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Business Strategy5 min read

The anatomy of a perfect subscription business

A blueprint for success

Core elements

If you were designing the perfect subscription business from scratch, what would it look like? It's something we have thought about a lot at keylight, which is why we created a platform which offers the ideal architecture for creating exactly that.

It hinges on three pillars:

  • People
  • Process
  • Technology

These three pillars, working in tandem with one another, deliver the alchemic combination for the perfect subscription business. While a lot of subscription businesses focus on how to automate processes, few really consider how people interact with them. Their emphasis is typically on which platform to choose, to automate accurate invoice generation, which is understandable because revenue is often the determining factor for success.

By flipping that mindset, organizations don’t ignore the financial side of the business. On the contrary, they focus on the fundamental elements that will lead to the desired outcome: sustainable and cumulative profits. Namely, that means—the people and how they engage and deliver the product/service to them (process and technology).

In this article, we look at the ideal anatomy of subscription businesses and how to make it happen by considering the different user groups, what they need and how to assess the maturity of subscription capabilities.


Delivering seamless continuity in your user and customer journey, when different teams are contributing to it, is both the challenge and the secret to success and that's where a user-centric system comes into play.



Subscription user groups and what they need

Shifting focus to user experience and platform usability

A user-centric platform means one that considers the needs of all users, making it easy for each of them to use in order to achieve their goals:

User #1

End Customers

Your end customers need to get the product they want, and have a frictionless experience in the process. That doesn't stop at the initial point of purchase; it continues throughout their customer lifetime, which means they need to keep having a great experience whether they want to upgrade, downgrade, pause, or cancel their subscription. Through that journey they need to have a sense of autonomy and actions need to be made easy. This is best done through carefully configured automated processes and self-service capabilities.

User #2

Sales Teams & Resellers

Sales teams and partners need to be able to see, know and access different products and product combinations quickly and easily so they can create quotes, sell the right subscriptions for each customer and interact with the end users easily and efficiently. To do that, they need a guided selling experience so they can generate quotes efficiently and accurately.

User #3

Success Teams

Support agents require a simplified environment equipped with the right permissions and tools to assist customers with activities like order and contract changes, issuing credits, and providing discounts. Ideally, these tasks should be performed in a regulated setting, well-connected with support systems, and seamlessly integrated with financial processes. Additionally, agents need a comprehensive overview of the customer’s subscription purchase history and invoice statuses to enhance their ability to provide effective support.

User #4

Executive Users

Executives in subscription businesses need to be able to see data in a way that allows them to observe trends and create strategies based on what they want to achieve rather than the limitations of the platform and rigid technologies. Crucially, they need to be able to build and test those visions quickly to see if they work, and either roll them out or pivot. To achieve that, they need a platform with end-to-end data collection, event-driven dynamic reports to differentiate the right metrics and mathematical modeling to compute transition paths, quantify uncertainties, predict outcomes and refine strategies.

User #5

Administrative Users

Once those strategies are decided upon, administrators within a subscription business should be able to implement them with easy configuration rather than having to ask tech teams to develop customized approaches for every requirement. Those requirements typically are to allow users to interact with automated processes, such as a new self-service journey or rolling out new channel pricing or promotions. What they need is a user-centric platform that automates processes based on user requirements, and enables them to achieve what they need with simple configuration.

User #6

Engineering Teams

Every business has its unique use cases, and for that reason engineering teams should be able to implement customizations easily, rather than building subscription logic from scratch each time, which has low scalability and takes up resources that could be spent on core product development. To make that happen quickly and successfully, businesses need a subscription engine with comprehensive prebuilt capabilities so that they only need to use a low-code approach to customize the user experience to fit their organization.

User #7

Billing & Finance Teams

Billing and finance teams are a fundamental part of subscription businesses, and to ensure accuracy as the business grows, as customers change their requirements across their subscription lifetime, as you add new products and possibly as you enter different global territories, they need invoicing and accounting processes to be automated and entirely trustworthy. To achieve that, they need a carefully thought-through workflow design with billing and finance processes as a part of the customer journey, where self-service commerce, sales, support, payments, and accounting are now no longer separated.

How keylight can help

Enhance maturity of your subscription business

Lots of people think their subscription business is mature if it’s making money. However, the mark of a mature subscription business is having internal processes that will support and sustain business growth. It all comes back to those three core pillars: people, process, technology—how they interact in a dynamic environment and facilitate success and change.

Maturity also means being cognisant of the experience gaps between all users, to ensure customer journeys are seamlessly connected to your business and that internal efficiencies save costs.

keylight's subscription business platform is built to enable the perfect business anatomy, allowing people to take full control of business processes and push organizations to the next level of success thanks to purpose-built technology.

keylight Insights

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