Founded in 1982, Autodesk is a global leader in developing 3D design, engineering and entertainment solutions. Customers operating in the manufacturing, architecture, construction, media and entertainment industries – including the last 19 Academy award winners for ‘Best Visual Effects’ – use Autodesk to imagine their ideas before they are created. From blockbuster visual effects and buildings that create their own energy, to electric cars and the batteries that power them, the work of Autodesk’s 3D software is everywhere you look. Autodesk products are sold globally, both directly to customers and through a network of over 3,000 resellers and distributors.
Autodesk is focussed on creating compelling delivery models to ensure it maintains its growth momentum and remains the market leading provider of 3D design software. The company is increasingly moving towards a subscription-based business model and wanted to launch a compelling initiative to support its resellers to move more customers onto multi-year renewals and sell additional perpetual licences which were coming to an end. Thomas Schwendner, Director Sales Execution Europe, Middle East & Africa at Autodesk, explains, “We wanted to overcome end user budget constraints by allowing them to spread the cost of buying Autodesk software to reduce their financial risk and protect essential working capital.
“As our trusted IT finance partner, we recognised that Syscap could underpin this strategy by increasing customer retention levels and recurring revenue values over a three year period through our UK partner resellers using Autodesk Finance.” Autodesk Finance is a bespoke financing and lending programme operated and promoted by Syscap. Since partnering with Autodesk in 2008, Syscap has supported and financed a wide range of their products and services to ensure that Autodesk cements its competitive edge and resellers can add significant value to their sales propositions.
Following discussions between both companies, a 0% payment term initiative was launched for a limited period in Q4 (from 1st November 2015 to 20th January 2016) through Autodesk Finance. The interest on the 0% offer was funded by a specific Autodesk subsidy instead of from supplier margins and made available on all Autodesk products including perpetual licenses, maintenance and desktop subscriptions with a minimum order value of £20,000. The premise behind the 0% campaign was to provide resellers with an attractive incentive to close more deals while still maintaining their margin instead of having to offer cash discounts to their customers.
Furthermore by taking advantage of this offer, end users would be able to keep up with the latest Autodesk software to meet their growth needs while reducing disruption to their cash flow or utilising opex budget by using an affordable monthly payment option instead. Syscap created a specific marketing programme comprising the creation of channel promotional materials, e-shots, hands on account management and sales pipeline support from one dedicated point of contact and held individual briefings with each Autodesk vendor sales manager prior to the campaign. To increase awareness and engagement, Syscap also formulated an Autodesk UK partner league table and distributed weekly communications to inform resellers who was the leading partner, the value of the fund and how many days were remaining in the campaign.
The results and benefits
The combination of a compelling incentive and dedicated reseller engagement provided by Syscap across the channel resulted in this being Autodesk’s most successful 0% campaign ever. In total 157 opportunities were introduced and 75 vendor deals were closed (at a rate of just under 1:2) with a 99% acceptance rate for deals being processed via Autodesk Finance over the three month period – a 48% sales volume increase compared to the same Q4 period in 2015. Importantly three-year subscription renewals, which Autodesk aimed to convert a quarter of the marketed customer base to, totalled 64% of the overall deal volume with 35% purchasing two-year subscriptions. Only 1% opted for license only. Having made a significant impact on reseller business performance, Syscap was also able to improve its relationships with Autodesk’s resellers. By enabling them to offer flexible and cost effective customer payment terms Autodesk Finance helped them leverage their competitive advantage and refrain from heavy discounting. By providing an affordable and flexible way for customers to pay for Autodesk software over time, Syscap also enables end users to quickly realise the return on their investment by spreading the cost of crossgrades, renewals and new licenses.
Thomas Schwendner comments, “Syscap has been instrumental in contributing to the outstanding success of this campaign which has exceeded our subscription renewals target. Their willingness to provide excellent marketing and account management support with Autodesk vendors from the outset and throughout the promotion is what really sets them apart compared to other IT finance providers.” The ability of vendors to propose affordable IT equipment loans can be one of the most effective ways for them to boost sales. Facilitating immediate access to the latest IT equipment and software solutions at a management price is of great advantage to their customers too. Syscap can offer resellers end-to-end finance packages, which includes administration, payment collection and sales support.