Renewals at Risk? Time to Be Proactive

Greg Nishihira

Need help getting proactive to protect your critical accounts? Here's some insight to help you stay ahead of the game.

In B2B enterprise sales, successfully managing renewals is crucial for maintaining long-term customer relationships and driving growth.

So why do so many sellers find themselves blindsided when an expiration date draws near?

To avoid the loss of critical accounts, it's important to proactively assess the health of your contracts well in advance of renewal risk. Here, I’ll share a few strategies that can help you stay ahead of the game.

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  • Greg is an accomplished sales professional with a proven track record of exceeding targets and cultivating strong client relationships. Currently, Greg is a Major Accounts Director at Anaplan, and has over two decades of experience as an individual contributor and sales leader at companies including Expressive, Astound, BMC Software, and more. Throughout his career, Greg has honed his expertise in identifying clients’ unique needs and tailoring innovative solutions to meet their Corporate Objectives while also mentoring sales professionals of all levels to achieve greatness.

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1 / Verify and communicate value realization.

Running a value realization exercise is a key step in understanding the impact your solution has had on your customers' corporate metrics. By clearly demonstrating how your product or service has helped them achieve their goals, you not only reinforce the value you bring but also create an opportunity to address any potential concerns before renewal time.

This exercise should be conducted early and often enough to give customers ample time to share their successes with relevant stakeholders and decision-makers. I like to design them as a simple executive one-pager that everyone who is enjoying the success supported by my solution can use as a flag to wave.

Value realizations can also help you mitigate the risk of factors beyond your control—such as acquisitions or restructures—that can often influence the renewal process. Proactively documenting and highlighting success stories and positive outcomes provides your champions with tangible evidence to support the renewal decision.

2 / Be a solution, not just a tool.

To secure renewals, it's essential to position your offering as a solution that continuously solves real problems and delivers real results. Doing this effectively means first understanding how your solution aligns to your customer's most urgent pain points—so you can regularly align those points to the tangible business benefits your solution delivers.

In addition, avoid falling into the trap of focusing solely on pre-sales efforts and then dropping the ball. Instead, ensure you invest significant effort into post-sales activities to show that, unlike a basic tool, your solution delivers ongoing value. By consistently proving yourself as a trusted partner, you will increase the likelihood of renewal while fostering long-term customer loyalty.

3 / Build a strong army of champions and executive sponsors.

Your success in renewals is closely tied to the strength of your relationships within the customer's organization. That’s why we build champions, right?

But what happens if you rely too heavily on one person—and then they change positions or leave the company?

That’s why I believe firmly in cultivating a network of champions and executive sponsors, individuals who are all passionate advocates for your solution. By investing time and effort into building a deep bench of backups, you create a safety net that guards against unexpected departures and maintains momentum during renewal discussions.

4 / Chart your account health for easier tracking.

To stay well-informed about your customer's sentiment and likelihood of renewal, try to maintain some type of dashboard that helps you visualize your relationships. Personally, I like to use a heat map. Using a standard stoplight color scheme, I identify the individuals who are enthusiastic supporters (green), those who are neutral (yellow), and any potential detractors (red). Then I can easily see an overview of my accounts and understand quickly where to focus my time. Naturally, I like to see a lot of green.


In the fast-paced world of B2B enterprise sales, taking a proactive approach to renewals can enhance your chances not only of securing retention but also of expanding successful relationships to see year-over-year growth. Remember, maintaining an open line of communication and continually showcasing the impact of your solution will be key to long-term success. For more discussion on renewal strategies, visit the Strategic Sales Network forum.

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