The modernisation of B2B subscription offerings – PODCAST

Discover how B2B subscription models are changing by drawing on lessons from their B2C counterparts to emphasise flexibility and customer-centric decision-making.

The modernisation of B2B subscription offerings featured image

The modernisation of B2B subscription offerings – PODCAST

Discover how B2B subscription models are changing by drawing on lessons from their B2C counterparts to emphasise flexibility and customer-centric decision-making.

The modernisation of B2B subscription offerings featured image

Meet the author

Simon Blosse

Principal Consultant

Tom Carpenter

Principal Consultant

In this episode of CX Talks, hosts and customer experience experts Simon Blosse and Tom Carpenter explore the shift towards flexible subscription models that B2B organisations are making, and the lessons they can draw from B2C practices.

Listen here or read on for an edited transcript.

Tom Carpenter: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of CX Talks. Today we’re going to be doing a bit of a focus on subscription organisations or changing your offerings from a more fixed way of offering products to a more flexible way of offering products. And we’re going to talk about what B2B organisations can learn from B2C organisations. So my name is Tom Carpenter, I’m one of our CX specialists here and I’m joined today by Simon Blosse one of our CX specialists at Clarasys. 

Simon Blosse: Thanks, Tom. Hi, everybody. Pleasure to be here again. 

Tom Carpenter: Today we’re going to be talking about how B2B buyers are expecting and looking for a more flexible way of purchasing, and how that has some similarities with B2C existing ways of purchasing, such as expecting more of a digital and omni-channel experience from that sale, but also just more flexibility in the products and prices that they’re offered. 

The current state of B2B subscriptions 

I’ll kick us off, Simon, and we can have a bit of discussion about what we’re seeing in the market. Some of our existing clients, particularly in the high-tech, information services area sell products where you’d sign up for a year, you pay a monthly fee, but you’re expecting to get this big renewal period after the end of those 12 months. Therefore the teams are geared up, they have an initial sales team, and they already start planning for that renewal.

So although it’s a subscription kind of world, it’s a subscription space, and you could argue by talking to some of these product teams in areas that they’re experiencing subscription if you could pair that to, say, a modern car subscription, where you can change the car every month and it’s very flexible. You can end it after three months if you are getting tired of it. You can upgrade your car wherever you like. There’s no specific renewal. 

In the B2B world that’s still quite new, and although we see it for some software packages, for example, for a lot of clients that are used to offering their customers this annual subscription where you have this big renewal period, they very much organise themselves around the renewal and it’s a one-off sale still, they just do the one-off sale each year. Have you experienced any of that with some of your clients and customers? 

Simon Blosse: I think the example I could give is when it comes to software downloads particularly, especially when you’re looking at license fees. There is that expectation for annual reviews, but there has been a shift to more monthly cycles and your ability, as you mentioned in your car scenario, to move to a number of users, changes, and then your license. 

But I think there is a shift in that context of what’s the right way to move with that. Do you look at a limit to the number of users that are included in your annual view? And then it’s only when you go above that and when you’re adding full license users, for example, it changes. Or is it a case of every single individual owning their own license and that can change by month? 

In the context of how easy or hard that is to manage it’s an interesting one because it requires there to be either an increased admin expected of your customer if you’ve got a monthly shift in the budgeting of your license fees, because every month you could have self-driven user adding or admins adding extra licenses. And therefore from a budgeting perspective, it becomes harder to then know quite what to put into the budget for your particular software packages. But then the flexibility that you get from that is the ability to turn it down if you need to. With an annual one, I think you’re absolutely right. There’s this kind of gearing up towards, okay, what do you need next time? Or even a sort of a biannual three-year plan. And there’s this big cycle of like, how many users do you now need? And what’s your cycle for that? Do you want to increase that? And then there’s a tie-in that’s meant to give added benefits. That is more like a traditional sale. 

Which one is better? I think it does, as always in these scenarios, depend on what your users need, how frequently they need to use this particular software and how much they want to flex the size of their teams that are using it. And there is an element, I think, in software, where we need to be mindful of once someone gets something, taking it away from them is a lot harder than people predict. So there are a few ideas there in terms of the challenges around software delivery and the CX elements of that, that we could probably touch on.

