Subscribed 2019 Is a Wrap!

By Erika Malzberg June 6, 2019

We did it! Subscribed 2019 is a wrap!

Subscribed 2019 by the Numbers

– 2000+ attendees
– 24 sponsors (including Diamond sponsor Deloitte!)
– 529 calories Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo burned during his keynote (as tracked by his connected Under Armour sneakers!)
– And more than $10,000 raised for Juma Ventures and Bhumi Organization thanks to our engaged attendees using our gamified event app

After celebrating our customers and getting our groove on at our Subscribed Cloud Disco on Tuesday night at the City View at the Metreon, we were back to Subscribed on Day 2 to learn and to be inspired.

The morning started with a thought-provoking panel discussion on diversity and inclusion (check out highlights from that discussion in our dedicated blog post, Diversity and Inclusion: Turning Intention into Impact), followed by a great session with Julie Rice, Co-Founder of SoulCycle and current Partner at WeWork who shared some spot-on advice: When making any decisions, the litmus test is always to ask “Is this the right choice for the business?” not “Is this the right choice to get our margins up?”

That advice pretty much sums up the overarching theme at this year’s Subscribed where customers, partners, and extended members of our Subscribed community all gathered to learn how to make the right choices to keep their businesses healthy, thriving, relevant, and forward-thinking, and to continue to satisfy the changing expectations of demanding consumers (who, by the way, are all of us!).

We leave Subscribed 2019 refreshed, recharged, and ready to take our businesses to the next level!

Here are just a few highlights from sessions featuring speakers from companies like, Appspace, Worldpay, Thales Group, Roland Berger, amaysim Operations, CFGI, Bitly, Broadly, and more!

Business Transformation

“Transformation to subscriptions in SaaS is understood. Same for media. It’s different from manufacturing. We don’t expect manufacturer to shift over night. The shift will take time. We have a strong belief that you have to set a challenging goal: 20% revenue coming from new products in the next 5 years — big enough to have CEO support, reasonable enough to be achievable.” – Mike Mansard, Principal – Business Transformation at Zuora

“Public News: 85%+ of firms are doing a digital transformation. Behind the curtain: they’re struggling. True digital innovations are hard to scale. Most industrial natives are stuck in pilot mode. Software acquisitions are not truly “digital.” Sales & ROI of pure digital is not yet materializing.” – Stephan Liouzu, CEO of Thales @StephanLiozu, @thalesgroup ‏

“In making the transformation to a subscription model, don’t look for the perfect solution for one customer. This is the opposite of a SaaS approach. It’s the cat effect: the cat is trying to catch the butterfly that’s the lowest and most accessible. Don’t just look at the classic customer, look for a use case that is scalable.” – Mike Mansard, Principal – Business Transformation at Zuora

“From the street, the value of recurring revenue is much greater than if we just sold products with one and done transactions.” – Laurie Fleet, Partner at PwC @PwC

Culture

“Scaling culture is a tricky thing to do. It goes back to the idea of treating people well. But it’s a time investment. The more successful our businesses are, the more quickly we want to scale them, but the less time we have to develop a bench of people to help us develop people to help bring the business forward.” – Julie Rice, Co-Founder SoulCycle and Partner at WeWork @soulcycle @wework

“Much of a company’s culture comes from its founders in terms of its DNA.” – Julie Rice, Co-Founder SoulCycle and Partner at WeWork @soulcycle @wework

Pricing & Packaging

“Services in the manufacturing sector currently constitute 20% of overall revenues, but generate over 60% of the profits.”- Isaac Chan, Principal, Roland Berger @RolandBerger

“Only 20% of Fortune 500 manufacturing companies have a pricing team. So who’s actually putting a price on things? Lots of times, it’s the engineers. That’s generally not a good idea.” – Stephan M. Liozu, PhD, Chief Value Officer, Thales Group @StephanLiozu, @thalesgroup ‏

“If you are limited on how you can package your products and services for your customers, you lose out on customer expansion and retention.” Roben Howery, Sr. Product Manager, Zuora
“It was a real challenge to get people to make the jump from our free product to the Enterprise model which is a big leap in pricing and value. We needed to meet our customers where they were and fill in the gap. So we have adopted a tiered pricing strategy.” – Kevin Arts, VP Business Operations & Analytics at Bitly, @kevinmarts @Bitly
“One thing that I am currently living is how central pricing is to the whole of operations – people’s jobs, go-to-market teams. It really is an whole business effect. As much as you can, tying it to operations is crucial.” – Kevin Arts, VP Business Operations & Analytics at Bitly, @kevinmarts @Bitly
Billing

“I think of billing as part of my customer interaction process – is it aligned with my customer service model? You have to do it well and without complication or frustration from your customers.”- Laurie Fleet, Partner at PwC @PwC

“Why are invoices so important? Because they’re a way to communicate with your customers. Don’t forget to include a sharp, pithy marketing message.” – Kevin Lussie, Senior Customer Success Architect, Zuora

