The New Subscription Management Economy – Moving from CRM to RBM

By Amir Hunga

AllCloud Blog: Cloud Insights and Innovation

There’s a new show in town, and if you are a growing SaaS company, you better get familiar, and fast. For quite some time now a new trend has been deeply affecting the world of customer relationship management. Indeed the one-time-nice-to-have-met-you customer ‘fling’ has turned into a long-term customer relationship long ago. However, relationship business management (RBM) has taken this shift one step further, thus dramatically changing the way we interact with our customers.

 

A quick recap

Remember back in the day, when customers would use the product, get the check and pay? This minimal interaction required almost no communication between customer management and finance management systems, and billing offers were limited.

Well, those days are mostly behind us, as customers slowly evolved from consumers into active, dynamic subscribers.

It all started when brands realized the value in shifting from transaction-based relationships into subscription-based relationships. In a customer centric world, this was only a natural step; in their millennial form, customers wanted a more personal interaction with the brand and demanded constant communication, asking to upgrade, downgrade, pause or suspend their subscription, sometimes on a monthly basis.

This intense relationship with the customers requires the highest degree of interaction between CRM and ERP systems, with ever-changing pricing offers and subscription types. And so in turn, these relationships evolved into subscription-based services. And that is what we call today ‘subscription economy.’

 

So, what’s all the hype around ‘subscription economy’?

Subscription economy is said to be disruptive because it affects everything – from payments to business growth. And so suddenly we found ourselves in need of a whole new architecture to address the new challenges of rapidly changing customer requirements.

 

Now, what traditional CRM or ERP system can possibly support this kind of “neurotic” customer behavior?

The answer, quite simply, is that these systems are not built to support that kind of agility and flexibility. The truth is, this new complex reality we call “subscription economy” is virtually disrupting everything we knew about customer management systems.

Fortunately, with technology always trying to fill in the gaps, we now find ourselves with a new solution to this complicated relationship, which enables not only incredible flexibility but also introduces a whole new level of customer familiarity and insight. Zuora was designed precisely with that purpose in mind, being the only system available today dedicated to subscription management. Why is it the only relevant solution around?

 

Here are 3 reasons why traditional CRM and ERP just can’t handle the new requirements:

  • Business Flexibility – Growing your product offering is business flexibility, and in a way, the minute you build a single, or limited product offering, you’re putting spokes into your own wheels; A subscription based business needs multiple, agile business models with fast time-to-market.

  • Financial clarity – Traditional finance and payment systems are not designed to handle subscription changes, such as an upgrade, for example. And so, any change in our business model highly impacts our finance systems. This causes difficulty in maintaining financial transparency in the subscription world.

  • Customer view – In the traditional sales model, the CRM has completed its part as soon as the transaction took place. But what about customer engagement, user habits, abandonment alerts, etc.? These stats are vital in the subscription world, to produce valuable customer information – a basic requirement if you want to get to know your customers better.

 

But Zuora can

Zuora enables the essential creativity we need in building subscription models. It also makes the connection between what we sold and who we sold it to, and thus offers excellent insights on subscribers’ use habits, engagement rates and behaviors.

By filling the gap between CRM and ERP, Zuora, in fact, establishes a comprehensive customer view and offers a unique customer lifetime value, that no other system does. Needless to say, additional customer insight is precisely what differentiates businesses in this new subscription economy.

 

Zuora and Salesforce: The new power couple

The combination of Salesforce and Zuora is currently the most common configuration available for subscription management, and this twosome is quite the match.

Thanks to AllCloud’s deep knowledge and expertise in sales, ERP and the architecture of subscription management, we know how to deliver a full lifetime customer view that no one else can, simply because we have the technology and the know-how. Salesforce’s pairing with Zuora allows us to speak the subscription language, and after building infrastructure for so many SaaS companies, we now obtain unique, incomparable vertical knowledge.

Did anyone say “know your customers”?

Without getting into the details of the business value we derive from getting to know our customers better, suffice it to say this new subscription technology is key to establishing a long-term, committed relationship with today’s subscribers.

We think subscription economy is only scratching the surface in this customer-centric world, and that your business should have the best, most advanced technology to face this challenge.

Amir Hunga

Read more posts by Amir Hunga