“Scott Mordell was CEO of the Young Presidents Organization, or YPO, from 2011 through 2020. What is fascinating about YPO is how intensely engaged their community is. Members will move mountains to make sure they can attend their regular meetings, despite the fact that they’re among the busiest people in the world. Many of them even qualify as “Superusers”—my word to describe members who go beyond just being good paying members, and actually contribute significant time and money of their own to benefit the organization.
Scott and I recently discussed the processes YPO has developed to attract, engage and retain CEOs around the world, the surprisingly friction-laden process they use to onboard new members, and the reason so many members become superuser.
Welcome to the show, Scott.
Thank you, Robbie. It’s great to be with you.
Tell me about the forever promise that you make to your members. What is it that you’re going to do for them forever in exchange for their engagement and loyalty?
First of all, we welcome extraordinary leaders to come together and grow together to improve their lives, businesses and ultimately, the world. It can be lonely to be a leader of an organization. Our forever promise is that you’ll never walk alone in your journey as you go forward.”
Key points include:
- Peer-To-Peer Relationships
- Whole-person leadership
- Keeping a high level of community and culture
Read the full article, YPO’s Scott Mordell on a Subscription that Transforms CEOs into Superusers, on LinkedIn.
Robbie Baxter brings the subscription-based business model to education and shares how it can benefit from the Membership Economy.
The past year has been a difficult one for schools. It sometimes seems like everything’s in flux.
Many families have changed strategies. Some have left traditional schools to join neighborhood pods. Others have gone from independent schools to public schools to save money. At the same time, some public school families have gone private, fleeing the chaos of the public school system. And, to make things more complicated, some students have moved out of the area, but are still learning virtually from their original school.
Schools are left wondering—will the students who left come back? Will the new families stay beyond this year? And is virtual learning going to be part of our new normal?
In this uncertain time, loyalty has never been more important.
I’ve devoted much of my career to helping organizations build loyalty, building the kind of “forever transactions” that justify predictable recurring revenue.
So the question is, does what I’ve learned working with subscription businesses and membership organizations apply at schools?
My answer is yes…and I’ll show you why. But first, let me tell you how I came to be so interested in this question of how organizations build loyalty so deep and so trusted, that customers take off the consumer hats, don their membership hats and stop looking for alternatives.
Key points include:
- Defining the promise
- Retaining loyalty
- Connecting with superusers
Read the full article, What Public, Private & Independent Schools Can Learn about Membership from Silicon Valley Subscription Companies., on LinkedIn.
Robbie Baxter shares valuable advice on how to build and manage a network in a comfortable and authentic way.
A few years ago, my sister asked me to co lead a workshop to help a group of her fellow psychologists build their professional network.
Here’s how she opened the event: “I know most of us really don’t like networking, and I’m glad you’re here anyway. For most of us networking is worse than a sharp stick in the eye”
I heard murmurs of agreement and saw heads bobbing up and down. These people hated networking. But I came to learn that a big part of it was how they defined networking and the approach they believed they had to use to build and nurture their networks.
I have come to learn that for many people, networking feels inauthentic and cheesy, and seems to take them away from the real work of helping clients and doing the work.
And yet, your network can be a tremendously powerful tool in “doing the work” and your investment in building your network can be among the most authentic and meaningful parts of your day.
In my work building engaged communities and forever transactions for all kinds of organizations, I have spent a lot of time teaching people how to build their networks in an ethical and comfortable way.
Here are some tips that can help you build yours!
Key points include:
- Communication tips
- Strategies for segmentation
- Developing opportunities
Read the full article, 30 Days to a Stronger Network in 2021, on LinkedIn.
Robbie Baxter shares a video and transcript of this interview on subscription-based business with insights on how to quantify the value of customer relationships.
Revenue from loyal customers is more valuable than anonymous transactional revenue–it’s more predictable and more profitable. But until recently corporate valuations haven’t had a way to distinguish the quality of the revenue based on customer relationships.
Dan McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business, is advocating for a new approach, known as “Customer Based Corporate Valuation.
I recently talked with Dan about why customer lifetime value is such an important and misunderstood metric, how to rethink the way companies are valued by the public markets, and what all of this means for subscription businesses.
Robbie Baxter: Can you explain customer based corporate valuation for the lay person.
Dan McCarthy: Customer base, corporate valuation at its most basic level is an enlightened way of forecasting a company’s future revenues, but driving that revenue forecasts off of what the customers will do. So hopefully it’s pretty intuitive that pretty much every major valuation method starts with some sort of a revenue forecast. And the main thing that we would say is every dollar of revenue has to come from a customer who’s making a purchase.
Key points include:
- Customer base corporate valuation
- Customer lifetime value
- The changing landscape of customer data
Read the full interview, How to Quantify the Value of Your Customer Relationships–An Interview with Professor Dan McCarthy, on LinkedIn.
