What to Ask Before Choosing a Subscription Billing Platform

by Chargify

Picking a new subscription billing platform can be daunting, whether you’re switching vendors or swapping out your homegrown billing ecosystem. The bidding process is a lot of work and, let’s face it, the industry is bloated with providers that take a peanut butter approach to serving the market. Where to begin?

As the Global Vice President of Sales at Chargify, I’m privileged to serve a diverse group of talented Sales Development Reps, Account Executives, and Sales Engineers with one shared purpose: helping companies find the solution to their unique billing pain. Last year, I published a blog on Keen.io to help prospective customers start that search. Now that you and your team have spent countless hours on discovery calls, demos, and technical working sessions, I’m back to help you with the next step.

Here’s what you should be asking in order to find the perfect billing partner for your business.

Your Subscription Billing Use Case, Proven and Future-Proof

Let’s face it, in the world of sales, the prospect’s best interests aren’t always a sales team’s top priority. The drive to sell often overcomes the drive to build lasting solutions and partnerships between vendors and customers. It's obvious why that is a terrible strategy and why this “sell at all cost” mentality translates to short term gain and long term pain for both the customer and the company.

That’s why my team's top priority is always finding the best long term solution for the prospect, period. So, if you choose vendor X or Y over us because of a technical requirement we don’t support, that’s great. We want you to run your business effectively, and we’ll do the same.

However, one thing I regularly see in our competitive sales cycles is customers who are blind-sided by the “pizazz” that other vendors can talk up. Competitors are quick to brag about what their subscription billing platform does, but they say very little about how they can (or can’t) serve the customer’s actual use cases.

The “catch all” approach to serving the market could work to your disadvantage. Vendors may sport flashy bells and whistles, but what is the trade off between flash and functionality? How will that impact your business moving forward?

To find out, ask the following:

  • Can you demonstrate my actual use case in your platform? Even my edge cases?
  • What features are on your roadmap that my company should be excited about?
  • What verticals or business models do you cater to?

This will help you determine if:

  • Your prospective subscription billing partner can meet your current technical requirements.
  • Your business needs will continue to be met as you scale your business.
  • They’re invested in building their product with your type of business model/vertical in mind.

Support Before, During, and After Implementation

Implementing a new billing system is kind of like having open heart surgery while running a marathon. It’s a heavy lift that will disrupt your team and your business for a time, but it’s still worth it for the long-term health of your company.

So whether it’s your first time working with a partner, or you’re making a much-needed switch, expect some work ahead. Not only are you scoping the market, narrowing down your list, and choosing a partner, you’ll also be instituting a new back-end billing process and communicating those changes to your staff and potentially your customers. That’s not even including the implementation of the software itself.

That’s why you need a billing partner who’s prepared to put in just as much effort (if not more) to make your onboarding as fast and smooth as possible.

To find out what you’re in for, ask these questions:

  • What type of support do you provide during the sales cycle up until onboarding?
  • What support is involved in the onboarding process? (If there are distinct types of support, ask them to define each one in detail to determine if you’re getting the type of support you need.)
  • How often do you expect our team to reach out to your support team once we are implemented?

This will help you understand:

  • The dedicated resources required on your end (from your development team to the staff members using your billing ecosystem).
  • The level of success your subscription billing provider expects from the solution they’re helping you implement. (You can easily tell which ones truly care about your success and which just want to sign new business to look good for investors).
  • How they define their support levels and whether you’ll get a good return on investment.

Beyond a subscription billing platform, what can you offer me?

We understand that the competition in the SaaS market is fierce and what sets any organization apart is pricing. As a SaaS billing model, you have limitless options on how you want to price and package your cloud offerings. Nailing down the best strategy for your business isn’t easy. But a good billing partner will help you with that.

You should be able to look to your next billing provider for more than just a new platform. They should provide guidance, best practices, and education on how your SaaS organization can leverage your pricing strategy for growth. And, obviously, the billing platform itself should be robust enough to accommodate your wildest pricing strategy ideas.

If you really want to get the most from your new subscription billing partnership, look for someone who’s willing to band together to create a partnership beyond the product being provided.

To find the best partner for you, ask:

  • What kind of support can you offer to boost my billing and pricing strategy?
  • Will my team be able to participate in any future beta testing of your product?
  • Will my team have 1:1 access to your product team to provide feedback on what features we need to meet new edge cases?
  • Do you offer any marketing initiatives for new and existing customers?

This will help you learn:

  • Their expertise in leveraging pricing as a business advantage (and their interest in helping you do it).
  • Their willingness to obtain feedback from their customer base to improve their product and services.
  • Whether your organizations can partner together beyond simply being a good technical fit. (I.e. participating in marketing initiatives that will increase your own brand awareness)

Choosing your next subscription billing partner shouldn’t be a nightmare. At Chargify, we take a systematic approach to sales. Our entire sales organization, from the Sales Development Reps to Account Executives to our Sales Engineers, invest their time understanding what your business needs from your next billing ecosystem. We care about your success beyond the bare minimum. Not only will we replace your existing billing platform with one built for the needs of your organization, we’ll also partner with you via expert guidance and inclusion in marketing programs, beta testing, and customer advisory forums.

See the difference in our sales cycle is by reaching out to our sales team today.

Written by Mike Martinez, Global Vice President of Sales at Chargify
When not on endless Zoom calls or supporting Chargify’s impressive sales force, Mike is usually out in a football field coaching his 3 boys. He has served in multiple roles within B2B SaaS sales for almost 15 years now, and can’t be more pleased with the wild ride it’s been.

Turn Business Blockers Into Business Accelerators

Revenue management for SaaS allows businesses to respond quicker to market needs, build long-lasting relationships and derive meanigful insights from the noise.