There’s 1 Key Underdog Strategy of Subscription-based Businesses in 2018

The fact of the matter is there’s a flavor for everyone in 2018 and subscription businesses have to adapt and evolve.

The Customer Experience (CX) is dominating the subscription economy because it’s never been easier to replace a product or service with a solution of similar or equal value. Sales Hacker reported that over 700 new SaaS businesses, across 32 categories, launched in 2017. Meaning more options are available today than ever before, and for buyer’s and seller’s, it can be prett-y prett-y overwhelmingly. This reality has catapulted CX to the forefront of what it takes to win in 2018.

So, what strategies or measures have you taken for customer acquisition, growth and retention?

Why CX matters

We can thank the cloud race and rise of digital business transformations for fueling this obsession with the customer experience, or CX. Having strong CX has gone from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” for long-term business success.

With the cloud, it’s never been easier to replace a product or service with a solution of similar or equal value.

Give the customer a reason to leave, and they will. Don’t give them a reason to stay and they may go find a better experience at a better price point. The fact of the matter is there’s a flavor for everyone in 2018 and subscription businesses have to adapt and evolve. It reminds me of the modern day “customer is always right” mentality that dominated the service industry 20 years ago.

Example: If you disliked Snapchat’s latest update, it’d take less a few minutes to switch platforms effortlessly. Instagram and Facebook offer the similar features with access to the same or larger audiences. Same goes for any B2B SaaS or subscription-based business.

The Underdog is Mastering the Customer Experience…

Today’s underdog of success for subscription-based businesses has to be building and executing Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM). Existing customers are more likely to spend more, extend referrals, provide real-time feedback and participate in case studies for marketing, etc…the list goes on. Check out more on the topic here: where I write about why existing customers are so important to the long-term success of your business.

It’s all about owning the customer lifecycle for an optimized user experience. Do it well and reap the rewards of win-wins all day. Don’t and watch churn eat away at your business. It’s not enough to have a ‘sticky’ product anymore.

What is Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM)? CLM is a process and methodology-based discipline. Completely customer-centric, CLM is used to improve the user experience by establishing a cadence, or touch-point schedule, to strategically add value and drive adoption at the right time with the right customer.

Remember, CLM is Alive!

CLM is a living organism within your company. For it to grow and prosper, it must be a fundamental aspect of your culture. That means all internal orgs are onboard and bought-in. And as your teams collaborate to deliver delightful journeys for clients, you learn what works and what doesn’t. Behaviors, trends and user feedback are the holy grail. They feed the CLM ‘engine’. Allow outside-in feedback to act like the code of your CLM algorithm, tailoring the process based off commonalities of your users. In other words, instead of deciding how to segment your customer base, let them. Not literally, but by using their feedback and experience as your guide for how to group clients into buckets, or groups, that have similar needs, wants, desires or shared benefits using your product.

In the future, CLM will no longer be a by-product of your Customer Success or Inside Sales teams efforts to book business. The entire company will be focused on achieving (at least) one common goal: an incredible customer experience.

Passionate about this topic?

I intend to continue sharing best practices and key insights here for effectively managing the customer experience and lifecycle in the subscription economy.

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Author: Aaron Cowell

I love helping B2B SaaS companies grow and scale for long-term sustainability. I believe: • How you scale matters. • Long-term and sustainable growth happens through mastery of customer experience. • SaaS companies are feeling the pressure to grow by any means necessary. • When B2B's are too focused on winning net-new business, it's to the detriment of their paying customers, loyal employees, and future prospects. My background / experience: • Closed over ~$1.25B in paid subscription revenue for B2B SaaS clients since 2010 (50,000+ deals and counting) • 9 years experience, in B2B Sales, SaaS Customer Success, Account Management, Biz Ops and Go-To-Market Strategy • Servitude: Over a decade in servant and global organizational leadership

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