How moving to a subscription model helps research firms fix costs, remove revenue fluctuation, and then grow big…

  • March 10th, 2017

The great benefit of a research business shifting from a transactional model to one based on subscriptions is that it helps the firm know its basic monthly income and be reassured that revenue will reoccur in the months to come, but often the cost-saving benefit and positive effect this can have on future revenues is overlooked.

Fixed costs = no headaches

The move to a subscriptions model usually means the adoption of a new piece of software through which the process, along with many other client-friendly functions, can be managed.

The selection of this new technology can be a vital decision and, often, can be the difference between a research firm’s new business model thriving or floundering. Use of the right SaaS system can keep your client relationships bubbling along nicely and help you know your costs into perpetuity.

How does it do this? By removing all the uncertainty associated with building an in-house solution.

An established serviced solution doesn’t have to be developed, tested, then managed and upgraded as it becomes old fashioned. A high-quality system will be in constant evolution; with upgrades and fixes applied each month, with no extra cost, with no downtime, and without the publisher having to build an expensive in-house team to support the technology.

Licencing a serviced software solution to manage research subscriptions takes all the risk out of this investment – and more importantly, it helps refocus research businesses around their core tasks of creating and selling research.

In fact, the challenge of running a research business is simplified; it no longer has to be about managing the technical elements to provide research, it instead becomes refocused on increasing the value of the research publisher’s relationship with its clients.

Know your income, build on that income…

With all clients on subscriptions, and all costs known upfront, a research publisher can begin to accurately forecast its minimum monthly income.

What this does is bring assurance, and with it comes a shift in focus. If your sales team isn’t worried each month about meeting report sales quotas, naturally attention will shift to the cross- and upsell opportunities, as these are now the avenues to build on those monthly revenue subs.

Once customers are into that ‘account journey’ process, publishers can then develop the relationship, build a unique offering for the customer, sell them further packages and access, and move them to the point where a full subscription is both necessary and vital.

The long term in salesrooms therefore becomes: what can I do to improve the offering to this client? How can I deepen this relationship in a way that will only make the service we offer them better than last month?

That’s no longer a salesperson and a target; that’s a working relationship with the aim of growing the customer offering in the knowledge that, thanks to the fixed costs of the business, every additional bit of income created is additional profit.

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