Integrating client success into business development in a subscription economy
Planning for future success will pay dividends
A dynamic I see around my work has changed. New start-ups are facing an indeterminable future unless they plan within business development (and then client account management) to address the new market space – one where the barriers to exit have never been lower, the scope and spread (and power) of both Procurement and eProcurement and where the rise in ‘self-service’ on-boarding could see the decrease in brand/product loyalty all combining to create a more detached client/business relationship.
If the business, read billing, relationship is becoming more client-centric, in terms of power, then the focus should be ensuring that the client achieved their achieving goals/success – and should be the ‘why’ for the start-up.
As the business model – and client mentality – migrates from retainers to MRR (from a contractual and guaranteed fee over what used to be twelve months minimum, to a now months’ notice), either the business attitude adopts to this – or faces the brunt of this change. It is the difference between losing a client to wholescale churn for a SaaS platform start-up.
The upside is that clients deliver MRR, experience the benefit of the platform longer-term and therefore be open to upsell/enterprise options, and become advocates. Within this is the requirement to talk to the clients, understand their feedback and respond appropriately (and that is monetising the interaction between the platform roadmap and new features).
So delivering on both acquisition and retention, for a start-up, requires understanding where exactly the user sees value in the offering: and how the platform can be extended – therefore increasing both revenue and developing new features. And with this new value in achieving their requirements for the user, the exit barriers are gently re-instated.
By creating and delivering the requisite environment – UI and UX – the user is being continually satisfied. By proactively analysing and then implementing these learnings into an agile business development process, an understanding of best-fit can be developed, to ensure that acquisition costs decrease over time against CLV. And this goes back to opening up a dialogue with users to create user-cases so as to understand requirements, user satisfaction and for the start-up to create matrixes/models prioritising the development roadmap and revenue streams – to then align marketing.
From this new client understanding, the business development roadmap can focus new client acquisition, create optimum messaging in the most effective outbound channels and reduce the sales cycle from initial lead to conversion.
This directly impacts on profitability, ensuring future success.
Rod Geoghegan works with Marketing Services Agencies, Tech Start-ups and Professional Services Firms to plan and deliver growth.
He is Founding Partner at Metropolis Partners