what’s in a winning renewal story?

While provocative messaging approaches remain popular and effective when it comes to acquiring new customers, a previous B2B DecisionLabs experiment found that this kind of message isn’t universally applicable—and could even backfire in a renewal selling context.

In sum, that study confirmed that creating an effective renewal message (or Why Stay story) is a much different enterprise than creating a message geared for net new customer acquisition. The research showed that to make the most convincing case for a customer to renew with you, your message must reinforce four causes of Status Quo Bias (Preference Stability, Perceived Cost of Change, Anticipated Regret and Blame, and Selection Difficulty). Interestingly, those causes are the same ones companies must attack when they’re the outsider trying to convince a prospect to change, according to B2B DecisionLabs research. Conversely, the most effective renewal story will recognize those same decision-making principles, but apply them in reverse, so that instead of challenging the customer, you’re reinforcing your value.

This research builds on B2B DecisionLabs’ previous renewal messaging study, conducted with Dr. Zakary Tormala, a social psychologist and expert in messaging and social influence. The following study is designed to test and confirm a specific messaging framework for reinforcing the status quo and encouraging decision-makers to renew with (rather than switch away from) a current business partner.