Gartner recommends: “Select a subscription management solution that supports all current and future channels of customer interaction, including customer self-service. Ensure that it is possible to manage as well as sell subscriptions.“
For about two decades now, organizations have been embracing subscription business models to drive better business results. The COVID-19 pandemic has further heightened adoption, as enterprises have finally realized that embracing the subscription model can lead to a reliable, recurring revenue stream that can help cope up with the impact of an economic downturn.
By adopting modern, integrated, and comprehensive billing solutions, organizations today are able to scale their recurring business by unlocking new opportunities, enhancing customer engagement, and minimizing revenue leakage.
But as more and more companies look to establish (or expand) subscription-based offerings, they need to realize that any subscription management system they choose needs to be built on their CRM system and not their accounting system. Read on to learn why!
Subscription businesses are built keeping customers at the center
Subscription and recurring billing solutions are rapidly expanding the subscription economy. It is estimated that the global subscription and billing management market size will grow from $4 billion in 2020 to $7.8 billion by 2025.
The modern and innovative billing solutions bring a lot to the table; they allow organizations to
• Easily enable new subscription services and efficiently manage their growing user base
• Minimize billing errors, thus reducing or eliminating customer complaints
• Automate the payment process that not only minimizes the cost of revenue collection but also the rate of error
• Constantly monitor the subscription business for risks and challenges and reducing revenue leakage
• Lower cost of ownership and increase agility to changing market and regulatory requirements
Irrespective of what services are being offered, today’s customers want organizations to provide a curated experience that is tailored to their individual needs. Because this experience plays a huge role in customer churn, it becomes extremely important for subscription businesses to be able to retain customers and increase customer lifetime value.
Why CRM lies at the foundation of any subscription management system
Given how critical customers are to any subscription strategy, it is also vital for organizations to realize that any subscription system they build, needs to be built on their CRM and not an accounting system.
CRM maintains customer data across regions, departments and business functions
A CRM system helps organizations in tracking, administrating, and documenting the interactions they have with their customers.
It also helps in building better customer relationships and improving customer affinity by proactively monitoring previous engagements and new opportunities When it comes to subscription management, such information plays a huge role in enhancing the overall customer experience.
It helps you maintain control and track changes
Not only does a CRM keep track of past interactions and future demand, but it also keeps a track of all associated changes: right from what the customers have bought from you previously, what they are interested in now, and what factors can bring about a change in their preferences.
Since a CRM system holds all such information, it can aid subscription businesses in improving their sales, invoicing, and also customer service.
It goes beyond the finance team
In any subscription business, it is not just the finance team that is involved in enabling and maintaining subscriptions; other teams such as sales, operations, and customer support contribute equally to carry out provisioning, accounting, and servicing tasks.
Unlike accounting systems that are only looked at by finance teams, CRM provides sales and operations personnel with access to complete customer data. At the same time, the accounting and finance staff gets access to sales as well as accounting data – all of which help in driving the business to success.
Microsoft resellers rely on CRM for a number of purposes
Given how popular Microsoft Cloud is in the subscription sector, many Microsoft resellers rely on CRM to accomplish an array of tasks: right from defining and maintaining centralized information about what they will sell, to what type of customers and which regions, marketing their products and offerings to selling them and more.
This is another reason why it makes sense for businesses to base their subscription management solution on their CRM system.
Aligning sales processes and other business functions to work more cohesively
As more and more customers seek subscription-based services, businesses need to have a strong strategy in place for scalability. You need to align your products, quotes, and sales order process with your subscription management and billing functions.
Since a CRM system allows business different business functions such as sales, marketing, operations, support, accounts, and finance to work cohesively, such scale is easily possible.
Subscription businesses are about adoption, renewals and expansion
CRM systems can maintain your entire customer lifecycle: products you sell, aligned with marketing, sales processes, support, and renewals.
CRM systems are also great at supporting different forms of customer interaction. Since they help organizations deal with different current and future channels including customer self-service, they aid in better management and sale of subscriptions.
With a CRM system in tow, organizations are in a better position to cater to, interact with, and support customers across different channels and devices.
Your CRM can provision and synch with multiple providers, not your ERP/Accounting system
For larger partners, you could be working with multiple providers (Microsoft Partner Centers, Distributors). You would need to synch your customers, subscriptions, products, license changes, price changes with these providers. A subscription billing solution built on your CRM will support all current and future channels of customer interaction, including customer self-service.
The real benefits of a subscription management business can only be achieved when subscription businesses keep customers at the center of everything they do: right from what they sell to how they sell it.
Since customers have immense control over how they consume subscription services, they play a huge role in how successful the business is. If you want to drive long-term, sustainable benefits from your subscription business, it is important you build your subscription system on your CRM system.