Comparing B2C and B2B subscription models

Tom Carpenter: I think there is still a difference between B2B and B2C in the sense that people’s lives change, subscriptions become quite overwhelming as well. Potentially you have lots of subscriptions to manage in the B2C world. 

In a B2B world, they’re used to managing quite a lot of centralised contracts of things. So they’re used to having lots of these contracts to manage and therefore being able to negotiate those back and forwards. And I think you’re right, you do have a bit of a split. Some things people buy, they’re happy to sign up for the year, and see how it goes. They’re not expecting to need to constantly reflect on a regular basis. It’s a thing that they’ve agreed they’ve got a business case for, they need it for their organisation, they’re happy with the price they paid for a year. In which case a renewal period is not necessarily a bad thing. 

Then there might be packages which are more usage/consumption-based, as you were alluding to, like a software package for example, where things change month on month and suddenly you don’t want to be paying what you paid six months ago because you don’t feel like you’re getting that same value in consumption. 

So I think the important thing is if your current model is a 12-month view, or even longer as you say – three years, five years, is that giving the flexibility the customer needs? Is it overly restrictive? Or is that right for how they consume that product for you? Let’s say you move into a new house or a new flat. There are lots of use cases where it would be helpful for that to be more flexible, but quite a lot of people want to be secure in the fact that they’re in their flat for at least 12 or 24 months. You’re not going to be flexing. You don’t want to be renegotiating rent month by month, for example. So there are obvious use cases in a B2C sense as well, where you wouldn’t necessarily want to be introducing the ability to be negotiating and changing things, because it’s a big decision and you’ve signed up for that, and you’re committed to that, and therefore you don’t need to be. So I think you’re right, there’s not a definite answer to get rid of renewals. It’s more that in certain cases, that’s not the only option. And that subscription renewal period is much more similar to a one-off sale situation than it is a flexible subscription that you’re more used to in a B2C world. 

Customer-centric business decisions in B2B subscriptions

Simon Blosse: I think there’s something interesting that just struck me around the way you were describing there, the decision-making. If you are trying to be a truly customer-centric business, and you are using a subscription approach for the way you are selling your business, you have to make some quite hard decisions about whether you’re doing something for the benefit of you as a business or for your B2B customers. And the reason I say that is because in the context of making it easier for your customer to both buy but also to turn off subscriptions, you are then having to cope with the cost that’s going to be associated to managing that process on a more regular basis. 

You also have a higher risk of it deteriorating in terms of the total benefits you’re getting from your packages that you’re selling or your subscriptions that you’re selling. Or the products you are changing quite dynamically. Now that takes again, less certainty, less confidence away from your business. And therefore you have to be like, okay, can we cope with that? 

The upside of that is if your customers appreciate your products and your services and they see that flexibility and the ability to change and dynamically shift, you can get the upside of increasing revenues very quickly. You don’t have to wait for the next subscription round. And that also does drive benefits for you as a business because it makes sure your product designers and your service providers are living up to the expectations of customers. So, there’s a careful balance, but there are some critical decisions about how you’re making those decisions as to whether they are customer-centric, whether they are your own business needs, or whether you’re making it hard for yourself on purpose to then get the additional benefits if it goes right with the risk that you then carry if it doesn’t. 

Balancing revenue and flexibility in subscription services

Tom Carpenter: I think the important thing is to see that as not a either-or decision. Let’s say a high percentage of your revenue comes from larger customers who are happy with the way they do business with you. That’s fine. That’s a key account enterprise sort of relationship that you have with those organisations. And you can have the, sign the deal, renegotiate the deal. You’ve got a lot of certainty. And that is really important for a lot of organisations to get certainty from your largest revenue streams from your biggest customers.

But you’re right, instead of seeing it as I’m putting revenue at risk by giving flexibility, I agree with you. I feel like what you’re actually doing is you’re opening the door to lots of customers who find it really difficult to make a decision to buy, because they’re having to sign up for a long term. And if they do buy, they struggle to afford multi-year deals and therefore the next year maybe they cancel. So you need to keep the certainty in the core set of customers. In which case you can still offer that yearly renewal, yearly subscription offer. And maybe you incentivise them in some way for the larger volumes in order to do that. But you’re able to offer something much more flexible, which in effect is opening a different market share. A new set of potential customers. Smaller organisations particularly might fit into that bracket. But those who are just a bit more uncertain about making the purchase. 

