From evolving trends, revised algorithms, shifting rules of engagement, and (on rare occasions) re-christened platforms, the digital world around us operates on constant change.
In this changing world, Agorapulse – a French community management software – helps brand and social media managers across 170 countries keep up by offering the power to manage content calendars, track outcomes, and prove social media ROI.
Moving Fast and Breaking Things
The best weapon in Agorapulse's armory is its ability to innovate constantly. The company has built multiple capabilities - from reporting to media monitoring to AI-assisted content creation to stay ahead of the evolving needs of its customers.
It meant constantly scaling their tech stack as their business grew. Their previous subscription and billing platform, Recurly, was chosen with simple requirements (like building subscription tiers and accepting payments through PayPal and credit cards) in mind. It wasn't designed to support new and growing use cases:
On introducing new add-ons, previous add-on configurations had to be manually removed.
Introducing price changes required them to spend a lot of time editing each plan.
As the team grew from five to 140+, new revenue control systems needed to be set up, which was not possible with their existing tool.
Team Agorapulse needed to enable self-serve and sales-assisted subscription tiers as they moved upmarket.
With growing needs, considering a scalable subscription management platform became critical to Agorapulse's success.
Soon, they needed a pressure-tested subscription management system that grew with them and their community and could handle advanced use cases like the ability to make pricing revisions at will, the ability to configure add-ons selectively without affecting existing plans, and the freedom to keep their revenue tools agile and iterative without consuming developer bandwidth.
Scale, Subscriptions, and Serendipity
Agorapulse went tech shopping with a crystal-clear focus: their new system had to be simple, future-ready, and flexible without undoing their existing stack, forcing a recode, or asking their developers to burn the midnight oil.
They evaluated multiple solutions and Chargebee in the process.
"At this time, I was starting to build the team that'll later handle subscription management internally. Hence, I had to do most of the research myself. I ended up implementing two proof of concept, one being Chargebee. What I most appreciated about Chargebee at the very beginning was the ease of implementation and the simplicity of the interface," Florian Ernoult, Head of Product Engineering at Agorapulse, recalls about his first taste of the Chargebee platform.
Call it coincidence or pure luck, but it was at this exact time that Chargebee launched its Product Catalog 2.0, which, according to the team at Agorapulse, both surpassed their (then) subscription capabilities and supported their future vision on subscriptions, leading to material improvements in their subscription business:
Lift in Upsells With Seamless Add-on Configuration
"We had our plans configured in Recurly, and when you change the price of an add-on on the plan, it changes instantly for everyone without allowing us to retain previous pricing for our existing customers. We couldn't penalize our existing customers for their loyalty; hence, we couldn't change anything without the ability to grandfather our add-ons."
— Florian Ernoult, Head of Product Engineering, Agorapulse
Configuring new add-ons or replacing existing ones was a simple exercise in Chargebee. A designated Agorapulse user could create a new add-on, define a price point, currency of charge, value metric (charged per user, instance, quantity, etc.), and go live.
When editing an existing add-on by changing the price-point or the value metric, the team at Agorapulse could control if they wanted to prevent the new add-on price from affecting existing subscribers. It helped them –
Launch new upsell programs in minutes
Prevent sticker shocks for existing customers
Configure add-ons across various pricing models (seat-based, flat-fee, recurring, and more)
Build custom add-on pricing for separate geographies
As a result, since going live with Chargebee, Agorapulse saw faster turnaround times and an increase in expansion revenue.
Driving Upmarket Maturity
As the business grew, Agorapulse moved from being 100% self-serve to having a hybrid GTM motion with product-led sales. It meant building a separate subscription tier without a set price point. Instead, the sales team could control the price of the plan on a case-by-case basis and offer custom quotes, helping them handle negotiations and monetize new accounts dynamically.
The Agorapulse marketing team also needed to create custom coupons for bespoke campaigns to increase acquisition. It meant more team members were required to be hands-on with Chargebee's subscription portal, which also meant heightened risks of a member accidentally updating plan configurations.
Chargebee took away this complexity by providing custom access controls. Each user was assigned a specific role on the portal and would only be able to edit/control specific abilities within the platform based on their access level defined in the role.
"To give access to the coupon section in Recurly, we needed to give access to the whole account configuration. One could accidentally disable the gateway, change the plans, or update pricing. With better access controls in Chargebee, we could eliminate risks to the business as we grew and added more people and processes," Florian Ernoult said.
3X Better Value Capture With Pricing Revisions
In 2022, Agorapulse moved away from packaged plans to selling subscription tiers based on the number of seats a customer needed. It helped customers regulate their purchases based on workload and team strength and helped Agorapulse capture value proportionately to their customers' requirements.
To keep up with changing customer needs and market conditions, the team also made multiple revisions to pricing points on their plans and add-ons. Conventionally, that would mean recoding their subscription plans or reconfiguring every individual plan in their subscription tool.
With Chargebee, Agorapulse completed their pricing experiments from thought to action in under a month by –
Toggling between package-based and seat-based billing
Making editing prices as simple as field-changes
Supporting pricing grandfathering to insulate their older customers from forced migrations
Maximizing Interoperability and Minimizing Tech Stack Changes
Between keeping up with the dynamics of social media and ensuring their platform, features, and pricing generated customer delight, Team Agorapulse did not need to add redoing their existing tech stack to fit Chargebee in.
Instead, Chargebee fit snugly into their custom stack by:
Seamless API triggers to support existing and new tools in their armory
Native integrations with Adyen, PayPal, Xero, and more to make revenue processing, revenue recognition, and tax compliance easier
Easy data reconciliation with smooth handoffs between tools
Unblocking Future Roadmap with Proactive Customer Success
"Our CS experience with Chargebee has always been perfect. We have regular meetings and an extremely responsive team that is always super-focused on our needs changes and ensuring all the issues we met with or have already solved don't happen again. The difference between this and our previous experience with Recurly is night and day." said Helene Caunezil-Beauvois, Head of Finance at Agorapulse.
Between periodic recons and temp checks, proactive expectation setting and discussions on beyond-the-horizon functionality requirements, and hand-held support, Agorapulse found a customer success team that was approachable and dedicated to their success with the platform.
It helped them handle future and edge cases with confidence and ease of mind so they could do what they were meant to – delight their customers.
Chargebee, Adyen, Xero