It's a mistake to only focus on the initial sale.
Instead, you should think from the beginning about how you will successfully sell the renewal.
Because it puts you in an ongoing mindset of maximizing Lifetime Value (LTV).
This forces you to continually:
Deliver continual or new value in your core product that is relevant and important
Destroy the “one and done” mentality of one-time sales
Expand your portfolio of product cross-sells
1\ Delivering continual or new value in your core product that is relevant and important: Customers renew subscriptions when you deliver ongoing or new value that is both:
Relevant (they care about it)
Important (has consequential bearing on their life)
Relevant + Important = Pain in their left chest (could be a heart attack)
Relevant + Unimportant = Deciding which movie to watch on a Friday night
Irrelevant + Important = For most people in their early 20s, retirement planning (it’s important but most people in this age bracket don’t care)
Irrelevant + Unimportant = Blue or black ink to sign a document
Knowing that subscription renewals come from solving relevant and important problems focuses you on building features that actually matter to your buyers.
2\ Destroy the “one and done” mentality of one-time sales: People generally buy from people they like – or at least respect.
Prioritizing renewal success from the very first sale incentivizes you to treat your customer relationship with a long-term view – specifically one that encourages you to take the actions necessary to ensure your buyer sees you as their ongoing preferred choice over potential alternatives.
This could mean:
Exclusive access to beta product releases or early releases
Proactive account monitoring and issue resolution
Regular check-ins calls and meetings
While “liking” is not a necessary prerequisite for ongoing commercial relationships (I’m sure you’ve bought from people or companies you didn’t care for), it’s an easy way to bolster your renewal rates.
3\ Expand your cross-sell portfolio: You can only squeeze so much revenue from renewals of your core product - or even upsells to more advanced versions of it.
Focusing on successful renewal sales forces you to continuously develop your product portfolio with cross-sells that complement your core product.
iPhone + AirPods
Samsung Smart TV + Samsung Sound Bar
Nike shoes + Nike running apparel
Lego building set + Lego mini-figures
In other words, what could you sell that would enhance the experience of using your core product?
In summary, focusing on successfully selling the renewal incentives you to meaningfully:
Shift focus from the initial sale to producing successful renewals that maximize LTV
Deliver continual and new value in your core product that is both relevant and important to buyers
Destroy the “one and done” mentality of one-time sales and force you to take concrete actions that keep you in buyers' good graces so that you remain their preferred choice
Force you to expand your cross-sell portfolio to continually expand your LTV