All clients are not created equal. That’s a first-hand fact many of us are reminded of daily. Some clients are great, others not so great. And then there are what we at TruMethods call the “inbetweeners.”
These inbetweeners are low-hanging fruit in your client portfolio. Convert them properly, and you’re going to generate more monthly recurring revenue (MRR) at the right price. But before you can do that, you must first understand what differentiates your inbetweeners from other types of clients on your client roster.
Great clients. These are customers that bought form you for the right reasons. They see you as a partner and look at technology as an investment. They pay the right price and take all of your important recommendations.
Not-so-great clients. Then there are the not-so-great clients. They usually pay too little. Your team doesn’t like dealing with them. They create a lot of service tickets and often don’t take your recommendations. They lower your margins, impact your service quality to other customers, and hold your business back. These are the customers you should look to replace over time. If one of them is a large customer it may be difficult to do, but even more important.
The inbetweeners. And finally, there are the inbetweeners. They’re a bit more difficult to spot. They’re willing to make some investments but not all. They don’t pay enough but they’re close to where you’d like them to be. They view you as a strategic vendor but not a strategic partner. In sum, they’re the “it was okay” response you give when someone asks about the nothing-to-write-home-about steak you had at dinner.
How to identify your inbetweeners
While it’s not always easy to identify your inbetweeners, a couple of calculations can simplify things.
Step one, run the TruMethods MRR evaluator against your client list. Who are the clients in your sweet spot? Generally, the higher the seat price the more potential value they will have from your service.
Then, calculate non-recurring revenue (NRR) in relation to MRR. Look at the clients that are in your sweet spot. What is the average percentage of NRR compared to MRR over the last 12-18 months?
Clients in the MRR sweet spot but below your total NRR average are your inbetweeners.
What can you do to convert inbetweeners to great clients?
Here’s the good news: With a little bit of work, it’s possible to convert your inbetweeners into great clients. However, you need to first be brutally honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions and answer them truthfully.
- Am I making recommendations for their reasons or mine?
- How much does my team know about my client’s business?
- Do I know what’s going on in my client’s vertical?
- What’s my client’s biggest business objectives?
- What’s the biggest non-technical problem in my client’s business?
Jump on the phone with your inbetweeners if you can’t answer the above questions. But when you do, avoid asking, “How are you doing?” They’re not going to give you an honest response! If they like you, they’re going to avoid confrontation, even if they think there are things you can improve upon.
Your goal should be to dig deeper. The purpose of these calls is for you to increase strategic engagement with inbetweeners. Let them know why you’re calling. Tell them upfront, “We want to be more of a strategic relationship.” Find out how decisions are made in your client’s business. Who makes those decisions?
Take the time to sift through your client list to identify your inbetweeners. Not converting your inbetweeners to great clients is leaving money on the table.