Payments

Subscriptions are hard, but so are payments. Customers want payment flexibility, there are international and regional considerations to consider, you need to know how to track payments, you need a process to collect on debts – Kyle Kolich, VP and General Manager, Connect at Zuora @kkolich

Quote-to-Cash Transformation

“People want to do more than crunch numbers, they’re looking to gain insight constantly throughout the month and need to leverage tools that are consistent on a contract by contract basis. Then they can use this information to gain insight rather than just making sure spreadsheets produce the correct numbers at month end.” – Don Sobczak, Principal Assurance Enterprise System Solutions at PwC @PwC

“When you have manual contracts that you now want to change and standardize, there’s a lot of effort around having the data you need to optimize. As you move to subscription and usage based models, how do these contracts need to change? Are you going to consider bundling usage based subscriptions with sales? Are you going to have varying performance obligations?”- Don Sobczak, Principal Assurance Enterprise System Solutions at PwC @PwC

“A lot of companies are looking to leverage back office finance teams to give insight on ease of configuring changes rather than manually adjusting systems on the backend.” – Don Sobczak, Principal Assurance Enterprise System Solutions at PwC @PwC

“One of the biggest challenges is that quote to cash transformations are cross functional in nature – not just finance – but legal, IT, operations, sales, etc. Everyone needs to be part of this cycle.” – Laurie Fleet, Partner at PwC @PwC

Monetization

“It always surprises me when I work with clients, how many different ways people are making money.” – Laurie Fleet, Partner at PwC @PwC

“Now is the time to be doing things to put the revenue structure in place, so when you do add a new product your not spending multiple months figuring it out.” – Gregory Lynch, CFGI

Data

“The days of just looking at a spreadsheet are over – we need to take massive amounts of data and use this to help the company make the next steps in its journey.” – LaurieFleet, Partner at PwC @PwC

“If you want to understand your subscribers, nothing matters more than analyzing data to find out what’s working and what’s not. All other factors are driving the data. Understanding the data will unlock the potential for growing your business.” – Mangesh Pimpalkhare, VP Product Management, Zuora

“Operational reporting is different from analytics. If you’re looking at things that add value to your business you need the freedom to analyze the data and slice it in different ways.” – Mangesh Pimpalkhare, VP Product Management, Zuora

“Revenue automation relies on legitimate data – if data isn’t accurate and lacks integrity you’re facing a whole different problem.” – Alivina Antar, CIO Zuora @alvinaantar

“We struggled through the error prone nature of our manual rev rec processes during audits and other pivotal times for the business.” – Carly Bothe, Finance Project Manager for Cloudflare @Cloudfare

“Now that we are facing auditors it’s much easier – you’re not walking them through a spreadsheet but rather giving them access to the system.” – Rupali Maheshwari, Sr Financial Systems Manager at Survey Monkey @surveymonkey

“We’re talking about revenue automation – you should be able to design your system to start with the quote, go through the order, billing and full rev rec with no human touch and no stop or gap in between.” – Paolo Battaglini – Zuora

“Revenue automation affects the whole business – C Suite, sales, board, FP&A, everyone.” – Paolo Battaglini – Zuora

Customer Expansion and Retention

“The trend of superior experience is really closely tied to products and services evolving over time. The expectation somebody has when first subscribing evolves over time. Our consumers, after every month, are expecting us to come up with new products and new value.” – Eric Queathem Senior Vice President at WorldPlay @WorldPay_Global

“Value metrics (cost per use or use per cost), utilization (amount used of a budgeted resource), and efficiency (completion of success rate activities) are the secret data weapons to fight churn.” – Carl Gold, Chief Data Scientist for Zuora @carl24k

“In mobile we focus the most on cost of acquisition and put a lot of focus on churn. We calculate a true cost of acquisition and ROI over time.” – Peter O’Connell, CEO and Managing Director, Amaysim @amaysimAU

“Reducing churn needs to be close to the top effort within any company.” – Matt Baker, VP Operations at Broadly @broadly

“The way in which customers are converting from free to paying is very thoughtful. There has to be a proactive set of steps you’re taking in order to drive the conversion.” – Eric Queathem Senior Vice President at WorldPlay @WorldPay_Global

“My main takeaway in this process is the more freedom you allow your customer, the more loyalty you get.” – Peter O’Connell, CEO and Managing Director, Amaysim @amaysimAU

“A customer saved is not equal to a customer gained. The way you think about retention is obviously a big lever in terms of profitability.” – Eric Queathem Senior Vice President at WorldPlay @WorldPay_Global

“Churn fast facts: Fighting churn is not easy, data can provide insight into the business, good customer metrics enable powerful analysis, behavioral cohorts show how churn relates to behavior, remember to look at how behaviors are related to each other. Pro tip: Use ratios of simple metrics.” – Carl Gold, Chief Data Scientist for Zuora @carl24k

Look for upcoming Subscribed events near you!