The Subscription Business Model for Enterprises
The subscription economy is booming, growing more than 100% a year since 2014, according to McKinsey and Company. It’s estimated that 15% of online shoppers receive at least one recurring product through a subscription.
Indeed, these are great days for the subscription business model, and, in many ways, this movement is just getting started. The subscription economy is expanding to encapsulate advertising, energy, professional services, real estate, e-commerce, and other industries.
However, the transition from a product to a subscription economy has brought about new challenges for enterprises in virtually every industry. One of the most obvious pain points is billing. Enterprises have found that legacy billing solutions can no longer deliver what they need, and increasingly, they are moving to subscription billing software that:
- Meets the unique billing needs of a large customer base
- Stays ahead in a competitive market
- Guarantees customer satisfaction
In the subscription era, enterprises require a billing solution tailored to their needs. Following are six key features enterprises should look for when considering a subscription billing solution.
#1 Easy onboarding process and ongoing support
Transitioning to a subscription-friendly billing software is a significant step for any business, and everyone’s experience is different. Therefore, choose a billing software that addresses your particular needs.
For instance, if you’re planning on managing your software on site, choose a company that addresses those concerns, and if you’re using a hosted platform, ensure that your software solution can support that initiative, including ongoing technical assistance.
From the trial period to future transitions, choose a software company that offers high-quality support services throughout the service’s lifecycle and beyond.
The subscription billing economy is broad and diverse, and few companies share exactly the same needs. Choose a billing software that is both ready-to-go out of the box but that can also be customized with an extensibility and integrations framework and API accessibility. In addition, your billing solution should be compatible with your industry’s leading payment partners.
Adopting a new billing software should be a simple and intuitive process that makes things run more efficiently while opening up new business opportunities.
By prioritizing customization, you ensure that the software adoption process is simple, so employees can focus on their jobs, not the company’s next software initiative.
#3 Sales and order management
Today’s billing software requires more than just invoicing capabilities. It should be a holistic enterprise that streamlines workflows with features like integrated sales quoting that encompasses everything from approvals, electronic customer signatures, and quote duplication.
At the same time, fully integrated billing software can manage lead and opportunity tracking, helping boost conversion rates to propel the business forward.
With things like customizable workflow tools that support the entire order process, a comprehensive billing solution can support the entire sales process, from signed quote to account setup, provisioning, billing, and more. Reporting features can even make it easy for different divisions to conduct quarterly and annual audits, so your business is always operating with a reflective, data-driven mentality.
#4 Turn-key usage billing
A digital ecosystem should equip companies to streamline activities for the front end and back end.
For the front end, companies should be able to sell more than just tangible products. For example, in the digital age, many service providers are selling services such as:
- Cloud resources
- Virtualization resources
- Backup data
Turn-key usage billing for these types of services allows for real-time usage and reporting capabilities that enable enterprises to cater to diverse, unique, and often complex customer needs.
In the back end, subscription billing could include infrastructure management, which is a growing need in the cloud industry, for example.
When necessary, choose a billing software that encapsulates infrastructure responsibilities into a single platform that makes it easy to facilitate devices through monitoring, support, metrics, and IP management.
For many businesses, accurately capitalizing on these services is a prime way to boost revenue, and the right billing solution should support these initiatives.
#5 Automated billing
Automation is the key to efficiency, and it should be a priority when choosing a subscription-friendly billing solution. For instance, a software that automatically initiates recurring invoices and payments simplifies the company’s workflows while increasing productivity and lowering overall costs.
#6 Infrastructure management
In some instances, subscription billing includes infrastructure management, a growing need in the cloud industry.
When necessary, choose a billing software that encapsulates these responsibilities into a single platform that makes it easy to facilitate devices through monitoring, support, metrics, and IP management.
#7 Help desk ticketing and client portal
Empowering customers to solve problems and to manage subscriptions is a differentiating factor when deciding on a billing software, and help desk ticketing propelled through a client portal is a natural next step for subscription billing services. Features like automated ticket escalation and resolution ensure that customers are never waiting for problems to be solved. Moreover, client portals can equip users to manage their own subscriptions, building accuracy, and efficiency right into the experience.
In the competitive subscription economy, enterprises need a flexible billing solution that allows them to track revenue, provide superior customer service, and meet the unique billing needs of a diverse client base. The right billing software will make the subscription economy work more efficiently, enabling enterprises offering those services to be more competent and scalable in the process.