When people think of Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, they often think of the tools and benefits that that system offers, from ease of use to data security. And while the ‘set it and forget it’ convenience is one of the most attractive features with automated billing, there is some preparation necessary before enjoying the benefits of financial technology.
A streamlined automated billing process also enhances the customer experience, thereby reducing churn and lost revenue.
All of this serves as the ignition for rapid business growth.
Migrating to an automated platform to support growth is an exciting time indeed. As a Senior Implementation Manager with Fusebill, I’ve collected some suggestions that businesses can keep in mind to make the transition even smoother.
1. Get your team in alignment
Often, when businesses start to work with us, there are a number of different professionals involved. It’s understandable. It’s a whole new world to many companies, and people want to learn more about the system as soon as possible to speed up the transition. Implementing a recurring billing system is a critical step that can impact the health of that company.
The problem is, the more people are involved in the onboarding process, means that more opinions will likely be injected. When a decision needs to be made, who is in charge of making those decisions?
I call it ‘implementation by committee’ and it can slow down the process. Think about the last pizza party in your office. What are the chances that 10 pizzas ordered—or even 3 pizzas—had the exact same toppings? Everyone has their own preferences and opinions, and people aren’t afraid to voice those opinions. Now, imagine those same people are making decisions in the onboarding process.
We need to make the decision makers aligned to keep the process moving forward efficiently.
In this situation, it’s relatively simple to get everyone working toward the same goal. We can break all the decision makers into different working groups and then delegate a project manager to be the voice of the team. That would the person who works directly with Fusebill in any meetings. Also, we recommend that people document the process, recording any questions and solutions.
2. Understand what you sell
This may sound a little too basic, but it really is not as simple as one might think. A business might come to the table thinking that they have two basic products. But when the implementation team starts to look into it, there are often more than two products because their customers have the ability to flavor this up, or flavor that up.
When the Fusebill team starts to take a deeper dive and begins learning all the iterations of what is available to a customer, the catalog of goods or services might go from pretty simple to more complex.
It’s not a bad thing, though, and our team is extraordinary at helping businesses break all the products and/or services into simplified items. We architect a solution that is easy to understand and meaningful to your business, your accountants and your customers.
3. Your data might need a good scrubbing
This one often catches onboarding businesses off guard. Many times, we work with people who come to the table with a set of data that they feel is ready to be loaded into the system; however, some more homework is needed first.
What do I mean by this? Well, data doesn’t always get updated in a timely fashion. A subscription may have been taken out by someone in a company that is no longer in that position, or has left the company altogether. Suddenly, that contact name changes. Unless it’s expressly communicated to direct all correspondence to the new contact, the old contact will likely be left in the database instead of removed.
So, with a list of 100 customers, there can be 2 or 3 or even more contact names. And if a business doesn’t know who the best contact is in that company, a billing platform isn’t going to know either.
Equally critical is to make sure that email addresses are updated, which goes hand in hand with having the right contact name.
Another example of data confusion is when there are multiple addresses. Even though the billing platform can be entirely paperless, it is critical to make sure the contact information is updated for tax purposes.
In fact, it’s a good idea to make a ‘data readiness’ checklist to help shed light on some potential issues, such as:
- Do you have the most up-to-date contact information for your customers?
- Do you know what day all of your customers are billed on?
- Do you know who has special terms/payment arrangements?
- Do you know what method of payment each customer is currently using?
- Do you know what each customer has currently subscribed to, including the quantity of each product they have and any special pricing that they agreed to?
If the answer to all of these questions is ‘yes’ and you are able to access the data, your data is in good shape!
We find that once businesses really get into the data-scrubbing process, they’re amazed at how much excess information they had in their data. And once the data is clean enough for the import process, it is easy to get to ‘go live’ status.
4. Plan to set aside a few hours during the first few weeks as part of the transition process
Between streamlining a business’s catalog and cleaning the data before import, this preparation assures that the information loads correctly.
Although there is this step in place to prepare for integration with the Fusebill system, our team is in place to help guide you through the process.
To have a smooth-running billing system, the back-end work needs to be done first. Yes, it can take some time, but the preparation is well worth it in the long run.
When we have that kick off call with a business, one of the first things I ask them is: Do you have 5 to 10 hours a week to devote to the project? The more time a business can devote to working on the back-end, the quicker we can all move forward.
5. Focus on the value of billing automation to your business growth
When a business realizes exactly why they need to work on their data before it is imported, it’s exciting to watch the process and realize how quickly and much value they will realize with automated billing.
Not only are the bottlenecks of a manual billing system eliminated, but billing and invoicing automation saves considerable time and money. Based on our analysis, automated credit card retries and card expiry reminders alone can recover more than 7% in revenue leakage within the initial months of implementation.
We absolutely do want the businesses that work with us to succeed in a big way by reducing churn and resolving billing bottlenecks. We are here to help you.
Change happens every day, and it is why businesses come to Fusebill in the first place: It’s all about managing invoicing and billing more efficiently to really grow a business.
Every time I work with a new business, whether it’s in the SaaS environment, a telematics business or a healthcare-centered organization, I learn something new, and that keeps me on my toes day in and day out. But there is one thing that stays the same: Communication is the fundamental key to any successful relationship.
We are here to help our customers successfully onboard and when that cowbell goes off in the office, signaling a business just successfully went live, it is an amazing feeling.