An all-in-one business and agency software that automates project management for professional services companies such as creative agencies, consultants and the services business.

How HQLabs built a Zapier Automation for Efficient Affiliate Management, using Chargebee


And reduced effort spent in subscription management and recurring billing by 90%

Tech Stack
Finance GoCardless, Stripe, Chargebee, Datev, Sevdesk
Sales & Marketing Pipedrive, Intercom, MailChimp, Chargebee
Operations Zapier, Slack
Analytics ChartMogul, Google Analytics
Success Intercom
Oh, don't even get started building one[in-house billing]. Total waste of time, if that's not your business model. I would always recommend Chargebee because it's really not even close to being worth developing a process yourself... it’s bound to be error-prone as well. We're dealing with a financial process here and nobody can really afford the time to sort out mistakes in that process and so on. So just get one.
— Tobias Hagenau, Co-Founder, HQLabs
The Problem
HQLabs is a traditional SaaS company with two products made for business applications — one product, HQ, is a complex ERP solution for professional services companies such as creative agencies, consultants and the services business. The other product, awork, is a project management tool that also does time-tracking.
For HQ, they had a very manual marketing and sales process which involved traditional, outbound, cold-calling. Booking was done manually by sending out a quote to their customers, following which an invoice would be sent. While that worked for a smaller volume, with higher ARPU, the manual process was becoming error-prone and beginning to bite them at scale. As for awork, being a high-volume, self-service product with a smaller team, automation was a given.
Once they decided to go for an automated sales process, it became pertinent that they also automate the entire billing and subscription management process.
Lack of automation was causing them far more trouble as they started to grow.
The Solution
Having explored Stripe at the beginning as a standalone solution, it turned out to be expensive and was quickly out of question. That’s when HQ started evaluating Chargebee. In Tobias’s words, “We started testing Chargebee and we found out that it more or less did everything we were looking for at a fair price and it was easy to handle, so the decision was made rather quickly.”
In both the cases of HQ and awork, Chargebee was chosen as the subscription billing product, because it catered to both the sales-driven HQ and self-service awork.
While Chargebee was the central tool for customer and subscriptions management, automated recurring invoices, and subscription reporting, Chargebee’s integration with Zapier opened up avenues for HQLabs in terms of efficient workflows that they could build, especially for affiliate management as a source for new leads.
Building solid Zapier workflows for affiliate management
HQ depends on Zapier to build absolutely any workflow from acquisition to affiliate management and tracking, to automated notifications ahead of churn.
HQLabs created a seamless affiliate management workflow using Chargebee, Typeform, and Zapier, simply by setting up a Typeform on their website. With a zap, an entry is, then created in the affiliate database. Then the team sets up and sends an affiliate coupon code from Chargebee, which also helps calculate payouts to affiliates.
Check out Chargebee’s integration with Zapier
The Payoff
  • For HQLabs, the effort that they now have to invest into subscription and billing management has probably gone down 90%. All they have to do, now, is check for outliers.
  • With Zapier integration, the affiliate workflow has been a significant acquisition channel. “Within a couple of days, we’ve gathered about a dozen affiliate partners simply by just having it on the website and having that automation flow running is zero effort in acquiring those,” Tobias validates.
  • He goes on to add, “What we plan to do next is scale those up rather quickly so that it just works. I guess the game-changer is that it just works, and that goes for the entire Chargebee process, by the way. We're a subscription business, so subscription management and invoicing are necessary for what we do. It's also simply something that I think any business with our business model simply needs to do. It's something that will give you a huge competitive advantage.”