So, I think if any of our listeners are having to try and sell some of the benefits of changing product models in a B2B context to some of their CFOs and their finance colleagues, this is really about increasing market share and expanding to a new user group and not introducing risk into your existing revenue streams.

Simon Blosse: Yeah, and I think that balance is critical. Last time we were talking about the benefit you get when you have that flexibility in the smaller scale purchase option is that you end up creating an in-house buying team within the businesses that you’re selling. If they are able to buy small scale, they can tend to sign that off reasonably easily. That then enables you to get in the door much better than you would if you had to go through a full-on procurement process with the CFO. But then if he gets enough traction and the product is good enough and it’s getting enough usage, you then start getting to the level of, of course, you’re going to start having those bigger deals and you can always transition to a different model if it makes more sense for the scale you’ve got to. But having that ability and that flex on the subscriptions you offer to go from small to big and then also to recognise that there is that potential for them to continue to add or decrease even if it is at the scale of a large organisation. It’s very similar, I suppose, to a retail model. 

Tom Carpenter: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. 

And although lots of organisations give you the option, for example, to take something back in 14 days, even if you’re a business, they sometimes still offer that. There’s a lot more commitment from organisations where they feel like they can’t just go and test something and try something. Like if they’re making a decision, that’s the decision, they’re signing up to this. So this fully does introduce those people who would struggle in that scenario to sign up with a little bit less risk themselves. 

Understanding customer needs and consumption patterns

Simon Blosse: Just to add, I think there is something interesting about the approach you take to getting a sign-up and being mindful of some packages and software or even services require a lot of data from an organisation to make happen. Now what I have seen more prevalent at the moment is this sales organisation almost around the trial as around the product. So the trial process and making that really affordable and making that really possible for your businesses to buy. And setting it all up in a way that makes the success and the value be understood for a period of time that also makes sense to businesses, which I think does differ from B2C. 

So to bring that to life, if you’ve got a data product that requires a link into particular services or data sets or systems, having an assumption that, oh, we can test this and we can showcase this within the period of one month, is unlikely. It needs to be a three to six-month sales. But setting yourself up with a model that says, okay, and in that we’re going to invest. So our investment is up front to mobilise that initial test bed. It then reignites that excitement around, Oh, this product does actually work. we can see it with our own data, our own world. And then you go to the larger scale scaling of, how do we then roll that out beyond this one small team, department, region, location. I’ve seen that work, I’ve seen that fail. But the key difference between those two, is being mindful of when you expect the return on value to materialise and getting that wrong causes a lot of investment failures, I’d say, in business sales because if you’re expecting your business to see the value from your product in a period of six months and you’ve only got a three month expected sale cycle, you’re not going to get the option, I suppose, to go into a value-based conversation with how you then sell it beyond there. Those who are more comfortable with, oh yeah, once you just get this in, you’re going to see it straight away. You’re going to get business users using it within weeks. That makes more sense as a three-month. If you need data that’s then going to materialise into actions, that’s going to materialise into sales. The business cycles are much longer than B2C customers would ever see. 

Tom Carpenter: Yeah, that’s a very good point. Often, as you mentioned, if you’ve got technology elements as well, then the program of work that’s necessary needs some consideration. It’s not a kind of plug-and-play, start using things immediately kind of situation. 

The role of trials and demos in B2B sales

Tom Carpenter: On the subject of trials, I think that’s an interesting one. The market is still a little bit uncertain about offering free trials compared to a consumer B2C world. And I guess there are a few factors as to why that would be, which do make a lot of sense. But there are small changes organisations can make there. For example, as you just pointed out in that scenario, maybe your product needs configuration, it needs to work with something else. So you could give it to a customer, but unless they can make it work with something else, they’re not seeing the full potential of the product. So let’s say it’s a data feed, it’s a stream, it’s something that monitors something. In which case, you need it to be monitoring the thing or you need the stream to go somewhere and do something. It’s quite difficult to use trials. So in that scenario, yes, it’s difficult to use trials. We have advised other clients who are in that space to make more of the demos, so you’re not coming along with a salesperson, you’re doing a bespoke demo of how this works. Being like, “oh well it depends, or maybe if you do that and if you do this…” adds an element of uncertainty into the client’s decision-making. They’re like, oh, this sounds complicated. Flexibility in that sense might put customers off. Because they feel like they’re going to need someone like you to help them set it up. Because you can’t give them the answers. 

