Subscription Billing

Using Legacy Subscription Management Software? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t.

Erica Cosentino | November 1, 2022

Last week, I finally threw out my favorite hoodie, one I’ve had for nearly a decade.

Getting rid of that hoodie was a much-needed adjustment to my wardrobe (as some far-too-blunt family members had been quick to point out), but for some reason, I had a hard time letting it go. Sure, the colors were faded and the sleeves were starting to get ratty—it was a house hoodie only, okay?—but it was really comfy. It had been worn in just right and I’d gotten used to the way it felt.

If your accounts receivable (AR) team is using outdated or legacy software for billing and subscription management, they might be in a similar situation. Legacy subscription management software makes your recurring billing process slower. And maybe, on some level, your AR team knows this but is used to its quirks and unexcited about learning how to use new subscription billing software.

Understandable. But here’s the difference between getting attached to a ratty house hoodie and a legacy billing system—no one sees the hoodie.

Meanwhile, outdated software hinders business growth, slows down your time to market, can put a cyberattack target on your back, and frustrate customers and prospects.

“You want to be using technology in a way that augments the business, increases profitability, decreases expenses, or otherwise creates value,” Ken Presti, VP of research and analytics at Avant Analytics, told TechTarget. “If a new technology can do that, you go with that. And you want to look at this on a very regular basis, so you’re using technology effectively, to differentiate. That doesn’t mean you buy something as soon as it hits the market, but it might mean looking at it to evaluate its potential.”

If you’re not sure whether it’s truly time to switch to a modern subscription management solution, check out these ways your outdated software is holding you back.

Updating your catalog is inefficient or impossible

In the software as a service industry, things move fast—and you need to keep up. But making catalog changes on legacy recurring billing software can throw a wrench in your ability to do so. These software aren’t known for being particularly user-friendly, and often require some hard coding of products and prices.

So when your sales team wants to provide discounts to close a whale of a lead at month-end or your team is ready to launch a new product before a competitor does, you shouldn’t have to:

  • call in your developer team, taking time away from their real jobs

and

  • wait hours or days for them to code your changes into the system, or worse—
  • be told “no” because they don’t have the bandwidth to help.

Subscription businesses using legacy recurring billing software find themselves unable to pivot quickly thanks to the inflexibility of their tech stack. The end result is often not closing that big sale or not being the first to market with something new.

A modern subscription management solution, on the other hand, makes it easy for your subscription business to add products, give discounts, create custom subscription plans, and even take things a step further to proactively experiment with different pricing models.

Patrick Campbell, founder and CEO of ProfitWell, stresses the importance of having a system that enables easy pricing experiments.

“Running tests and gathering data to validate or invalidate your hypotheses are vital for identifying the best long-term pricing strategy that you can,” he says. “By testing small changes often, you can quickly get reliable data on each of your individual [hypotheses]. You can see what works and what doesn’t, and only take the time and effort to permanently implement the changes that maximize growth and revenue.”

Customer data isn’t safe

While some drawbacks of legacy billing software impact your business’s ability to scale—which is bad—other drawbacks can put your customers’ personal and credit card info at risk—which is really bad.

This is because out-of-date software is built on out-of-date security infrastructure. While it may have been a cybersecurity powerhouse back in its heyday, security threats are constantly evolving and software requires constant upkeep from its development team to remain secure. When software reaches “legacy” status, it’s no longer getting that much-needed attention.

“New systems are developed considering the latest threats. They have a built-in strong foundation to make sure no one can crack it,” Anna Dziuba, Delivery Manager at Relevant Software says. “On of top that, little things like data encryption, using the right channels to transfer data, and limiting access save you from a lot of inside and outside problems.”

The risk of cybercrime is rising every year, with the number of security breaches increasing by 11% since 2018 and 67% since 2014.

And without a secure subscription management platform in place, your chances of successfully being hacked—and exposing customers’ names, addresses, and credit card numbers—are pretty high.

What’s worse, recurring revenue businesses are prime targets for cyber attackers. Because these businesses accept payments on a regular basis, they store a lot of valuable information for payment processing. If it’s not stored somewhere secure, like a PCI-compliant vault, your business is a sitting duck in the eyes of a bad actor.

Customers can’t self-manage subscriptions

Here’s the thing about recurring billing and subscription management as they relate to the customer experience: most customers don’t realize how much they care. Their expectations around billing and subscriptions are subconscious. And if you provide a good experience, they won’t think twice.

But if not—if you’re creating work for them, forcing them on the phone to update something as simple as a billing contact, they’ll quickly become unhappy. In fact, a PwC survey found that 32% of customers would stop doing business with a company after just one bad experience.

Instead, you should empower your users—and prospective customers, if possible—to do as much as they can to manage their customer subscriptions on their own. This would mean:

  • adding a self-service portal for your paying customer base to update small details or handle upgrades and downgrades on their own, and/or
  • creating registration pages.

A modern subscription management platform allows you to do this with ease. And, not only will it enhance the customer experience, but it’ll also free up time for your customer support team to focus on bigger issues.

The best subscription management software is a modern one

Yes, replacing your subscription management solution is a big job. When your existing software is out-of-date, though, the job is a necessary one.

Your AR team may be used to the workarounds and limitations—or “quirks”—of working with your legacy tech. But when the wrong software stalls business growth, creates a poor customer experience, or puts customers’ sensitive information at risk, it could make the difference between staying in business and being pushed under.

It’s time for your subscription business to throw out the proverbial hoodie.

Written by:

Erica Cosentino
Erica Cosentino
Marketing Manager, Stax Bill

Erica is Stax Bill’s marketing manager. With a background in film production and content marketing, she enjoys the challenge of bringing the SaaS world to life – and making the topic of recurring billing fun. When she’s not at Stax Bill, Erica is borderline obsessed with travel (she’s been to 20 different countries) and loves learning new languages, speaking Italian, Spanish, and French to varying degrees of fluency.