Retail stock brokerage firms in the US build their software in-house for their customers to research and trade stocks on US-based exchanges. These brokerages used to frequently incorporate outside research tools to round out their product offerings. But recently, driven by trading commissions dropping sharply (and now many firms offering free trading), these brokerage firms' appetite for paying for external research tools have largely dried up.
Trade Ideas anticipated these moves several years ago and has rapidly grown the direct subscriber base to their Artificial Intelligence-driven stock screener tools. This change has more than covered the lost income from institutional brokerage clients. To manage these subscriptions, Trade Ideas had used Infusionsoft's cart and processed transactions through Authorize.net.
We spoke with Skip Shean, TI Advisor and Marketing Consultant, who pointed out that Trade Ideas fundamentally suffered from three key issues in running their business:
- Revenue loss from ineffective payment collections: With their previous vendor, Infusionsoft, Trade Ideas realized they had an ‘alarming amount of missed opportunities on dunning’ due to either expired cards, or not acting on failed payments. This caused significant issues that several Customer Service staff members were spending nearly all of their time managing credit card data and dunning. Additionally, the data lock-in by InfusionSoft led to their inability to test subscription scenarios in alternative solutions, risking the future growth of their complete business.
- No Single Source of Truth = Partial picture with data discrepancies: One of the biggest issues for Trade Ideas was not getting a clear picture of the health of their business due to multiple sources of data — from an arbitrary Excel report to incomplete data from InfusionSoft. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that upgrades and downgrades in subscriptions would be calculated as cancellations and re-subscribes, which skewed their actual sales and ability to calculate valid recurring revenue metrics for the business.
- Productivity loss: Skip summarizes this issue as overheads from marketing and sales teams on identifying which data was accurate, when, in fact, neither of them were accurate. This doesn't even count the risks of “making a bad choice on what to do because of the bad data.” They found themselves worried about walking into projects with the wrong data 50% of the time.
According to Skip, the concerns about data accuracy cost them about 15-20 hours a month in productivity.
Trade Ideas decided that it was time they shopped for tools that specialized in revenue management. After evaluating Recurly, they found that the sales consultation was not proactive enough — Trade Ideas were looking for a solution and a team that actually understood their core problems and provided consultative support, rather than ask the client for the implementation roadmap. And that’s where they found a perfect fit with Chargebee.
According to Skip, “A big part of what got Chargebee the sale was the expertise in the sales team. They really knew what was going on and when we asked them questions, most of the time, they knew the answers immediately. Chargebee's implementation team was also always really rapid and on top of things. They did a great job of walking us through what the needs and the issues were. The other thing that really cemented it was the meeting between our technical teams pre-sale. Our developers felt very comfortable immediately with your technical support team, who were prepared with implementation roadmaps. We left thinking you guys are the experts.”
- 4X in Revenue Recovered for every dollar spent on Chargebee: Trade Ideas has been recovering $4 back in dunning, for every dollar they are spending on Chargebee which they were not getting with the prior vendor. Everything from payment retries to email sequences is automated, leading to increased productivity and revenue recovery. According to Skip, “it just drops straight to the bottom line of the company.”
- RevenueStory as the IMDB of data: The source of accurate data has been ‘transformational’ for the team at Trade Ideas. Skip articulates it better — “We decided to take off the blinders that we had been wearing while trying to make these decisions for years. With RevenueStory, having a clear picture of the data changes the way that we interact with it. I think it reduces conflicts... It's like before we had IMDb, we’d argue for a long time about who a certain actor was, what movies they had been in... And then you get IMDb and you have their entire filmography in your hand in 5 seconds. RevenueStory helps Trade Ideas understand what happened when in their business with no disputes due to data integrity or clutter."
- Money and effort saved in identifying a single source of accurate truth: Now that the team has access to real-time and accurate data, the team has saved hours in productivity. With reliable numbers on churn, it's helping them change their focus in the near-term, how they want to split their marketing activities towards new business acquisition and retention, and take actionable decisions towards those.
- Empowered to do the right thing for the customer: Trade Ideas is now able to do a much better job in enhancing their customer experience by allowing customers to upgrade, downgrade, or even cancel, allowing customers to flexibly manage their own subscriptions.