If you have demos which are more tailored to the scenarios under which the customer is going to use those products, although they can’t trial it, they can see how it works, like, “you upload this, this goes there, this then interacts with one of your other systems in this sort of way”, really bringing it to life for them is really valuable and also speeds up the sales cycle. If you could just show them there and then and maybe you can even do that through self-service online access, rather than having to send salespeople to talk them through those complex scenarios. In reality there might be complex scenarios, but you can put those into the buckets of how the users are going to be using the tools. 

In our previous podcast, we started to discuss the difference there with B2B is that you have these different personas of individuals that use products. Whereas in the B2C sense, almost everyone is equal in their use of products. 

Where it’s a little bit different in the B2B world, they are very different personas and use cases. And you’ve got those who need to be convinced of the financial benefits. You’ve got those who need to be convinced of the operational benefits. You’ve got those who just want their job to be easier and they’re the ones using it. And those are kind of very different personas to try and convince when you’re selling your products. 

Simon Blosse: Yeah, and I think the other persona that is really important to think about is your security officers. Especially if you are trying to do quick and easily implemented trials, having clarity around what data you need to showcase the value of your product from the client or customer, I should say is really important as to whether you are going to be blocked at every stop. Because I’ve seen it before where the moment you start entering anything related to customer data, there is a huge amount of concern and red alarm bells, rightly so, start going off. Especially if you’ve got a hosted service, if you’ve got a cloud-based service and you’re not hosting on-site, but then there’s an element of hosting on-site seems a bit archaic these days but used to be the way to get around that a little bit. And I think the clear challenge is defining what your product really needs and then how you get the data to showcase it. You can do that offline almost with an agreed share of data that’s cleansed and doesn’t have that information that would cause issues with security to showcase it. Now that may be necessary for your product, but if your product isn’t going to be touched now, it’s being really crystal clear about what it does and how it manages those security protocols and how it manages to get sign-off quickly, so that your buyers that are really keen with this cool new product, really want it for their service to be improved. And they go, “let’s go for it”. And then it gets blocked at every stop because you haven’t got the right sign-off of your software, your systems, your services. It’s a clear, obvious challenge, but it’s the one I’ve seen so often halt some amazing products from getting successfully implemented at that trial phase quickly enough to not lose the motivation, the engagement of the actual buyers, who are like the marketing team or your sales team, whoever they are. And I think that’s a really crucial, step to not forget about and not get caught up in the illusion of, “oh, it’s going to be amazing. It’s a product so great. Look at these great demo’s”. And it’s like, “how do we get this in?” “Oh, we need to have a direct implementation into your main database. It’s going to cause some challenges”. 

I think the other thing I was going to say around the different personas, we talked about the buyers being different. I think also who you’re trying to prove the product to is the key thing there for a trial or for like getting it right for B2B because it comes back to my earlier point around what’s the time frame for that. If you are looking at a return on investment for this product that’s going to take a year to materialise, doing an initial trial that way is not going to make that come to life. So being mindful of your future ones and future expansions of your licenses or your system offers would be great. But for the first one, you need to be a bit more mindful of maybe starting with a broader-based, let’s go with a year view to really bring this to life. 

Tom Carpenter: Yeah, no, that’s true. 

