Start with the end in mind, how to get a 360° view of your customers in the age of the subscription economy

Subscription Economy

Looking for subscription billing in Salesforce ?

Sofacto goes even further by proposing the management of complex invoicing cases thanks to adapted, customizable and efficient plans.

 

This is a transcript of the November 22nd workshop with Frederi SCOTTO, CEO and founder of SOFACTO, held at the Pavillon Gabriel in Paris.

Digital technology opens up a world of new opportunities for companies of all sizes and in all sectors. It is also a challenge for their information systems.

Business models are evolving towards subscription-based revenue management and monetisation of a community of customers. Where Salesforce is constantly innovating to enable you to better manage your sales cycle, traditional billing and accounting software is clearly no longer adequate. Thinking about subscriptions and recurring revenue means you need to think about the entire customer lifecycle, from converting your leads to billing your customers. And for this to be more effective, it’s best to design your business processes from start to finish – starting at the end!

THE 360° VIEW OF THE CUSTOMER

Who hasn’t heard of the 360° view of the customer? A concept that makes sense almost intuitively, and which is one of the raisons d’être of CRM. A concept that the world leader in SaaS CRM, Salesforce, has been spreading for years in companies of all sizes and in all sectors, all over the world. With an enlightened vision of the way the world is changing, and above all a remarkable efficiency, we must admit. Indeed, how can one not be convinced that having all the data relating to customers is a must if one wants to maintain and develop a business in a profitable and sustainable manner?

But the 360 vision is also, for many companies (and CRM projects) a kind of grail. Having been involved in several hundred Salesforce projects over the past 15 years, I know what it takes to implement this in-depth knowledge of the customer, in all its facets, between all the departments of the company – from marketing to sales, logistics, support, finance, etc. And, once CRM is deployed, how difficult it can be to effectively exploit this customer knowledge that motivated the visionary and ambitious project.

In this quest for the grail, an essential element of the customer relationship is often missing. Because the sales cycle does not end with the opportunity won… Invoicing is too often a missing link in CRM projects. How can you talk about a 360° vision when you know almost everything about the sales cycle – and nothing or very little about what has actually been invoiced and collected?

THE SUBSCRIPTION ECONOMY, THE GRAIL FOR COMPANIES

Another grail for companies of all sizes and in all sectors of activity: the search for business models based on recurring revenue – the notion of a service consumed rather than a product purchased. And how can we offer these personalised services, which are often innovative, sometimes disruptive, and in any case generate a recurrent revenue stream with high added value, without having this in-depth knowledge of each customer?

The subscription economy is showing insolent three-figure growth rates. Several studies speak of 200% annual growth since 2011. In short, a world of opportunities for companies that manage to adopt and execute such an approach and such models… In this context, having the 360 vision and being able to exploit it is more than ever a key success factor, an indispensable ingredient in the recipe for success. One of the foundations of the 4th industrial revolution.

For companies that were born with this business model, 360° vision and the value creation they derive from it are the driving forces behind their exponential growth. They are often even the reason for their dazzling success. For those companies, large or small, that were born in the old world but have made the shift to digital transformation, 360° vision and Customer Lifetime Value management represent their future – and are the focus of much of their current and future efforts. But this world of opportunity is also a real challenge for information systems, an El Dorado as well as a tsunami.

INVOICING IS PART OF THE SALES CYCLE.

It extends the business processes that start from the qualification of the prospect to its conversion. The sales cycle doesn’t end with the opportunity won. I would even say that this is where the real customer relationship begins. All the steps taken by all the company’s departments are aimed at getting and keeping customers. And a customer must be invoiced and collected. Quickly. At least at the right time and, whenever possible (almost all the time), automatically. Invoicing is a key business process, which feeds on everything that has happened in the sales cycle – and even beyond, and which also feeds on the sales cycle.

This is always true.
And it is even more true in the subscription economy. What is the point of innovating with services if you don’t know how to charge for them? How can you apply an annual tariff revision as provided for in the contract if the system does not know how to handle it automatically? In the age of the subscription economy, how can you manage the addition of services or products, their removal, upgrade or interruption without a scalable, evolving system?

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