Robbie Kellman Baxter shares her latest post on key subscription-based business strategies. This week she covers the new metrics of subscription models.
Selling is hard.
You have to find the prospects, attract their attention, build their trust, understand their needs and goals, and then get them to sign the agreement.
It’s much easier to keep the customers you have, and focus on extending and expanding that relationship.
That’s why there’s been an explosion in the “Anything-as-a-service” models (XaaS)–in the business world.
If you’re in sales, and moving to a subscription model, or even if you’re already selling something as a service and need a refresher, here are some tips to help you attract, engage, retain and expand relationships with the most profitable customers.
From Big Game Hunting to Farming
In a traditional business, the goal of selling is to get the customer to buy. That moment of transaction is when you’re done—hooray! And you go out to sell the next account. It’s like big game hunting, and you’ve brought in the woolly mammoth and left the carcass on the floor of the cave while you go out to win the next big deal.
But today, with SaaS and the emphasis on recurring revenue, the goal is to get the customer to come and stay. In this Membership Economy, it’s all about building a long-term relationship, with an emphasis not just on the initial transaction but on extending and expanding that transaction over time. If you need to optimize for lifetime value, you need to bring in the right customer (a customer who is going to get value out of what they’re buying) and then you need to optimize the customer experience for engagement and retention.This means that it’s not enough to close the deal–you also want to make sure that they are onboarded for success, and that your colleagues are tracking engagement.
Key points include:
- The importance of underlying metrics
- The focus on recurring revenue
- Developing the customer relationship
Read the full article, B2B Subscription Secrets for Sales: How to Build a Forever Transaction with Your Customer, on LinkedIn.
Robbie Kellman Baxter shares a tale from the trenches of subscription-based business success stories. In this episode, how a subscription business can become successful by focusing on subscriber outcomes.
Robbie Baxter: How did you come to run Instant Ink? Looking back, would you say it was inevitable? Or are you surprised at where you’ve ended up?
Anthony Napolitano: Well, I’m thrilled to where I ended up. I can’t say it was fully planned and chartered for sure. I think each of us have sometimes at our career we make a specific choice and sometimes luck just kind of falls upon you and you look back at are grateful that it happened. I think most of my career I’ve spent in what we call startup businesses inside of HP. So these are new businesses that we’re trying to grow and create. And it just so happened to be that before I joined Instant Ink, I was in another startup business inside of HP, which is quite a unique experience, is that I was there from day one until we actually shut down the business. So I was in that business for 12 years. And while it didn’t succeed in kind of a commercial sense, I learned a lot from that business. But because I had that experience, Instant Ink at the time was really only a few hundred thousand customers. And so I had this reputation of being able to grow new businesses inside of HP and I was given the opportunity to come into Instant Ink. Now we have over seven million customers worldwide.
Robbie Baxter: How many customers was that?
Anthony Napolitano: Seven million.
Robbie Baxter: Three hundred thousand to seven million.
Anthony Napolitano: That’s right. In the last five plus years.
Robbie Baxter: Wow. Now, it’s interesting to me that you’re you’re really an entrepreneur, and yet you’ve spent most of your career inside a big established company. What has that been like for you?
Key points covered include:
- Leading trend transformations
- Being the disruptor
- Cohort analysis
Read the full article or listen to the podcast, Reinventing the Razor & Razorblades Model by Focusing on Subscriber Outcomes with Anthony Napolitano of HP’s Instant Ink, on LinkedIn.
Robbie Kellman Baxter shares her latest article with expert insights on the subscription-based business model. This week, she discusses the disruption to the manufacturing industry and three mindset shifts leaders will need to make during the coming year.
Whether you’re a B2B manufacturer or a supplier to the industry, it’s time to rethink your entire relationship with your customers.
Companies like Dollar Shave Club and Birch Box let consumers enjoy cost savings, convenience and the fun discovery. And Peloton offers video subscriptions so purchasers of their indoor cycling bikes can get more out of their fitness regimen.
Now, B2B manufacturing and the companies who supply the manufacturers are starting to get on the act. The implications are huge. Think of the potential if manufacturers were ‘members’ who could subscribe to a factory line instead of owning it outright. I’m talking about the makers of heavy equipment like jet engines, cranes, combines and, of course, automobiles, but also entrepreneurs designing new electronics products.
Of course, subscription isn’t a totally new concept for the heavy equipment world. Many businesses already prefer to “subscribe” to cranes or trucks rather than bearing the burdens and responsibilities of a major capital expense. But what if you’re a supplier to a manufacturer, or a manufacturer whose primary “customer” is the distributor, not the end-user? If you want to see what the future holds, just look at the “Software as Service” (SaaS) revolution.
Key points include:
- Starting with the service, not the machine
- Customer focused strategies
- How to build a Forever Transaction
Read the full article, The Subscription Model is Set to Disrupt Manufacturing. Here are 3 Mindset Shifts Leaders Will Need to Make, on LinkedIn.
