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Question about selling software support plan

Hello to everyone, it has been a while since I last contributed. I have a new career working for a software company as an Inside Sales rep. My main duty involves calling customers that own the software and offering them an Annual Support and Maintenance program.

I am struggling with calling previous clients. About 20% of our clients renew their Support and Maintenance plan each year. The remainder of the clients have not renewed in as little as a few months up to several years. How do I convince them that they should renew now? I do not have a good "hook" or selling point because many of our clients say that the software is still working without any problems.

To give you a little more information, our Support and Maintenance plan includes:
1. Latest software update (usually one per year)
2. Unlimited calls to our Technical Support staff
3. Insurance plan against lost or damaged software.
4. Discounts on training classes

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. - by red_hunter
To find a hook....what does your software do for the customers?

Would training them help it do more/better of what it is supposed to do? - by helisell
Only 1 in 5 people renewing... the first question I have is WHY?

What are the biggest objections you are facing? - by MrCharisma
To find a hook....what does your software do for the customers?

Would training them help it do more/better of what it is supposed to do?
The software was designed specifically for the woodworking industry and the majority of our customers are cabinet makers. The software enables the customer to take basic drawings and create it out of wood.

From my standpoint the training would definitely help, for two reasons. (1) Almost half of the customers I speak to have never attended our 3 day introductory training class and (2) The software is updated and modified each year which means there are features available today that did not exist 3 or more years ago.

Only 1 in 5 people renewing... the first question I have is WHY?

What are the biggest objections you are facing?
The most common objection I hear is price. The renewal averages about $1200. A lot of people are blaming the tough economy and claim they do not have the funds. HOWEVER, there is another issue that I am not comfortable with. Since my company offers the software support and maintenance as a package, the clients that renew yearly get our new updates and revisions as a part of their renewal price.

BUT, the customers that have not renewed in the past year or longer are charged a penalty of $450 per year, capped at 3 years, for not renewing. This means that for the customers I am now trying to call who have not renewed in the last 4, 5, or 6 years are going to pay an additional $1500 to get the latest version of the software and to get support.

This is the first software company I have worked for and I am wondering if this penalty is common? I am struggling with the concept of penalizing the customer for not buying from us in the past. - by red_hunter
Speak to your marketing people.

Get them to do a promotion whereby customers that you want back in the fold are given an incentive ($$)

You then have a great reason to call them AND......

Revisions and updates.....are merely features.......you'll need to turn those (logical) features into benefits for the customer.

Features exist in logical thinking and are difficult to work on in terms of sales...

The benefits (I'm assuming there ARE some) will be emotional....
can your customers make more money as a result of the updates?....or work more quickly?....or produce better designs?

No one cares about updates......wiifm....WIIFM.....

That's ALL they want to know.......WIIFM.....






What's in it for me (the customer).....how can....whatever YOU'VE got...benefit THEM.

Figure that out and you well on the way...good luck - by helisell
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