I really love what you’ve pointed out there about considering the constraints or the friction that might come in a decision-making process as well. I’ve seen a lot of products on their website. The product sounds fantastic. It’s great. We all want to use the product. We all want to buy it. But they’ve not considered that it’s a value-add product. It’s not something that’s integral to people’s way of working, but you need to make a case for it. So, yes, it looks great. I can see that it’s really easy to use, but how do I make a case to those who are going to be a bit more reluctant? For example, as you point out, maybe it’s a product that’s going to enable us to get some great, deep insights into our customers as an organisation. But then I need to plug in the customer data feeds and get information. And suddenly I’m a bit concerned. I’ve got all of these GDPR issues – how am I going to get around those? So understanding those persona types in the buying journey and having the answers to those, is critical. I guess in that scenario, when we were talking about more flexible ways of purchasing, more flexible subscription model, that’s an interesting one. Cause that is a good use case probably of where there’s some setup required. 

It’s going to change some ways of working. That’s going to take some time to consider. That’s not the kind of product where you might use it for a month, and then you don’t want to use it for a couple of months and then you want to use it for another month. That’s something which is like you need to invest in and get behind, in which case you really need to make the case for it and have some of those challenges that might come up during the decision-making process, almost like pre-answered, ready to go.

The evolution of customer and employee roles in subscription models

I think it is also worth highlighting this doesn’t just apply to software and services that are online or on computers. If you’re a business that sells products as a service, exists in the B2B world. If you think about I mean, our office, we have plants here that we don’t really own because there’s no point.

Simon Blosse: Yeah exactly so we don’t own those plants because there’s no point in us as a business owning, but we we have a service to make sure that we have them in our office that is managed, maintained. Now that can be changed to increase as we grow or decrease if we need less plants in the office for whatever reason. The point I’m trying to make there is that applies to all of your other kinds of products as a service, whether it’s food, whether there are services you’re providing in terms of events, in terms of management support, in terms of people, you know, there’s an element of like people are equally, sometimes for businesses, available on that kind of service based principle that can be looked at in a similar way that you might not have thought about as a subscription-based, but is very prevalent. If you think in the retail space, I remember we were dealing from a business perspective of how you sell like the pods that are used, the payment devices or the actual devices that staff are using on shop floors as a service. So as you increased your need for maybe more or decreased your need for shop assistance, depending on the scale of your stores or the the amount of people at certain times of year, you didn’t pay a yearly fee. You paid by month on how many devices you were using at that time. 

Now that can apply to products as well. That can apply to your particular needs and demands for operational elements, whether it’s factory needs and so on. So there are applications that you can use a similar principle for that makes it worthwhile if you get the right balance between the pricing to the value and the flexibility absolutely on the mark because that is very attractive, especially right now in a market where we have this constant need to be really mindful of operational costs, really need to be mindful of where can we reduce spend that’s unnecessary, or where do we need to quickly turn it back on again if we get successful and without the limitations of having to go back around the loop of an annual cycle to get that to happen. 

As we said at the beginning, flexibility is very beneficial if you get it right, and also is beneficial to your customers when they need you to be flexible. But it also can drive huge benefits on both sides as a result of that in year, in season shifts and changes. 

Tom Carpenter: Yeah. The consumption model is fascinating to me. I love the idea of consumption models. When you start looking at the reality of them, it’s quite interesting about how effective they are. 

Let’s pick pay-as-you-go versus pay monthly. Most people have a pay monthly contract with their mobile phone, they don’t pay as you go. And part of the reason for that is if you actually use the same you use monthly, you have this hugely inflated cost. And there’s always been this relationship between flexibility and paying for what I want and a higher price point. And I think that is changing and it will be changing because people can now go to other organisations, like probably less in the UK, but let’s use telecoms again. There are organisations in the US, for example, which are highly competitive on a more flexible consumption pay-as-you-go model, such that it’s as competitive as if you were paying let’s say, 50 a month on an unlimited contract.

