NBF//Sweden summary: Des Traynor on doing subscription services well


I listened to Des Traynor’s speech Marketing in a world of subscription services at the 2019 Nordic Business Forum in Stockholm. He shared that a successful customer onboarding is key to acquiring customers, and that the Net Dollar Retention measure is one of the most useful to understand how the subscription business works for a company.

These are notes taken during the speech with only very light editing, do expect some mistakes and grammatical errors.

Des Traynor's illustration on what to address towards successful onboarding of customers

You can get anything as a subscription. Someone somewhere can supply it to you.

Two words: Per month

For subscription providers: Subscriptions provide a means to lock in the customer and make revenue predictable. From a complex and involved sales process, to a transactional one. Dip you toe in and try! The new role of the vendor becomes one of customer success.

From the old ways

Old ways and what we learned: Attract. Split A/B testing. Simple language. Bug buttons. Visible buttons. Etc.

There are dozens of ways to get 10, 100, 1000 customers. Keeping customers and preventing churn is key. Focus on retention! not only over the line, but keeping them over the threshold of purchase.

Yo vs Slack. To 1.000.000 customers after 4 days. Slack 1.000.000 customers after 16 months. Yo is bust. You need to keep customers.

The new ways

Net dollar retention. If I sign up a lot of customers, how much of the collective revenue to I have after one year? 1% expansion vs 1% decrease makes the difference. Does your business grow by default, or shrink by default? You need to keep the customers, you can’t burn through your potential customers.

You need a high Net Dollar Retention, to get the right dynamic. Not only keeping customers, but increasing their value. LTV/CAC - Lifetime value of customer > Customer Acquisition Cost. You need to make sure the entire funnel works, no churn along the way - successful o boarding is the new customer experience.

From unboxing of physical products to the digital experience of the provider to care about you all the way. Help the customer make the best use of your product. Obsess about walking you through the product. If you login and have a shot experience, you are gone!

Four tactics for making a great onboarding experience.

Interview customers

Learn what is not working. Why is it not working? What can we change to make it better from a customer perspective.

Decide who you can onboard

Three keywords: need/desire/capability. The intersection is the one to onboard.

All three: Need it. Want it. Can do it.

The Four forces

Understand why customers switch to your product. And address them. Maximize the green

  • Design specific onboarding for each customer type
  • Design to their intents and behavior
  • Measure success. Is their success increasing? How do we measure success?
  • Ensure that marketing and product work in parallel

Make the onboarding a great experience

The product and the marketing MUST match! Sell the product you have, and provide what you sell.

All my summaries from Nordic Business Forum Stockholm 2019: