As John Philips, General Manager of EMEA for Zuora, noted in his welcome to the 8th annual Subscribed London, attendees could look forward to a full day full of “lightbulb moments,” not just advice on how to take a product and sell it for $9.99/month!
Instead, Subscribed events are about changing your thinking from subscriptions as just another sales channel to the idea that recurring revenue models represent a radical shift in the way that you interact with your customers and operate your business.
Every stop on the Subscribed World Tour offers a lens on the Subscription Economy. These events are the stage on which the stories of the Subscription Economy are told. But we don’t write the stories; our customers do.
Our customers aren’t only adding 5 million subscribers per quarter and $40 billion in transaction volume. They are transforming. They are innovating. They are reinventing themselves. And they are delivering great experiences to their customers.
And at Subscribed London, companies like Omoove, Wix, Philips, Radiuz, EveAdam, Elsevier, Yara, the Telegraph, and more shared those stories on stage — their successes, their challenges, their WTF moments (as our CEO Tien Tzuo likes to call them! See his book Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company’s Future—and What To Do About It, for a whole chapter on this!), and their sharp insights for how to launch and scale subscription businesses.
We recognized just a few of these customers in our annual EMEA Subscription Economy Excellence Awards (EMEA SEE), identifying the Supergrower, Transformer, and Innovator.
Read on for just a few highlights from today’s amazing customer, partner, and Zuora content:
“Usership is about turning things into services. The things are still there but they’re being accessed as a network or system of services. There are still bikes, music, tractors – but you don’t think about these things as physical things anymore. Services recognize you, they understand your preferences and needs, and adapt to your situation. They need to give you choice and freedom and deliver ongoing value.” – Tien Tzuo, Zuora — @tientzuo @zuora
“In Japan, car share companies data showed 0 miles driven on cars being used. Why? Customers were using cars… but not to drive! They were using cars to make phone calls, charge phones, take naps, watch movies — lots of things but driving! In the era of usership, you never quite know how your services will be used! – Tien Tzuo, Zuora — @tientzuo @zuora
“In a traditional business like insurance, you bill once a year or month. In the new industry, like for carsharing, we do 15k billing/payments/invoicing process a day. This is a very different utilization, different in terms of relationship with your customers, and different in terms of technology.” – Edwin Colella, Omoove — @edwinmaria @Omoove_mobility @octotelematics
Launching a Subscription Service / Shifting to a Subscription Model
“We are seeing more and more of the world’s top 100 brands transform their products into subscription services to meet customer demands and new growth. When you look at go-to-market motions for what kind of growth is important, we see that it makes sense for B2B to prioritize existing accounts whereas B2C want to scale the number of accounts until they hit saturation, and then think about things like price.” – Varun Kohli, McKinsey and Company — @vk_is @McKinsey
“The farmer isn’t excited about owning fertilizer; they are excited to apply it. How will they use it on the field? So how do we find a business model that will help those farmers and expand our reach to the 500M farmers across the world? Our service isn’t to sell fertilizer. We are a knowledge company.” – Stefan Furnsinn, Yara — @yara
“If companies are transforming and shifting to subscriptions, it’s because they are seeing growth.” – Elad Eran, Wix @wix
“The keys to a successful subscription launch? Launch fast. Iterate (and iterate again!). And minimize the impact on your finance and IT operations.” – Michael Mansard, Zuora — @zuora
“There are two phases to shifting to a subscription model: exploration and execution. They don’t combine well. In exploration, make sure you understand what the customer needs, and that you can validate that. Then you can move on to the next phase in the subscription maturity model.” – Johan Tripp and Armin Vermerris, Philips — @Philips
“If you try to launch your subscription model on a traditional technology stack,it’s going to increase complexity and hinder your ability to deliver on the experience that the customer is expecting.” – Chris Stura, PwC — @PwC_UK
“There are three key dimensions of monetization: 1) the way you sell (how you carve up your products and features), 2) how you charge (the fundamental revenue model and how that scales with consumption), and 3) what you charge (the amount)” – David Smith, Simon-Kucher & Partners — @simonkucher
Iterating and Optimizing Your Subscription Service
