The business of buying and selling information is booming. In this competitive and rapidly growing industry, how can companies set themselves apart from the competition, while also contributing to their long-term growth? The answer: Drive your customers' success.
How does your company classify itself -- Are you in the Information Services industry? Market Research? Market Intelligence? Business Intelligence? Are you a Data Provider? It seems that the naming conventions in this space are never ending, but no matter how you define yourself, the consistency across all companies that sell “Information” is that they are very much a part of the “Subscription Economy”.
As Information Services companies have started moving away from the more traditional revenue stream of advertising, they’re becoming more dependent on recurring revenue to support all aspects of their business. This business model shift has forced these types of companies to re-think how they manage their B2B customer relationships, as well as the types of customer metrics that they should be measuring and reporting.
Take Dan Steinman’s (Chief Customer Officer at Gainsight) word for it: "In the recurring revenue world, there's no such thing as post-Sales. Every single activity is a pre-Sales activity.” The essence of the subscription economy is the business-customer relationship, which doesn’t end with a one-time transaction. In the Subscription Economy, a focus on the customer needs to be continuous and relentless to drive success, retention, and ultimately, growth.
So what does this mean for the Information Services industry, and more importantly, what steps should your company be taking today?
It’s widely publicized that it is much easier (and a whole lot cheaper) to retain your current customers than it is to attract new ones -- so why do most of the companies in this space retain less than 90% of their customers, leaving millions of dollars on the table year over year?
Customer Success, or Account Management as it’s also known, is a movement that was popularized by its application to Software as a Service (SaaS) companies. Although SaaS companies served as the launch pad for the adoption of Customer Success practices, they can be applied to any type of business with a recurring revenue, or subscription based, business model.
The ultimate goals of Customer Success or Account Management activities are to increase the rate of customer retention and company growth, expand customer accounts through up-sell and cross-sell revenue growth, create meaningful, long-lasting customer relationships, and drive greater customer “health”.
From syndicated to customized Information Services product offerings, the value that Customer Success can have shouldn’t be understated. This is especially true as customers can switch to competing providers and/or access free sources of information more easily now than ever before.
By analyzing key pieces of customer information, including engagement with specific products / services, customer inquiries and support tickets, consulting hours purchased, survey scores, marketing engagement, contract growth, and invoice history, Account Managers at Information Service providers can:
Proactively identify risks that may lead to customer unhappiness or churn
Identify opportunities to up-sell additional products or services within existing accounts or to different Business Units
Reach out to the right customers, at the right time, with the right message
Derive insights on a customer’s overall “health”, or happiness with their subscription products or services
Customer Success activities can also work to identify the “power users” of your products, and enable you to track key contacts at a granular level. As Information Services customers tend to use different products across each of their business units, this is can be invaluable in determining who the key decision makers are within those business units -- information that can make or break you at the time of a renewal.
As the Information Services industry is expected to exceed more than $60 billion in 2015 , now is the time to get on board with the Customer Success movement. By making a commitment to focus on the business-customer relationship and integrate customer-centric activities into their day-to-day processes, Information Service providers can take the appropriate steps to drive more value from their customer relationships, turn customer data into actionable intelligence, and contribute to the evolving landscape of the Subscription Economy.
If you’d like to find out how your Information Services or Market Research company can leverage Customer Success, contact Max today.