We’re all well aware the pace of business is faster than ever before. Cloud-based SaaS solutions have forever changed the way people work, allowing for instant communication, real-time data analysis, fully integrated technology systems, and global collaboration on a never-before-seen scale.
While business agility was once a competitive edge, it has now become the standard. SaaS and other subscription-based businesses have been upping the ante by digitally transforming their end-to-end operations to reduce manual processes and ensure limitless scalability and growth potential.
After all, bottlenecks and roadblocks create drag on a business. And losing your footing creates an opportunity for your competitors to gain ground.
For SaaS and other subscription-based businesses, transforming subscription management and recurring revenue operations is a move that can add agility in both expected and surprising ways. By optimizing your billing and collections, you not only strengthen your recurring revenue engine—which supports your entire revenue operations—but also you can guarantee your customers enjoy a more seamless subscription experience.
1. Leverage hosted pages for streamlined subscription management.
It’s estimated that within the next few years, 85% of customer engagements will be self-serviced. In fact, nearly 70% of customers say they prefer self-service and self-registration modules to human assistance.
While some customer needs should and must be met by human support, registration and many everyday subscription management tasks don’t require it.
Self-sign up or registration allows customers to sign up immediately at any hour of the day, serving as a crucial first step in the automated billing process.
However, there are pitfalls—even for the subscription business that understands the value of self-service and self-registration portals. For example, many businesses build their own tools. While there can be many benefits to bespoke tools, the developmental process can take a significant amount of time—ranging anywhere from 3-6 months.
Without a backup option, your business winds up paying for not only the development costs but also the incalculable expense of business slowdowns and delays.
Leveraging hosted registration and self-service pages through your subscription management software serves as a bridge that guarantees uninterrupted efficiency, and unblemished customer service continuity.
2. Benefit from a flexible product catalog for quicker go-to-market.
Most SaaS businesses present their offerings in 3-4 subscription plans with each one typically containing 5-9 features—some, a whole lot more. This pricing structure is designed to cast a wide net, well-suited to reel in the spectrum of potential clients that fall within your ideal customer profile.
Having well-thought-out pricing plans is important—but so is the ability to deviate from them when needed.
Without flexibility, your catalog will inevitably exclude certain customers. This is especially true of “enterprise” level clients, whose needs often don’t fall squarely within the perimeters of pre-ordained plans.
Without the ability to cater to their needs, you not only fail to make the sale but you also inadvertently direct potential customers towards competitors with more advanced tech stacks.
Subscription management services make it easy to:
- update your product catalog in real-time
- create custom customer subscriptions
- expedite your go-to-market potential with new products, features, and pricing—including A/B testing, and
- apply discounts how you need to, when you need to.
As pricing profitability expert Katharine Paine puts it, “The moment you make a mistake in pricing, you’re eating your reputation or your profits.”
Things change quickly in the world of SaaS. A subscription billing solution with a flexible product catalog allows you to change with them.
3. Automatically bill and collect for quick and healthy cash flow.
Billing by hand might make sense as your SaaS or subscription business is just starting out. With only a few customers to take care of, the process can be manageable and relatively expedient.
However, as the billing department of any fast-growing SaaS company knows, things won’t remain this way for long.
Recurring billing with manual processes inevitably leads to inefficiency, bottlenecks, invoicing errors, and very stressed-out employees—not to mention unhappy customers. No one likes an inaccurate bill.
According to a recent study put out by Goldman Sachs, automated recurring billing software can reduce the amount of time spent on billing by up to 80%. And at Stax Bill, we’ve had customers reduce that time by as much as 90%!
In automating your subscription billing you:
- reduce the potential for mistakes,
- significantly improve the scalability of your operations, and
- increase the amount of time your team has for more strategic work.
Not only will your agile subscription management system save you money, but it will also guarantee your customers have a predictable, error-free billing experience.
4. Take a deeper look at the data for real-time business pivots.
Data is only as valuable as your ability to use it.
The best subscription management software solutions help businesses break down their historic and current subscription data, enabling them to derive quick, actionable insights.
For example, taking a look at your churn data might produce the insight that you need to invest more heavily in your customer success team—and maybe even the quality of the leads you’re bringing in from the get-go. And if you’re seeing contraction revenue from certain clients, you might want to start focusing more attention there immediately before they too decide to leave.
Subscription management data also helps you:
- determine which are your top customers, products, and plans
- better understand your monthly recurring revenue, as well as your recognized versus deferred revenue breakdown, and
- identify customers that are most receptive to upsells and cross-sells based on their growth with your business over time.
As writer and programmer Daniel Keys Moran says, “You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.”
A robust system of accurate subscription and billing data equips you with the information you need to make informed business decisions in real-time.
5. Get paid quickly so your business can keep on growing.
Naturally, your subscription management solution speeds up payments by automating your billing and collections. But it’s worth noting it also adds an extra level of collections assurance in how it optimizes ongoing dunning management.
- Automated credit card updating,
- scheduled failed-payment retries, and
- automated dunning texts and emails all serve to help your business collect on failed payments quickly, without the investment of significant manual effort.
Better yet, many of these approaches manage to collect on late payments without frustrating or embarrassing customers. For example:
- automated credit card updating helps avoid the involuntary churn of customers whose previous payment method simply expired, and
- payment retries enable you to collect from customers that came up short earlier in the month without embarrassing them.
To that end, your subscription management software helps both to retrieve late payments and ensure future revenue by maintaining your customer relationships—and all without the manual effort.
The result? More revenue to reinvest in your business.
Keeping your business competitive with agile subscription management software
Modern, agile subscription management software improves business operations and helps your customers enjoy a much more seamless experience. Perhaps just as importantly, it keeps you on pace with the competition.
As the writer Stewart Brand put it, “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.”
It’s important to remember that business agility is more than just an advantage: it’s a requisite for navigating the challenges of the modern world.
Efficient recurring billing and subscription management enables you to pivot swiftly into decisions that are best for your business, whether that means taking a look at the data to determine your marketing budget, or relying on a flexible catalog to land your next big contract.