Robbie Kellman Baxter takes a look forward at subscription businesses in 2021 and provides a few tips on how to improve sales through improved membership strategies.
The time leading up to American Thanksgiving is often especially busy, with a combination of major conferences, ambitious sales goals and, of course, planning for the upcoming year before people check out (physically and/or mentally) for the holiday season.
You’ve probably spent some time already thinking about your goals for next year, and what you are committing to your board and stakeholders.
A key ritual of setting the year up for success for many organizations is the Sales Kick Off (SKO).
But this year’s event is likely going to look a little (a lot?) different.
I was inspired by my friend and colleague David Meerman Scott, co-author of Standout Virtual Events to rethink the SKO. David provides some excellent tips for running a quality virtual event, including the right equipment, how to prep a speaker, and how to think about the whole program as part of a whole.
In this article, I look at the SKO from a different angle. I took a step back to really focus on the “Forever Promise” organizations make to their sales teams and which has resulted in the “product” of the SKO event. The Sales Kick Off is a time to educate, engage and inspire the team to maximize the likelihood of hitting all sales objectives in the coming year.
Key points include:
- The modular model
- Creating ‘lean in’ opportunities
- Making the most of events
Read the full article, Rethinking Your 2021 Sales Kick Off With a Membership Mindset, on LinkedIn.
Robbie Kellman Baxter shares valuable advice for product managers who are ramping up operations to prepare for new subscribers to their subscription-based business.
So you’ve launched your subscription app, and you have some subscribers. You’ve only scratched the surface. Now the real work begins. The key to subscription models is that the benefits keep improving to support the subscriber’s ongoing goal. And at the same time as you’re optimizing for your existing subscribers, you have to continue to stay relevant for tomorrow’s members.
Subscription models are complicated.
If you’re responsible for the product roadmap, how do you prioritize where to invest first, and what can wait til later? Here are 10 tips that might help you focus.
Design for the whole party. Think of your product as a party. Then identify your greatest opportunity for improvement. There might be some people who don’t know the party is happening, or don’t realize that their favorite band is going to be there. That’s an awareness issue–can you build in a way to attract people who might not otherwise know about your product? There might be some people who pass by the party but don’t feel an urge to go inside and check it out–that might mean you lack a headline benefit that will attract them. But just because someone signs up, or enters the party, that doesn’t mean your work as a product manager is done. You need to make them feel welcome, and help them figure out where the fun activities are–the bar, the buffet, the band. This challenge is about surfacing features, and onboarding a new subscriber to create habits. Without good onboarding, you will have a leaky bucket. Even if you engage people and they find their way to the best parts of the party, they might grow tired of what’s familiar. If that’s your issue, you may want to expand the features for the most engaged subscribers, or even just create features to remind subscribers to re-engage. With subscriptions, it’s not enough to just attract new subscribers, it’s critical to engage them.
Tips in this article include:
- Optimizing for customer journey (not subscription journey)
- Understanding where the blockage is
- Investing in onboarding
Read the full article, 10 Tips For Product Managers to Optimize Your Subscription App, on LinkedIn.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Udayan Mittal. Udayan Mittal spent over 6 years at McKinsey where he joined as a BA and left as an Engagement Manager. During his time at McKinsey he worked across multiple geographies in Asia and North America, focusing on life sciences (pharma) and consumer sectors. Outside of McKinsey he has worked at J.P. Morgan and most recently at eBay where he was the Principal of the Corporate Strategy team. He has expertise in Strategy Consulting both at McKinsey and at larger corporations with a focus on growth initiatives. He lives in the Bay Area in California and loves playing tennis, meeting new people and volunteering. He would love to work on independent consulting projects or collaborate on exciting ideas in the consumer, retail or non-profit space.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Roman Churilin. Roman has 8 years of hands-on experience in international management consulting (McKinsey), private equity & fast-growing tech startups with concentration in B2B commercial strategy development & execution and ops turnarounds:
– While working at McKinsey and a PE fund he delivered over 10 projects for corporate & public organizations from various industries (eg, metals & mining, healthcare, real estate) to streamline their sales ops, increase assets productivity, reduce OpEx, and build employee capability;
– After his corporate consulting career, he worked at international B2B SaaS and B2C startups covering international sales scaling, strategic partnerships & fund-raising.
Roman is currently based in Russia and glad to support global projects on Sales strategy & Ops optimization remotely.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Luka Repansek. Luka Repansek worked as a management consultant in the financial institutions practice at McKinsey and gained experience in a number of European markets. He was Fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute in San Francisco were he conducted research on global capital markets. After McKinsey, Luka spent several years as a strategy and M&A advisor at large European financial institutions including KBC Group in Belgium and Sberbank in Austria. Luka has particular focus on strategy development and execution, corporate finance, capital markets and wealth management. He lives in Slovenia with his wife and a daughter. He is happy to work on strategy and corporate finance related projects in Europe and the Middle East