10 signs you need a Subscription Billing System

~ 5 min read | January 29
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(Photo credit: iabusa)

One of the most lucrative business models in today’s marketplace is to provide SaaS subscription-based products over the internet. Customers love the convenience of being able to access their application or service without having to go to the effort and expense of installing stand-alone software on their systems, and businesses are able to improve their bottom line by more effectively controlling their intellectual property, as well as being better able to keep pace with the rapid changes in technology that come with doing business in the internet age.

But, surprisingly, some companies that are taking advantage of this new business model are handicapping their potential profits by supporting it with outdated billing methods. The good news is that SaaS-powered subscription billing systems have never been more capable or easier to use. So what are some signs your business may benefit from a subscription billing system?

1. You offer a multitude of products.

If your business has a range of packages for customers to choose from, a good subscription billing system helps remove the headache of keeping track of which customer has signed up for which package. This goes a long way to prevent customer satisfaction problems, as well as helping ensure your customers are well aware of the full range of options you offer.

2. You offer a range of subscription terms.

If your customers have variations in the terms of their subscription – individualized due dates, for example – you need a billing system that will accommodate that as smoothly as possible, thus drastically lowering the resources your business needs to expend to keep track of whose payment is due when.

3. Your have customers who wish to change payment methods often.

Sometimes, a customer may wish to pay with one credit card in a certain period, then perhaps switch to another card the following period. If this is the case, your a solid subscription billing system will handle these changes, again freeing up your business’ precious resources to focus on your central objectives, while also ensuring that you don’t lose revenue if a customer changes banks or credit card companies.

4. You have customers who make frequent changes to their service.

Today’s customers have come to expect flexibility, and your subscription billing system should be able to provide the ability for customers to adapt their service to their changing needs without introducing additional headaches for your business.

5. You offer upgrades and add-ons to your products.

Upgrades and add-ons can accomplish the twin tasks of boosting profit margins and customer satisfaction. A good subscription billing system will help keep your customers informed of what you offer and introduce the opportunity for them to include additional items at the point of sale, so you don’t miss out on potential revenue.

6. You offer a constantly evolving product.

If your business provides a product that is frequently being upgraded and improved, you want your billing system to be as flexible as possible to keep pace. Nothing is worse than having a shiny new upgraded product roll-out hamstrung by an obsolete billing system.

7. You have a large and/or growing subscriber base.

Efficiently managing a large subscriber base is one of the main challenges that come along with success. An effective subscription billing system will flawlessly accommodate your business’ growth, and allow you to aggressively seek out new business without worrying whether your billing department can handle the logistics.

8. You scramble 10 different worksheets to run your billing report

With a large subscriber base comes complexity, and complexity breed errors, especially if you have to compile your billing report from several different sources. A quality online subscription billing service eliminates this problem and gives you a headache-free means to keep track of your billing numbers.

9. You suspect there is a revenue leakage due to billing errors.

Undercharging or providing upgraded features without the appropriate changes to the bill are a few common ways that your subscription-based businesses find themselves losing out on revenue. And it can be very difficult to track down these kinds of errors if you have to dig through pages of spreadsheet data. With online subscription billing, these errors are virtually eliminated.

10. Your customers scream at you over billing errors

In contrast with revenue leakage, sometimes you may inadvertently overcharge a customer. While mistakes do happen, people generally don’t want to hear that their bill was wrong because your staff didn’t process the reports correctly. Even if you are proactive in correcting the mistake, oftentimes the damage is done, and you risk losing a customer.

Essentially, virtually any business that relies on recurring revenue streams and seeks to increase its subscriber base and profit margins can benefit from a solid online subscription billing system.

What other signs have I missed to point out?  Please use the comments section below to join the conversation.

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John Solomon

Marketing Leader / Sales Enabler. Head of India Operations for @Infrascale / @sosonlinebackup.