Billing & Monetization

What to Look For in a Recurring Billing Platform

August 03, 2022

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the phrase ‘recurring billing platform’? From a customer’s perspective – ease of payment is probably top of mind. However, if you’re a software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription-based business, ‘ease’ is probably the polar opposite of how you would describe recurring billing.

Chances are the process was relatively easy when you first started out. With just a handful of subscribers, spreadsheets and manual processes were probably all you needed. But as your business flourished and the number and types of pricing models offered increased, monetizing recurring billing became exponentially more complex.

If you’re like your counterparts, your goal is to increase year-over-year profitability. However, cumbersome spreadsheets, rigid billing systems, and increasing manual effort is probably holding you back from reaching your revenue targets. If you’re ready to say goodbye to spreadsheets, reduce manual effort, decrease errors, and minimize non-payments – let’s begin.

Eliminate Recurring Revenue Bottlenecks

While you probably have a good idea of the functionality needed, choosing the right recurring billing platform – one that meets your unique business requirements – isn’t easy. To help you on this journey, we’ve listed the top 10 capabilities needed. Be sure the recurring billing platform you select allows you to:

1) Modify pricing plans

Customer and market requirements are constantly changing, and to remain competitive you need the ability to quickly and seamlessly modify pricing and rating, as well develop and execute innovative pricing models.

2) Create and provide promotions, discounts, coupons, etc.

Acquiring customers many times takes a special offer, a package, or a bundle that piques interest. The same can be said for keeping customers engaged. The recurring billing platform needs the ability to easily incorporate and monitor special offers, as well as provide the ability for you to conduct A/B tests on your promotions, bundles, packages, etc.

3) Offer payment options

Customers don’t want to be locked in and nowhere is this more apparent than in payment options. By providing subscribers a variety of payment options, e.g. debit/credit cards, checks, mobile wallets, ACH payments, etc., you can enhance the overall customer experience. Not to mention, your ability to offer multiple payment options is good for business.

4) Ensure security

When customers pay by credit or with debit cards, you need to ensure their financial information is protected. This means having a recurring billing platform that provides PCI compliant payment gateways.

5) Automate dunning management

Revenue leakage, as well as poor customer experiences and involuntary churn often occur when tracking failed payments, managing payment re-attempts, and communicating with customers is done manually. By automating dunning processes, you can easily schedule tailored customer messages, create one or many dunning reminders that are executed based on predefined thresholds, and automatically manage late fees, account suspensions, and customer notifications.

6) Simplify revenue management

Adhering to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and/or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) can get complicated. To avoid accounting errors and costly penalties, ensure the recurring billing platform can define rules specific to your SaaS business, and make assignments in real-time as billing, payments, and credit events happen. This not only ensures compliance but helps speed the financial close process.

7) Comply with regulatory standards

Regulations don’t just vary between countries, they can fluctuate between states, e.g., the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). If you have a global presence such as operating within Europe, you’ll need to ensure compliance with their specific regulations like European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Be sure the recurring billing platform provides the functionality needed to comply with the area’s regulatory standards.

8) Expand internationally

To grow your business globally, the recurring billing platform needs to provide the ability to localize your solution(s) to meet region-specific requirements and the unique needs of international customers. Localization should include language, currency, number fields, tax providers, payment providers, etc.

9) Create a complete financial ecosystem

To automate and align your business processes the recurring billing platform needs to connect and seamlessly integrate with multiple external systems and applications. This includes service delivery, financial, customer relationship management (CRM), business process management (BPM), robotic process automation (RPA), enterprise resource planning (ERP), general ledger, tax solutions, and more.

10) Turn data into insights

Knowing the financial health of your SaaS business requires access to critical subscriber information such as customer lifetime value (CLV), churn, usage, acquisition costs, etc., as well as earned revenue, deferred revenue, monthly recurring revenue (MRR), annual recurring revenue (ARR), etc. Obtaining these insights requires a recurring billing platform that provides visibility into operational performance with customized reports, dashboards, and analytics.

With the above list in hand, you’re nearly ready to begin searching for a recurring billing platform that will meet the specific needs of your SaaS business, however, do you know what questions to ask of the vendors you are considering? If not, take a look at our 12 Factors for Choosing the Best Recurring Billing Software blog which provides key questions to ensure you’re getting the recurring billing platform that is best for your business.

Extract Real Value from Your Recurring Billing Platform

If you run a subscription-based business, you know that the only constant you can count on is change. Since the market is always in a state of flux, the products, features, services, pricing models, and promotions that drew customers to your company even just a year ago may not have the same positive effect they did then.

The right recurring billing platform delivers real value. From product inception through to revenue recognition, BillingPlatform’s cloud-based recurring billing platform provides the flexibility needed to react to market trends in real-time. The unmatched agility of our recurring billing platform provides the tools needed to solve today’s business problems and confidently face the uncertainties of tomorrow. With us as your partner, you get a single solution that maximizes efficiencies by automating business processes so you can improve billing cycle productivity, automate manual processes, reduce errors, and deliver the experiences customers expect. Take advantage of a free two-week trial to see BillingPlatform in action.

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