Driving Subscription Growth in a Fast-Paced Environment

By Aarthi Rayapura December 15, 2016

Zuora’s CEO Forum: Driving Growth in a Fast Paced Environment with Jeff Kim, CEO of Neumob and Adrien Schmidt, CEO of OpenBouquet. Moderated by Jon Ross, VP of Sales, Commercial & Mid-Market for Zuora.

Silicon Valley based startups Neumob and OpenBouquet shared their strategies for driving subscription growth as part of a moderated panel discussion with a crowd of 50 attendees at Zuora’s San Francisco office this week.

Neumob develops technology which accelerates mobile transactions, as evidenced by their impressive stat of speeding up load times and in-app performance of 30-300%.. Apps like ESPN, Accuweather, and Talking Tom rely on Neumob technology to help them keep their hard-won users and maximize revenue. Neumob’s key growth strategy is to go up market and sell to the enterprise.

OpenBouquet’s Analytics API auto-magically creates a RESTful APIs that query relational and SQL-on-Haddop engines. OpenBouquet lies on the other end of the acquisition spectrum from Neumob, relying on automated self-service sales and account management to grow at scale. OpenBouquet CEO Adrien Schmidt has created a great customer onboarding experience through automation for even their largest of customers.

Both companies shared a few key takeaways on what you need to drive growth in your subscription business, at both ends of the acquisition spectrum:

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1. Pricing and Packaging Flexibility
When Neumob envisions the future, pricing/packaging on various verticals has to be creative. For example, one of the questions they pondered is, should they price on the ability for a customer to change their business KPIs? Zuora’s usage-based billing and ability to ingest data on the backend offered them “unrivaled flexibility” to test and iterate pricing on-the-fly.

2. Automate To Grow At Scale And Create Upsell Opportunities
OpenBouquet came to Zuora because they wanted to automate the whole process of onboarding even with their larger customers. Part of their transformation was to create an entirely self-service and self-governance model.

Because a big part of their customer experience was around subscription billing, they found it easier to have automated account management rather than have customers have to deal directly with sales reps.

Also, with automation, OpenBouquet was able to create opportunities to expand through upsells. With Zuora, they were able to give developers direct access to the OpenBouquet service and allow them to start using all the great features, even though that developer might not be the purchaser. This reduced friction in the sign-up process and formed the foundation of a strategic upsell path.

OpenBouquet also grew with their ability to offer add ons. A developer is the basic component. They have an authentication service which is an extra couple of dollars per month, per user. Their Roadmap feature is an add on as well. This paves the path for OpenBouquet to upsell the new services that developers consume.

Additionally, they are able to now do post-paid usage billing to only charge for usage. This means that when there are a group of developers using their service, they can bill for the entire team. At the end of a billing period, customers just pay for usage based on how many people on the team or using the service.

3. Expand Internationally
Five years ago, companies at Neumob’s stage were not thinking about using multiple currencies. But, thinking big, Kim launched his sales team in London. From day one, he set up his subscriptions to bill and collect revenue in GBP, EUR, and USD. As one of their initial target markets was gambling, and London was the center of the gambling world, selling international worked out well for them, especially because they had the back end billing and collections platform to support this international expansion.

4. Land and Expand – Price Intelligently To Go Upmarket
A lot of companies in OpenBouquet’s market target individual developers. In fact, buying decisions are increasingly being made from the bottom up. This created the ability for OpenBouquet to move into the enterprise. Scalability is built in their design: as an OpenBouquet customer, you can start with five teams, and then scale down your cost. Negotiations with customers are built into the product.

This land and expand strategy for their large clients is enabled by automation using Zuora. Instead of spending an inordinate amount of time servicing individual customers, they are moving away from assisted sales to selling over the web. As of today, all of marketing and 90% of Schmidt’s attention is focused on acquiring self-service customers.

Self-service sales, moving up-market to the enterprise, and international expansion are just three of the 10 core SaaS growth strategies. Check out the others at www.zuora.com/saasgrowth