What Would You Do? Your Best Customer is About to Leave

In this weeks “What Would You Do Wednesday?” I want to get your thoughts what to do when loyal, longtime, customers do a 180 and threaten to leave.

Inspiron had been Katy’s customer since she was promoted 7 years ago. They had been a customer of CrewTech’s for at least 3 years before that. Her current boss and sales manager Nancy had brought them in.  Inspiron is CrewTech’s best customer and have been for the past 5 years.  Their spend has been growing 10% year of year.  They are always the first to try new products. Inspiron sits on CrewTech’s customer advisory board and is a regular contributor to CrewTech’s product direction. CrewTech and Inspiron have a great partnership.

A month ago Katy received a notice from her buyer at Inspiron letting her know they were going to switch vendors. They let Katy know they still loved CrewTech, but her competitor launched their next generation product and was offering to them for a substantial discount.  They said if she could bring her price down by 25%  and match her competitor, they would stay. Inspiron acknowledged the value-add they receive from CrewTech but 25% discount amounted to millions of dollars and they couldn’t just ignore the difference.  Inspiron let Katy know they wanted to stay with CrewTech and that if she could find away to get to the 25% they would not leave.

Reducing Inspiron’s price by 25% would remove all the margin. CrewTech would lose money.  This isn’t an option, especially at Inspiron’s volume. Katy has brought this to her boss’s attention and none of her suggestions have worked.  Inspiron is very understanding and apologetic but is unwilling to negotiate.

Katy has 30 days till the end of the quarter before Inspiron starts to move to their new vendor and CrewTech’s competition.  What should Katy do to save the account? Is their any thing she can do or is it a lost cause?  What would you do?

How does Katy save this account? What would you do? This is a tough one.