So that is hugely changing how people see consumption and usage-based models. And in times of financial difficulty, for example, use the plant example. Let’s say your organisation needs to monitor your costs. You’ve got flexibility in the contract. You could do that. You’re like, “I’m not going to pay for this service anymore because I just need to save costs for three to six months”. Rather than, “oh, I’ve got all of these contracts that come to an end in six months time”. There’s nothing I can really do about that now. Those costs are fixed to me, it gives you a lot more flexibility. I think organisations are willing to spend a little bit more for that flexibility. But then, you know, they’re not stupid. They’re not going to pay three, four times the price for something just to get that flexibility. So now we need to be thinking about the lifetime value of customers. Let’s use the plant example again, right? People are always going to want their office to look nice, but sometimes they might not be able to afford that, but they’ll come back. That gives you 10, 15 years of service from an organisation versus one or two where you just got a bit annoyed and you can’t afford it anymore. So you cancel it and you don’t re-establish it. So let’s say in a three year period, you lost an organisation for six months of that three years. If you sign them up to a year contract, year one, they were fine. Year two, they were very reluctant and then you just lose them. So you had them for two years and you’ve lost them. So the balance between flexibility and revenue certainty is a very challenging thing to describe. But if you can get it right, the idea is by offering the flexibility and having really good uh, customer success functions or self-service functions that allow the customer to go and come back, the lifetime value of that customer should be more. If it’s a product that, you know, works for them, it’s a great product for them. 

Simon Blosse: And it’s interesting, when you were talking through that I couldn’t help but think about the equivalent world of B2C which has gone through that process of everyone moving to subscriptions. And there being the different bandings of that subscription. And it came to me when you were talking about the mobile phone example. So originally there was a reluctance to move away from the annual, I suppose tariff and agreeing into that. Then there was a need because there was a product linked to it to increase that to being three years. And then some companies reacted to that and basically went, no, forget that, there’s no contracts, it’s just monthly rolling, but you know what you’re getting each month and you adjust accordingly. 

The reason I bring that up is I think that’s really critical in B2B as well is that you don’t want everyone second guessing. Oh, can I use this interface? I’m talking about software again, but like can I use this software multiple times for data requests or am I at my limit? Or can I get more devices? Have I got 10 per store that I can use? Oh, I need 20. Okay. I need to go up to band two, rather than being like one device can change your pricing gets very complex to manage for a customer, but also for you. So getting those bandings right, helping your customer understand what banding they should be on, is very much what the B2C world was doing for years. And you can copy that and apply it to the B2B world and be much more advanced in saying, right, we know this is the average that customers like you need and you can convince them on that, they can start using it and then being very open to re-evaluating that quickly saying, “Oh, actually, you’re a bit of a less user than we thought we can downscale that” is a very well received moment of customer-centric behaviour that then, as back to Tom’s point, drives a reassurance that means that they go, “Oh, it’s okay, we can increase it because we can decrease it”. They’re very responsive to that. But helping your customers understand in a B2B world what their scaling needs to be, requires you to have quite a simplified but also quite bold statement around “this is what you’ll need to do, this kind of work, or this is what you’ll need to have – this office run this way or feel this way. And being quite clear on that, I think, is crucial, which you can look at any B2C scenario and find that example and apply it. 

Tom Carpenter: Mm hmm. And I think although lots of organisations, regardless of how customers purchase the products and the regularity of which would say that they understand how their customers use the products. 

I think the difference here though is we’re building a kind of a customer intimacy where it’s not just about their satisfaction with the product, it’s how they consume it and the value, therefore, they receive from it can change in a month by month basis.

So this month I’ve used it lots. I get all the features. I really feel like I’ve got value for money.

For whatever reason, the next month I’m not using it as much and I don’t really feel like I have. And seeing that the selling organisation to you of that product understands that it’s a value exchange and if you feel like your value changed, you can have a conversation about that. And it does mean that organisations therefore need to consider how they service customers quite differently. We’ve gone from a world where we do the sale. We forget, but we put our reminder that we’re going to do a renewal opportunity in a year. And we do do lots throughout that time to make sure they’re trained, they’re consuming the product. But we don’t talk about commercials. We don’t talk about licenses going up or down. Unless they happen to come to us and ask for more, in which case we’re really happy about it or you know, we want more plants in our plant scenario. Great. Otherwise, we’re leaving them to it. 

