Engineering Subscription Billing Success in Businesses with Complex Catalogs

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Every day that Donna McPhee works in solving subscription management and recurring billing issues is different from the other. There are new challenges and new opportunities around every corner. Thriving on those different days, the Senior Sales Engineer at Fusebill approaches every challenge from a fresh perspective.

Prior to coming to Fusebill, Donna did a lot of work with the enhanced messaging arena, later moving into a pre sales position with Protus. After the company was sold, she started working for Phreesia, a company dedicated to streamlining the medical patient intake process.

Then, one of her former coworkers from Protus called. He was working at Fusebill at the time and suggested she look at a position with this growing company.

Donna-McPhee-Sales-Engineer-Subscription-Growth-ExpertDonna has been with Fusebill since 2012, first coming on board as one of the implementation experts before she transitioned into the sales department. With her extensive background, both with technical issues and problem solving, Donna’s sales engineering aptitude makes her a natural go-to person when there are advanced questions with potential customers.


A ‘deeper dive’ into the recurring billing and complex catalog world

The Fusebill billing expert is the main contact for any potential customer, she explained. “They bring me in when I need to do the nitty-gritty information.” Her level of interaction is at the discretion of the billing expert — some tap into her expertise on various levels of a sales call; others reach out to her only when they need a subject matter expert or have a more technical question.

Not only does she love talking to customers directly, but she also thrives on doing customized trials for those customers. A lot of times, Donna will be called upon to work through a complex catalog that may need to be modified to fit into Fusebill’s platform. “I’m pretty good at figuring out how to make things work. It may not be a perfect fit, but I have ideas how to make things work.”

The Fusebill subscription management and recurring billing platform was originally tailored to SAAS-based companies, but the success of this approach has been so successful, it has increasingly attracted non-SAAS companies, which could be anything from a monthly snack subscription like Graze to a cable bill. Many times, a typical customer comes to the table with a complex catalog outlining their product or services. Often, these catalogs need to be modified in order to provide a smooth transition to the recurring billing system.

“Their catalog is the all-important item,” Donna said. If the catalog is not configured the right way, she added, it becomes a major roadblock moving forward because the information necessary to streamline billing and invoicing can’t be integrated properly.

In other words, a complex catalog is not easy to fit. There may be too many products, or too many rules around those products such as, “If you buy X, you get Y for free.”

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Let’s start from the beginning – what is in the catalog that makes it so complex?

She has two very important first questions that she asks any given customer:

  1. “Can you send me a list of what you sell today?”
  2. “How do you bundle or package things?”

With those answers in hand, it’s easier to start working on adapting their information to the recurring billing system. However, it’s not just about compatibility with the Fusebill system. “We’re helping customers realize they need to change the way they’re charging their customers. It’s better for them because it makes billing so much easier and subsequent growth possible.”

In showing those customers best practices, it enhances the customer/Fusebill relationship. “Their success is our success,” she said.

When she is doing what she calls a “deep dive”, she demonstrates different pricing and setups so the customer can determine which options they would like to select.

Integrating with CRMs, accounting and other technology stacks

Donna also actively participates in Fusebill integrations, such as how the system works with other platforms such as Salesforce or QuickBooks. While working on this process, she helps them understand the standard workflow of their integration. And if their process doesn’t match the Fusebill process? Donna is on hand to offer different options or work arounds.

For example, she might be working with a prospective customer who also uses Salesforce. Until the financing team ensures the pricing is right, that customer will not want their salespeople to activate the “Opportunity” status. In order to best address this, Donna explains, “I would work with their internal Salesforce resource to demonstrate the options, such as putting the activation button only on certain Salesforce role types.”

One customer, she said, came to Fusebill after using several different platforms. “We integrated with their Salesforce information, and it really helped them improve their efficiencies.”

In fact, by becoming more efficient, that company has been able to grow their client base seamlessly from an estimated 400 customers at the beginning to well over 3,000 customers.

Integrating customer information with Fusebill’s API

Donna’s ‘outside the box’ perspective also comes into play when she is demonstrating workflows, and how a customer’s information would best fit with Fusebill’s API, or Application Programming Interface. “I can walk them through our API and show them what they need to do to integrate with us,” she said.

As she explained, many customers want to simply push their information over to Fusebill. That data may be setting up or modifying customers or pushing usage data for billing. Conversely, a customer may be looking for the data from Fusebill to push to other systems.

When this situation arises, she said, her strategy is to “create workflow diagrams and high-level API call flows for the customers, showing options on how they can get the data into Fusebill or pull the data from Fusebill to push to another system.”

In other words, “I show them what they need to do, versus what they need Fusebill to do.”

Best practices with customer subscription management processes

Another workflow process Donna excels at is when she is called on to help with a customer’s processes, and how they can be better streamlined to fit with the recurring billing approach. “I can help guide them to better ways of doing things that are more in the style of the SaaS model.”

While working with customers, not only does Donna take the time to demo options via Fusebill to help customers streamline their processes, but she also “outlines their options for getting customers into the system, whether it be Fusebill functionality via our Reg Pages or Self Service Portal or some other external input method.”

Once Donna has set up a workflow for the customer, she turns them loose to start playing with it.

The bottom line, she explained, is that the potential customer is confident that Fusebill is a good fit for them, and vice versa.

Beyond making the sale - Igniting Growth

Is the time she puts into delving so deeply into helping someone before they are a customer? Absolutely, she said.

“We want to know that Fusebill is a good fit for them. We want every customer to be able to use Fusebill effectively, be happy, and be able to grow while doing so.”

In turn, Fusebill learns a lot from their customers, which helps continuously push Fusebill to provide enhanced services. For example, Donna highlighted a landscaping customer she initially helped to onboard many years ago. The customer, a heavy API user, has made many suggestions over the years to help improve how Fusebill works, particularly around the API functionality. Many of those suggestions were ones that have been implemented. That landscaping customer has grown from 150 customers to more than 2,000.

So, she explained, when they say, “I wish your software did this or that… we really listen.”

Donna-McPhee---Sales-Engineer---Subscription-Growth-Exper1tDonna with the latest addition to her family, her granddaughter Britton.

Tags: Subscription Billing Fusebill Subscription Management Fusebill Culture

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