By: Jackie Schmid on January 29th, 2020
Proactive Steps to Make Technology Refreshes as Predictable as iPhone Upgrades
Originally published May 1, 2019I am less than 6 months away from being able to upgrade my iPhone. How do I know that? I hopped on my providers’ website and checked. Why did I check? Because I’m excited about getting the iPhone 11 with three forward-facing cameras. It is absolutely ridiculous, and I don’t REALLY need the new version. However, I like having new technology. It makes me feel good!
Do your customers feel this way about upgrading their technology? Do you think they anticipate the new features that you’ll provide with the new technology? If the answer to either of these questions is “no” then keep reading. We have some ideas to help your customers get excited about their next technology purchase, and make the refresh as predictable as their iPhone upgrade.
Setting the Stage for Predictable Technology Refreshes
To start, you should talk about the lifecycle of the technology before you even make a sale. Set the expectation early that your customer will have to think about what happens when the technology starts to become outdated, and with your solution they can be proactive in terms of keeping their systems current.
Selecting a Finance Program that Encourages Upgrades and Refreshes at End of Term
The first proactive step is to select a monthly payment program that will encourage upgrades. Fair Market Value leases and rental agreements have a built-in decision point at the end, giving you the best opportunity to talk to customers about their next solution. This article talks about what happens at the end of a lease.
Positioning the Technology Upgrade During the Discovery
Positioning the technology upgrade during the discovery phase is one of the most important times. It’s here that you get to shape the conversation and influence the customer, not only before they’re ready to buy, but often before they’ve engaged with the competition.
Talking about future upgrades and how long they believe technology will last will start to position future upgrades and the value of having updated technology. We put together these 13 questions to ask during a discovery that will help position a monthly payment as well as a technology refresh.
The Technology Refresh Talk at Negotiation
Use the negotiation as an opportunity to reflect back on all the information you got during the discovery. This is an ideal time to remind the customer how having a refresh strategy will help them leverage technology on an ongoing basis to help them remain competitive.
If you can get your customer to see technology as a differentiator, you can get them to limit the emotion and risk of waiting too long to upgrade their technology.
The Timeline to Talk About Your Customer’s Technology Upgrade
Congrats! You closed the sale. Your customer has their new technology. A job well done! Except, it isn’t really done. Staying close to the customer throughout the life of their technology is critical to ensuring a refresh. There are four times to meet with your client to ensure a smooth upgrade along the way.
One Year Before the Agreement Expires
If you develop technology roadmaps for your customers, their upcoming technology upgrade is already a topic at your Quarterly (or Periodic) Business Reviews (QBRs). By the time your customer has one year left on their agreement, you should schedule an annual review to conduct another discovery. Use the questions below to help you identify the right refresh strategy for them.
- How is the solution working?
- What has changed in your business since we introduced this solution?
- What are your business objectives over the next 12 months?
- Can I educate you on new innovation?
Three Months Before the Agreement Expires
When your customer has around three months remaining on their agreement, you can request an upgrade quote. Since each buyout/upgrade quote is only good for 30 days, each time a monthly payment is billed, you’ll need to request another quote.
At the time you request the quote, you should start to build out what their new solution looks like. By asking your customer some good questions, you can ensure you are on the right track.
Two Months Before the Agreement Expires
At two months before the end of the agreement, when you engage with GreatAmerica, request an updated quote to upgrade and provide details of the new deal. We will have to re-approve the customer for the cost of the hardware, software, and project costs. You may also include the cost to upgrade the solution into the new deal.
At this time, if you and the customer are ready to move forward, you can request documents for your customer to sign.
Your customer should also reach out to GreatAmerica when there are 60 days remaining to notify us if they intend to upgrade or buyout the solution at the end of the agreement so we may plan accordingly.
When Your Customer Makes the Final Regular Payment
By the time the customer reaches the end of their agreement, you should be working on getting the new deal closed. Once they make their final payment, you will need to request a final buyout/upgrade quote.
At that time, we can update the deal to reflect the new upgrade quote (which may be reduced if they’ve made a payment) and send you documentation to get signed. Then the standard process follows. You send an invoice for the new project, and let us know if the customer wants to schedule their payments to be due on the same day of the month as their previous agreement.
Your Technology Refresh Strategy
Curious about what options you have to move the technology refresh along at the end of an agreement? This blog reveals the three mistakes to avoid and three strategies to keep your customers happy with their technology.
Jackie Schmid is the Director of Strategic Marketing of the Unified Communications & IT Group at GreatAmerica Financial Services located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Jackie is responsible for building brand awareness and gaining strategic relationships through creative marketing. Prior to joining GreatAmerica, Jackie worked in the TV News industry as a producer and executive producer at the local CBS and FOX stations where she helped shape the programs delivered to the market. Jackie’s finance career began in 2011 when she joined GreatAmerica to support the sales team serving the Office Equipment space.