“You’re going to make mistakes with the launch of your subscription model, but success isn’t in how you launch; it’s in what you do after. – Tien Tzuo, Zuora — @tientzuo @zuora
“We made every possible mistake: pricing was wrong, campaigns were wrong, paying service wasn’t good enough. It was very disappointing. But I’m glad we took all those learnings this year. We’ll probably make more mistakes next year. But it’s important to make mistakes, and recognize those people who make mistakes, but hopefully we learn and get it right.” – Stefan Furnsinn, Yara — @yara
“Churn is just another way of getting real customer feedback. With a subscription model, that churn rate metric gives you immediate insight that you can’t get with a traditional one-off model. And that enables you to make improvements. Because you’re not going to get it right the first time. Churn forces you to innovate.” – Riaz Vali, EveAdam — @eveadamUK
“Out of our 1400 customers on Zuora, not a single customer that has been with us for a year is still using the same pricing that they launched with. In other words, companies are always innovating.” – Sanjeev Kumar, Zuora — @zuora
“Once we thought we discovered the sweet spot, we went down that path. But then we found another sweet spot. You have to moderate your company every 6 months and change your business every 6 months.” – – Victor van den Berg, Radiuz — @RADIUS_NL
Once you launch and have buy in of the business, you have to see growth. How do you drive towards that growth at the moment? And then how does that change?” – Stefan Furnsinn, Yara — @yara
“There’s always an overall objective for growth, but how that plays into priorities across the organization — like for different regions — has to be more specific, depending on the maturity of the region.” – Zen Jelenje, Elsevier — @ElsevierConnect
“To get results and learn from iteration you have to prioritize. Iterate with a purpose, have clear hypotheses, and challenges you’re looking to solve or opps you’re looking to capitalize on.” – David Smith, Simon-Kucher & Partners — @simonkucher
Billing System Modernization and Automation
“The biggest risk is inside your company. Dare to change. If you have a billing system up and running already, but what we’ve built isn’t providing enough value — you’re too far down the line, it’s hard. Once you find out that Zuora might be the solution, it’s almost too late.” – – Victor van den Berg, Radiuz — @RADIUS_NL
“If you’re using a sub platform that doesn’t offer flexibility and help businesses make the shift to a more flexible business model, you need to jump ship.” – Riaz Vali, EveAdam — @eveadamUKEveAdam
“You need some sort of automation — and you need to do this at high scale so you can deliver the experience to your customer. And if you don’t, your customer will leave. A low level of churn is supported by your IT infrastructure: scale, unison, and having a complete user-centric process.” – Chris Stura, PwC — @PwC_UK
The Subscription Journey / Order-to-Cash Transformation
“Shifting to a subscription model has to be a really strategic shift for the company. Make it the problem for the CEO. If it’s not transformational enough, you will get stuck. Have ruthless focus on what capabilities you need. Realize it’s a journey. You can’t jump in day one with a subscription service. You have to get the product out there, you have to test, you have to iterate.” – Stefan Furnsinn, Yara — @yara
“Zuora has the products, people, and experience with 1000+ customer deployments to be a partner to all subscription businesses, wherever you are on your journey: launching a new service, or modernizing your billing system, or driving an end-to-end order to cash transformation.” – Chris Battles, Zuora — @chrisrbattles, @zuora
“Just as buying project management software won’t automatically make you a good project manager, buying Zuora and thinking the change will follow, is not true. You have to change from the inside out.” – – Victor van den Berg, Radiuz — @RADIUS_NL
“What makes users stay? A credit card swipe is not the end of a deal. If we help our customers grow, they will stay. The Subscription Economy is all about retention.” – Elad Eran, Wix @wix
“What’s important isn’t the phone you have in your hand, but what happens if you lose it or it’s damaged. The specific asset is getting less and less interesting.” – Victor van den Berg, Radiuz — @RADIUS_NL
“We are always looking to reinvent ourselves. What can we do to be the leader in our market. We just couldn’t do that with a one-off product. But we felt like we could if we wrapped a subscription around it.” – Riaz Vali, EveAdam — @eveadamUK
“Growing a community is really hard. Because communities consist of people and people have opinions! We’re managing 65k opinions. That’s hard.” – Victor van den Berg, Radiuz — @RADIUS_NL
The Subscribed World Tour Continues!
And that’s a wrap! Thank you London — already looking forward to next year!
And, in the meantime…where in the world is Subscribed? Check out our Subscribed World Tour to see where we’re going next and find a local event near you.