for Auto-renew, and can you use the renewal process for confirmations?
- Be transparent and clear in the estimate – for example showing a discount on a line item or across the invoices impacts the perception and the conversation and reduces friction.
How Work 365 helps manage renewals and NCE Complexities
The rest of the blog highlights how Work 365 helps manage and design the renewal process. Here is a sample renewal timeline: We’ve picked T- 37 days to include preparation and accommodate any price changes or promotions.
Identify subscriptions that need to renew:
With Work 365, you can identify subscriptions and pertinent renewal information such as Commitment End Date, underlying Microsoft Product, and the Annual Contract Value.
Notify the team responsible for renewals.
Using the Report Scheduler feature, individuals or groups can be notified via email on a set cadence to initiate the renewal process.
Insights and Data
Use PowerBI data and insights to create a strategy for renewals and your exposure and create a winning renewal strategy. Look at the revenue by customer, important renewal date, and the products coming up for renewal.
Billing History and KYC
In most cases, the renewal team must look at past invoices. Work 365 surfaces critical billing, subscription, invoicing, and payment information at an account level. These insights can be coupled with KYC information to manage credit, renewal windows, and pricing.
Manage Subscription Price Changes
The Product Service feature manages price changes from Microsoft, highlights subscriptions without exposure, and sets pricing based on a custom date or renewal. The system can also update the cost price of a subscription based on the Microsoft invoice to accommodate promotions.
Automate renewal communications
Use the low-code no-code functionality of the platform to automate the renewal process with actionable emails.
Microsoft NCE has brought many changes in how subscriptions are managed and handled. With new modifications around pricing, currency, and promotions continuously being introduced, CSP partners must review and design effective renewal management processes. In addition, they must build strategies to manage risks and take steps toward improving outreach and crafting new communication strategies.
One way to optimize the renewal management process is to adopt a billing automation solution such as Work 365. With this tool, CSP partners can simplify and streamline the entire renewal process, from billing to communication, and ensure that they have the right policies in place for auto-renewal and retention. Work 365 can help CSP partners navigate the complexities of Microsoft NCE and manage renewals effectively, all while improving customer satisfaction.