Subscription-based businesses are enjoying an unprecedented level of success. They have been successful because they can scale easily in response to changes in demand, and retain customers for long periods of time; thus supporting a relatively predictable stream of revenue. As the amount of customer data continues to increase and subscription services become more complex, accurate and reliable billing becomes increasingly difficult. SaaS businesses still largely rely on outdated billing systems that have been repackaged to fit their needs for the short term which limits their growth potential. These billing systems do not provide the flexibility that modern businesses selling subscription services need and leaves a lot to be desired.
In order to sustain business expansion, companies need to find an intuitive, flexible, and adaptable, billing system that caters to their business model. A cloud-based billing system eliminates the need for IT investments and enables a flexible pricing policy that can fit any business model and scale with the business.
An intelligent billing platform will help businesses take their revenue operations to the next level. Here are the top 5 must-have traits you should look for in an intelligent billing platform
Before you invest in a new billing system you should ensure that it meets all your billing needs and has the ability to handle usage data in real-time. An advanced billing software can process large volumes of data coming from multiple sources, normalize and reconcile the data, and create personalized pricing models. It should also have integrated mediation/data management capabilities which reduces the need to rely on third-party software.
As you start to scale and add new products and services to your business, can your billing system adapt? Can it support the growth of your business and the changing needs of your customers? A growing business requires a fully configurable billing system native to the cloud and an extensible data model. Look for an adaptable billing platform that integrates with the platforms and tools you need to operate seamlessly. A frictionless billing experience also enhances your customer experience, so choose a billing provider that has a customer portal where your customers can easily view and pay their invoices.
Some billing systems claim to be automated, even though they still use manual methods to process some aspects of billing. This is not desirable as a lot of usage-based services cannot be accurately billed with manual methods.
Automation eliminates manual billing errors and reduces the chances of revenue leakage, and it becomes especially important to automate when you start offering complex consumption-based pricing models where you have to keep track of usage data, special contracts, and other customer data. Many legacy billing systems in the market offer a basic level of automation, but when it comes to these sophisticated usage-based requirements like automating for usage time, customer lifecycle management, product add-ons, etc, these billing systems fall short.
Look for a billing provider that allows you to support your business process workflows that eliminate the need to host custom code to integrate with any system.
Another important feature to look for is automated notifications. Revenue leaks can be managed if your billing system alerts you of missed payments, credit card expiration, or reminders that usage allocation thresholds have been met. A modern billing solution like LogiSense can easily automate all of these transactions and more.
Most billing solutions are often built off the shelf, so there are plenty of features that are available out of the box which may be fine if you do not handle complex billing processes. However, if you need to customize a specific functionality that isn't already in the tool, you either have to write new code or integrate with third-party software. Outdated billing systems are also unable to handle complex usage pricing models with multiple product offerings.
We have lost count of the number of times we heard our customers complain that they were promised a no-code configurable solution by other vendors, only to wait for months before the actual implementation started, as they were ill-equipped to manage complex usage billing.
In today's business landscape, time is money, and you need to capitalize on opportunities before your competitors do. So if you come up with a competitive pricing strategy or want to introduce changes to your product catalog, and your billing solution is unable to accommodate these changes in time, you will likely lose the competitive advantage over your competitors. Your ideal billing solution should be agile and swiftly make changes as you need them.
You generate a significant amount of data, but if you are not analyzing the data you may be leaving possible revenue on the table. It is critical to have complete visibility over customer behavior and understand key performance metrics like churn and customer retention rates to understand why they occur and also predict future trends. A good understanding of the trends may also help the sales team to create cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
However, the usage data collected from connected products are often unstructured and therefore conventional approaches to data aggregation and analysis, like spreadsheets and database tables, aren’t suitable for managing a wide variety of data formats.
An intelligent billing platform like LogiSense addresses these issues through multiple mechanisms including a powerful and flexible reporting framework. LogiSense’s framework has the ability to report on customer activity over the course of the relationship. These include the products they have purchased, usage history, and other relevant information.
A billing platform processes and stores sensitive data, so it should ensure that it is secure and that there are applicable levels of governance in place to protect the data. An intelligent billing system should be able to adapt to ever-changing compliance requirements and the functionality needed to protect data. It should abide by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) compliance requirements.
Data breaches have become common in today's business world. If you don't have sufficient security protocols in place, your business will suffer when confidential customer information is stolen, and you'll also have to pay hefty fines. Ensure that your billing service provider complies with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standard for credit card payment processing.
Look for a billing provider that can ensure strict role-based policies are employed for your billing system so that only authorized users can access sensitive customer data and logs. In addition to this, make sure that applicable governance and privacy regulatory requirements such as GDPR are met.
Billing solutions in the market may appear similar but it is important to choose a robust billing solution that supports a recurring revenue model, enhances your customer’s experience, and helps empower your growth. The right billing provider will eliminate revenue leakages and drive more recurring revenue and reduce costs. Your chosen billing solution should not only meet your current needs but also be able to quickly adapt as you scale.
Contact our team at LogiSense if you want to take your revenue potential to the next level by adopting an agile usage-based billing partner.
Chris has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry dealing with Fortune 2000 enterprises and service providers globally. As VP of Innovation Chris interacts in the market and internally providing: technical leadership and vision, mentorship, and creative problem-solving.