Today’s digital market is all about automation and fast turnaround. It’s no longer enough to provide quality services for your customers if you want to survive in your industry.
The notion of a recurring sales program that helps customers buy faster and easier might not sit well with some CEOs. After all, a recurring sales plan effectively cuts out the middleman, meaning that people can make purchases in your e-commerce store or website based on previous activity.
With that said, what are the reasons for the implementation of such a sales program to begin with? How can you set up a recurring sales plan in your company without any downtime or loss of revenue in the meantime? These are the questions we will address in the following paragraphs as we dive into the waters of recurring sales.
The basics and benefits of recurring sales
Let’s talk about recurring sales programs for a minute before we dive into the nitty-gritty details of it. In short, recurring sales programs allow customers to make new purchases based on previously made purchases. Amanda Sparks, digital marketer and author of Top-Down Writer blog explains: “Recurring sales can be paralleled with walking into a store run by your close friend who knows exactly what you want to buy.”
For example, Netflix has a recurring subscription model that charges set amounts of money each month on the dot. They are effectively “selling” their services in a “recurring” fashion – repeated each month on the same day. This is one of the most basic and commonly found forms of recurring sales programs available on the internet.
What type of program you set up in your own e-commerce storefront or company website is up to you and the products and services you have on offer. Another great example is an e-commerce store that sells construction materials for construction companies. If someone makes recurring purchases of concrete materials from you, it’s only natural that you would want to offer them a recurring model of purchase that takes a click to accomplish instead of three.
Recurring sales programs are an amazing way to drive customer loyalty and establish an industry authority. Some of the most important benefits of implementing such sales plans include:
- Recurring sales support your business’ growth, company goals and increases in revenue streams
- They are easily implemented into any pre-existing sales plans and don’t require any maintenance or ongoing support
- They can motivate your sales teams to work more effectively thanks to an innovative new tool available to them
- Lastly, they greatly influence brand loyalty, word of mouth and recurring sales as a whole since the process becomes more streamlined as time goes on
As you can see, offering recurring purchases to your clients isn’t anything groundbreaking or detrimental to your existing sales plans. It can, however, increase the appeal of purchasing your products since we are all prone to opting for the simpler and quicker option whenever we shop online. James Daily, a content manager, and founder of Brainished emphasizes: “Recurring sales can make a huge difference, especially in the B2B sector where every minute matters.”
Setting up a recurring sales program
Now that we have a clearer understanding of what a recurring sales program actually means, we can safely talk about implementing one in a company environment. Most of the implementation process revolves around company history research as well as some customer profiling later on. Let’s break the process down into digestible bits and start from the beginning:
Identify your sales incomes
A recurring sales program serves to automate the sales process of certain items and services available to the customers. In order to make such a plan viable and worth pursuing, you should investigate your previous sales figures and item shipments.
- What type of product or service do you sell?
- Do you sell per unit items from a retail warehouse or do you offer digital services?
- Which products or services have sold the most units in the past several months?
- Do those products or services offer good RoI in regards to your resources spent in their acquisition?
- What is the percentile of customers that buy more than one unit of product or service from your website?
- Proportionate to the remainder of your income, what percentile of your monthly revenue came from recurring purchases?
Once you understand what products and services your customers want to buy over and over again, you will have a clearer picture of whether or not a recurring sales program makes sense. If your customers only buy one item and never come back afterward, recurring programs make very little sense.
It’s also important to note that recurring sales often come from the added value for recurring customers. You need to offer genuine value for recurring purchases – otherwise, the system makes little sense in the long run.
Implement a recurring sales tool
Since recurring sales rely on automated billing, shipping, and handling of purchases, your job is limited to overseeing that the process runs smoothly. One of the safest and most cost-effective ways of setting up a recurring sales program is to invest in an online platform or a piece of software designed to do just that. These tools are made to handle recurring billing and purchases with you as the administrator at the helm.
It can be far too expensive and time-consuming to have web designers and programmers make a specialized code for your recurring sales. This is completely ineffective when it comes to RoI and downtime involved in implementing such a sales element. With that said, let’s take a look at several useful sales tools that can help you automate purchases:
Marcie Povey, a sales manager at Canada-Writers shares her positive experience of using this tool: “Small businesses and e-commerce storefronts can rest easy with Zoho at the helm of their recurring sales program. Zoho is an online tool capable of integrating itself with your database and customer data in order to act as an intermediary.”
It handles payments, subscriptions, recurring purchases and automates orders based on the customers’ data and predetermined parameters. Zoho is an easy tool to set up and run which means it will take you only several hours to get everything going with recurring sales.
As the name suggests, QuickBooks is a tool that can make your sales books impeccable. QuickBooks is a recurring billing and sales application that focuses on your bank accounts as a company. It tracks and handles recurring sales and purchases coming in and out of your accounts in order to make the automation process easier for you.
After all, your company has recurring costs just like your customers have repeated purchases. QuickBooks can handle both without a hitch which makes it an invaluable tool to have in your arsenal.
Lastly, HarmonyPSA is an all-in-one recurring sales tool capable of tracking your entire business cycle. You can use HarmonyPSA for the entirety of your business operations including sales, automated purchases, billing cycle tracking and books handling.
HarmonyPSA is a tool built for large enterprises with numerous cash flows that are hard to track by hand. With its BlueSnap integration, HarmonyPSA simplifies the complete process of running a business and charging customers for your products and services.
Make no mistake – hand-made recurring sales models are a viable option for small firms and startups with limited budgets. However, it takes a single misstep to ship something to the wrong client or charge the wrong bank account for someone else’s purchases.
Dainton Vazquez, a customer success specialist at Top Australia Writers recently spoke on the matter: “Although our services are digital, we have always used recurring sales software for the benefit of our clients.” Invest in a recurring sales program that offers at least the rudimentary options for automation over extended periods of time.
Adjust your pricing over time
Going back to the example of Netflix as a recurring sales company (based around monthly subscriptions), we can see the appeal of adjusting the pricing models over time. Once you have established the channels of recurring sales (via a specialized application) and garnered a customer database, you can start thinking about your current pricing.
Is the pricing model you are using right now viable over the next several years? You can use questionnaires or small feedback forms to communicate with your audience about their satisfaction with your recurring sales model so far.
Based on the feedback you receive, you can go up or down in your price depending on whether or not the satisfaction of the current customer base allows it. If your customers are happy with what you offer, raising the price won’t be an issue, especially if you offer niche products or services unavailable anywhere else.
Invest in your sales department
While the majority of your recurring sales fall on the software you chose to implement, your real-world sales department still plays a pivotal role. Make sure that your sales personnel know how to operate the recurring sales software effectively and offer customer support if the need arises.
The same applies to their sales skills and their ability to present the options you have on offer to potential customers in the best possible light. Investing in specialized seminars, conferences or team building activities might provide the necessary incentive for your sales department to go beyond their current job descriptions.
Steve Mehler, a recruiter at Best Writers Canada shares his insights about HR development: “Employees are only as effective as the care and effort put into their professional development.” After all, the recurring sales software is only a piece of software without a human hand guiding it properly. Emphasize the importance of retaining existing clientele and raising the conversion rates with each passing month.
Long-form sales (Conclusion)
It’s easy to see the appeal of implementing a recurring sales program into your e-commerce storefront or a company website. If you still have doubts about the program, consider the fact that your business is always on an upwards spiral.
Businesses need to plan ahead and prepare for the future in order to stay competitive. Recurring sales programs are not fairytales – they are genuine revenue creators capable of transforming small businesses into enterprises.
(Screenshots taken from software website hyperlinks)
Sales manager showing car to the customer– stock image