Whereas in this world, we are constantly having a conversation about how they find the product, what are they doing? And we were actually having a conversation with one of our customers, this week. The person who therefore goes and interacts with the customer is a conduit to a commercial conversation. And by that, I mean, let’s say you’re going to train them in the product or our plants. Let’s go plants again. Someone’s coming around and watering them. They’re not necessarily the same person you would talk to about how much you pay for them. But what if they were? What if this person is now your relationship with the organization? I’m watering the plants. Oh, this one’s dying. I’m not sure about this one. I don’t like this style of plants. No problem. Okay, we’ll take those plants away. We’ll do that. And you’re having all of that conversation. You’ve got that real intimacy with the product. But that product, that service that’s being offered to you has also got the commercial variables with it as well. 

So in that scenario, you’re talking to that person. Who’s not just the person watering the plants. They’re also the person who’s helping to understand how you consume the products and what would be better for you and what would be different for you. And I think organisations in the example I was just talking about, for example, they’re trying to work out how those same roles fit into a more kind of ongoing conversation about the commercial deal that you’re offering and being able to flex the service where in reality you’re creating these roles where they’re multidisciplinary almost. Like a trainer is also a customer success person. Someone who’s watering the plants, delivering the service is also a salesperson, and there’s less divide between people’s roles and responsibilities. There’s much more fluidity, which honestly also helps retention and people’s engagement, your employees engagement that they’re not just there to fulfil one purpose. But obviously they need training, they need to understand how to do that. It’s a shift in role, it’s a shift in mentality. And ultimately, it’s a shift in organisational culture, to customer centricity. Everyone needs to be focusing on that customer interaction now. And obviously couldn’t go through an episode of CX Talks without considering like what that impact is on the customer experience. And I think for me that is, that’s the most major here is now we’ve got different people’s roles who need to understand the overall customer experience and their part in it for a constantly changing subscription based service like that to be effective and for your customers to get the value that they want from it. 

Simon Blosse: Yeah, and I think just to build on that, that does drive a sense of, overwhelming to both sides, I think sometimes. So if you have people who are not anything to do with the way that you’ve bought a service or product as a business, being talked to by those who are trying to make sure they’ve understood it and are trying to maybe increase the sales it can become quite a pressured scenario, or it can become a really positive one. It’s a delicate balance, is what I’m trying to get to around not trying to make everybody responsible for everything and having a clear, defined way of people accessing the right person when they need it no matter who they are. So you don’t have everybody talking to everybody all the time, but you go, oh, okay. We will make sure that all of our service providers have the ability to direct a person who has a request like that to Tom, for example. It’s like, oh, that’s, that’s a question for Tom. You know, tom, your your, account owner, he can speak to you about that. Thank you for your request. Rather than being like, I don’t know. But equally avoiding the situation of every single person being like all what Simon does is constantly try to sell it at the same time as helping me out on the product. So there is an element just balancing that because I think it comes back to how you also recognise and reward your people, but also how you recognise and support your customers.

Tom Carpenter: Yeah, that’s a very good point. 

And it’s easy to make some of these things sound simpler than they are. This is quite a shift in seeing maybe different functions as being completely separate. But in reality, we’re not saying merge them all, everyone does everything. They’ve got to have their specific roles. It’s working out how they handle those interactions such that the customer gets the answers they need. They can speak to the right person. Absolutely right. 

Simon Blosse: Yeah, and I think just to steal another B2C example, if you think about the evolution of delivery drivers, and especially for packages, they have the ability to obviously just pick up a service you’ve pre booked centrally. They also have the ability to sell you a new service or to offer you more, or to give you guidance and help on where to deliver or package stuff differently. There are, that’s very simple, But that’s what we mean by diversification of those roles. So in that moment, they can sell because they have a machine with them that enables you to print. Which is also another service, I suppose, for those who don’t have printers. 

And then thirdly, there is just the basic of, I’m just here to pick up your parcel or deliver it. And be nice, because I am your frontline representative for whatever delivery service you’ve gone with.

And I think that’s what we mean by that diversification in a subscription world, because that gives you the ability to quickly increase it, or quickly decrease it, or to just accept the service as is. 

Tom Carpenter: Well, that’s an excellent wrap up, Simon. Thank you. Thank you for our listeners, hearing us today, speak about what B2B organisations can learn from B2C organisations in creating more flexible ways of doing business with your customers. 

So thank you so much for your time today. Thank you for the listeners for listening to us. 

Simon Blosse: Thank you.

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