Build the Deck to Sell Subscription Commerce to Your Boss (and Other Stakeholders)
You know that moving to a subscription commerce model is the right step for your business, right now, bringing with it all the benefits that can help your company emerge strong in these uncertain times. And while you’re sure your company can be a B2B subscription commerce success story, you first need to convince everyone else in the organization—starting with your boss.
To do that you need a compelling presentation that helps you tell your company’s subscription commerce story—the why, what, when, how, and how much. This presentation makes it clear why your company not only needs to adopt a subscription commerce model, but why you need to do so sooner rather than later.
We’ve helped hundreds of companies across many different industries create and execute a winning strategy for moving to subscription commerce.
As a trusted advisor, we’ve helped them describe the opportunities and benefits in a way that gets executive and board-level approval, buy-in from other parts of the company, and a higher priority within the company for investing in the initiative.
This chapter covers:
- To help you jumpstart the creation of your presentation to your boss, we’ve created a narrative template you can use to get started on your own deck. Just work through the following sections to fill in your unique case.
The best place to start is with the company vision.
Why? Because it lets you ground the rationale for a subscription commerce offering by showing how it helps your business achieve its vision for where it wants to be in the next three to five years.
From the vision, drill down into the most important measurements for achieving that vision. What are the top goals that leadership cares about? Typically, these goals are focused on revenue, shareholder value, costs, and/or customer experience.
List the challenges your company faces in achieving its vision and goals.
Consider these questions as you compile the challenges:
- Does your company have a defensible position?
- Is your offering differentiated?
- What competitive threats do you face?
- How are disruptors currently impacting your industry?
- How are customer trends and behaviors impacting your business?
Back up the challenges with relevant data from your company, competitors, industry analysts, and other sources to illustrate the extent and impact of the challenges.
Now you’re ready to describe in broad terms for your audience how a subscription commerce strategy can overcome the challenges you identified and help your company achieve its vision and goals.
Use concise language that shows you have a clear understanding of the subscription commerce opportunity and what it means for your company.
Briefly describe your proposed offering and why you believe it’s the right offering at the right time. This is also a good place to include examples of companies in your vertical and adjacent ones that have successfully pivoted to subscription commerce.
The Go-to-Market Plan
Give a high-level overview of a potential phased approach to bringing a subscription commerce offering to market. One way to approach a go-to-market plan is to think in terms of three distinct phases:
- Launch phase, where you launch with a minimally viable product to a limited set of customers to get to market quickly
- Scale phase, where you expand your offering and broaden support to more types of customers
- Optimize phase, where you optimize the customer experience and your operations
This is where you drive your points home about how subscription commerce can fulfill the company vision and goals. For each of the 1 to 3 top goals that your executives care most about (the ones you identified at the beginning of the presentation), you should forecast the impact you believe that your strategy can have on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive them. Highlight net new benefits and also include soft benefits such as competitive differentiation, improvement in recruitment and retention of talent, and others.
Make sure that as you create your financial models, you’re taking a longer-term approach, forecasting out 3 to 5 years.
Subscription commerce is not a trivial or superficial, short-term tactic. It requires investment over a longer period of time to generate sustainable, substantial returns.
When you built the business case (see Chapter 6), you set specific goals and KPIs for achieving them. Be sure to outline those here and include the estimated timeline for achieving them.
Identify and explain the potential risks—typically these are related to time, cost, complexity, organizational change management, and others. Describe how you will solve for these risks to mitigate them before, during, and after your subscription commerce launch.
Demonstrate the urgency of implementing your subscription commerce strategy by showing the impact of getting to market as quickly as possible versus a delayed launch of 12 to 18 months or more. How does a delay affect the KPIs that you focused on earlier? How does a delay impact your ability to meet the company goals and fulfill the vision?
Describe the commitment and investment your company will need to make to realize the objectives of your subscription commerce initiative. There are typically three key pillars where your company will need to invest time, resources, and budget:
What will it take to launch a minimally viable product?
Consider increases in staffing, cross-functional alignment, other requirements
Describe the subscription commerce platform you need to support your initiative
What do you want to happen next? Typically, this is where you’ll ask for initial commitments to move forward. That could include getting help in securing executive sponsorship for the initiative, coordinating across company functions (including product management, finance, sales, marketing, IT, customer experience, and others), and developing a more detailed business plan and go-to-market strategy.
A well-thought out deck will go far.
While preparing a presentation like this will take a considerable amount of time and effort on your part, it will ultimately help you organize your argument and identify any missing components so you can address them before someone else points them out.