How to Take Your Subscription Offerings Globally

When you’re ready to sell internationally, you’ve got to focus on the what (offerings tailored to new markets) and the how (making sure your systems can handle country-specific payments and processes).

Think of it like this: You plan a whole lot differently for an overseas trip than you do for a weekend getaway close to home. The same applies to international sales. You’re exploring a whole new world, and you need to make sure you’re playing by each country’s rules.

Think global, act local:

Launch internationally with localized offerings and pricing

How much tweaking you have to do to your current offerings depends on how wide a net you’re casting.

If your new market is similar to your current one—like going from the US to the UK— it’s safe to assume customer wants and needs will be similar, too. And that makes expanding your subscription business globally a lot easier. Just change a few Zs to Ss and hit “launch.”

If you’re heading into uncharted territory, expect to hit the books (or, at least, Google) to research customer needs and behaviors in your new market. You may need to adapt your product portfolio, and you’ll want to test and tweak any new products you add.

Need to launch new products or bundles for international? Consider this:

Make sure your new offerings or packages have been dialed for your new audience and you’ve got your positioning nailed.

Dig into how your new market thinks about pricing and what the currency rules are (for example, is it standard practice to round prices to a whole number or end in .99?).

It’s crucial to make the buying process seamless and intuitive for your customers, so make sure the currency conversion on your “regular” pricing doesn’t come across as strange (e.g. make it €500 instead of €429.80).

Make your billing bulletproof:

Support international subscription invoicing & payment requirements

Every country has its own (sometimes byzantine) billing and payment requirements. But it pays —financially and competitive advantage-wise—to understand and support the widest range possible of payment options and billing rules.

Payment Methods & Gateways: Let international buyers pay how they want and make sure your payment gateways support everything. Zuora’s research backs this up: companies that provide more payment methods have higher growth.

Taxes: Ah, everybody’s least favorite topic. But don’t sleep on it. Tax requirements vary from country to country, so it’s almost impossible to manage it manually. Automation is the way to go here.

Localized Invoices: Make sure your system supports multi-language customer notifications & invoices.

Global website building and hosting service, Jimdo, is a great example here. They can bill in 20 local currencies and accept payments through 80+ portals.

Another relevant example is FireHost. By supporting multicurrency, local taxes, and local payment methods, they’ve more than doubled their customer base and seen a 200% increase in annual revenues.

Streamline your close: Address FX conversion challenges & roll-up reporting

Dealing with new geographies can be a headache for your finance team. To keep them happy, make sure your systems can support their expanded reporting and closing responsibilities.

FX Conversion: Don’t switch FX reporting and rules between periods or you risk inaccuracies. If more than 50% of your revenues are in one currency, it’s generally best to report on that currency.

Roll-Up Reporting: For external audiences and the C-suite, use a single currency across multiple countries or regions. This will give you more comprehensive insights and trends about your business.

Segmented Reporting: For internal teams, make your reporting as segmented as possible to get the type of detailed insights needed to make critical decisions (and avoid generalizations).

Yes, expansion into global markets can be daunting. But the massive opportunities that await you are worth it. Just make sure you’ve got the systems and support in place to keep up with the complexities of international sales—and your growth!

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