8 Bulletproof Strategies to Prevent Customer Churn During an Economic Downturn

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Kyle Coleman

SVP Marketing at Clari

Published: July 14, 2023

Churn is a company killer. 

Ignore it–especially during tough economic times–and it’ll drag you down. 

It’s also as natural as gravity. Leave your customers alone and they will inevitably drift toward churn.

But why do customers churn?

Recently, Clari’s Kyle Coleman sat down with Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta. Here’s what Nick had to say about the all-too-familiar experience of customer churn: 

“For customer success, you are never done. Because what’s happening with the customer? New stakeholders. Going public. Going private. Reorganization . . . . it’s kind of like gravity. If you’re not constantly pushing value up the hill, it’s just going to roll back down.”

Churn is always there. 

Because things change in management.

Because the market is competitive.

Because single thread relationships are fragile.

All this movement adds up. A report from BCG estimates over $2 trillion per year is lost in the end-to-end revenue process. 

Churn is a big part of that. But, unlike gravity, you can prevent churn. 

8 strategies to prevent customer churn

Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta mentioned some powerful strategies to prevent customer churn. 

  1. Agree on what value is. Elevate “value” from a buzzword to a differentiator by organizing your team around a common framework. This ensures every department is delivering at a high level.
  1. Translate value into product features. With your value definition in place, it’s time to level-up your products. Inject value directly into the tools your clients rely on.
  1. Orchestrate these into business processes. Next, make sure your internal processes support your value-based system. For example, identify your customer’s goals when inputting new opportunities into your CRM.
  1. Be brave. Be prescriptive. Help clients achieve that value. Get out in front of the value conversation. This means not just asking clients what they want, but recommending what they should do based on your company’s best practices and expertise.
  1. Build multiple relationships. A single-thread relationship is one of the quickest paths to churn. Don’t let company turnover lead to a broken dynamic. Build relationships with multiple folks up and down the customer organization, and regularly touch base with them all.
  1. Create a customer success plan. Customer success should be proactive rather than reactive. It’s not just about solving immediate problems but about helping customers achieve their long-term outcomes.
  1. Use your CSM as a secret weapon in expansion meetings. Customer Success Managers are typically closer to value drivers than salespeople. They’re talking to the customers regularly, and know better than anyone how the customer feels about the product. Loop in your CSM to talk about value drivers when pitching your next opportunity.
  1. Track the following:
    1. Product value driver. Which features drive the most value for your customers? These features generate ROI, helping your customer see the value they’re receiving.
    2. Product stickiness. Which features do your customers use most? These features are sticky, keeping your customer plugged in and engaged. 

Value and relationships. That’s the name of the game. 

Want to dive deeper into these strategies? Check out the full conversation with Nick here.

How to upsell (yes, even now)

There’s opportunity out there. 

If you know where to look. If you know how to upsell in a fragile market while all your competitors are retreating. 

Ready to get started? 

Here are some prime upsell strategies: 

  1. Figure out which customers are growing. It’s always going to be easier to sell when the boat is rising. And, even in a tough economy, there are rising boats. So, dig in and find your thriving customers. Get in front of them.
  1. Focus on pushing consolidation. Two tools for one vendor. Who wouldn’t want that? Even in a down market, revenue execs can see the value in consolidating vendors and products into one easy-to-use solution. So, move consolidation up your conversation list.

Spot churn before your customers do

Churn is a natural part of the revenue process. And it can take you down if you don’t build a strategy to prevent it. 

Using the tips here, you can see where churn is coming from. And you’ve got strategies to prevent it. 

Now, take your churn-busting to the next level. 

With Clari, you can identify critical revenue moments and act on them early to prevent customer churn. 

Book a demo to see how.