magazine subscription software crmSubscribe

Subscription software with a human touch: in conversation with Alan Leech

“You could have the most innovative piece of software available but if no-one knows how to use it to the best of its ability, what’s the point? It’s always been our goal at crmSubscribe to find the balance between innovation and user experience to offer genuine solutions to publishers in managing their subscriptions.”

crmSubscribe is an end-to-end subscription management software that’s helping publishers across the globe grow their community of subscribers. 

Alan Leech crmSubscribe
Alan Leech.

Founder and Chief Architect Alan Leech developed crmSubscribe more than 20 years ago to respond to many of the tech and logistical challenges publishers were facing while keeping his brand of customer service front and centre.

TMSN recently caught up with Leech to chat about how crmSubscribe is solving publishers’ problems, why customisation is so important and how they’re supporting their clients through the rapid changes the publishing industry is experiencing. 

TMSN: Can you tell us how crmSubscribe came about?

Alan Leech: I created crmSubscribe to solve many of the problems publishers face when getting their content into the hands and screens of their readers. I’d been working in IT management for many years, so I saw first-hand the difference that smarter software solutions could make to a business trying to achieve their goals. 

On the other hand, I was also seeing the challenges that were getting in the way of growing and retaining an audience, even with the latest software in play. There was a disconnect between function, customer care, and price. 

No matter how innovative the tech, functionality, and user experience always have the most impact. So crmSubscribe was created to strike a balance between super technical capability and usability.

TMSN: Can you explain a bit about your tagline, ‘Subscriptions Solved’?

AL: When developing the software, I looked at the barriers both publishers and subscribers came up against. Whether it was staffing issues, a lack of technology, over-complicated software, or simply missed opportunities to promote subscription renewals, I wanted crmSubscribe to solve all of those subscription headaches. 

Our business is built on three main pillars, which is to be transparent, responsive, and approachable. We’re customer-focused, quick to solve problems, continually adapting and innovating, and open and honest in our dealings with people. 

TMSN: Why should a publisher use a subscription service instead of handling it all themselves?

AL: It’s definitely not all or nothing. Publishers have the flexibility to use our platform; however, it best suits their business. For some, that means licensing our software to make it easier for their in-house team to manage their database of subscribers and create a better experience.

If you’re struggling with staffing issues or capacity in-house, we give you the option to outsource your entire subscription process to our experienced team who handle everything from onboarding subscribers to fulfilment.   

We offer a genuine alternative to in-house management and fulfilment. In a lot of cases, we help publishers grow and increase their output without the costly mistakes that mismanagement and over-investing causes.

TMSN: With the digital space getting noisier by the day, how are you helping your clients stand out?

AL: For us, it’s all about creating a really enjoyable online experience for digital audiences that encourages them to keep on coming back. 

Customers have so much choice and are used to being able to see something and get it pretty much instantly. If anything about their experience isn’t seamless, there are too many other places for them to go.  

For us, it’s all about creating a really enjoyable online experience for digital audiences that encourages them to keep on coming back. 

Alan Leech, Founder and Chief Architect, crmSubscribe

So, we ensure that we’re able to be a reliable and seamless service for digital subscribers. This includes everything from sleek checkout options to smarter paywalls that allow for one-off, weekly or even monthly access to content. 

TMSN: How has COVID-19 impacted the way you do business?

AL: Like any business, we’ve experienced a lot of day-to-day changes, but we’re still simply getting publishers content in front of their audience as efficiently as possible. If COVID-19 has highlighted anything, it’s that subscription management needs to be flexible and offer multiple ways to get content to an audience. 

Some clients have seen a shift toward digital consumption, and we’ve been able to help them scale up that part of their business to meet demand. Others impacted by lockdowns have seen print subscriptions grow so customers can have publications delivered directly rather than picking it up at the supermarket or newsagent.    

One overall theme we’ve seen from our clients is the need to reduce costs. Larger publishers have been outsourcing their subscription management for some time to save money and now we’re seeing a lot of medium size and even smaller businesses realise the cost-saving potential of outsourcing. 

TMSN: What does crmSubscribe’s customer service look like? 

AL: Before starting crmSubscribe, I’d seen how even the best technology and most innovative software solutions failed to meet their potential because of a lack of person-to-person service.

Communication is what we’re all about, so it made sense to have a local customer service team made up of people who are highly trained and know our product inside out. 

Our clients talk to real people, not robots, who offer genuine support not just in troubleshooting, but also how they can use crmSubscribe to its best for their own setup.  

TMSN: Where do you see the future of subscription services? 

AL: We always keep an eye on what the industry is doing to see how our customers’ needs are changing and what we can do to help. Our customisable features allow each of our users to adapt the way they use crmSubscribe as they scale or improve their business.

People have been saying for years that print publishing is dying. Yes, it’s seen a lot of changes, but there will always be a market for print publications. We’re constantly responding to the growth in the distribution of digital content, but we’re definitely not forgetting about print.

For more information about crmSubscribe visit

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  1. Your interview with Alan Leech from CRMAustralia needs to be noted by other publishers. I am a small publisher of 33 years standing that started with our own subscription system, graduated to another software system that over time did not keep up with suit tech advances and then found CRM—wish I knew about them 20 years ago. Excellent program and support based on KISS principle—even our subscribers can renew and log in to their subscription details directly from our website, enrol in our newsletter and be directed back to shopping other products from our site without being lost.

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