5 Signs Your SaaS Billing System is Slowing Down Your Speed to Market

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Speed to market matters. To be competitive, your SaaS business needs to be able to bring its new products and features to market quickly, bundle your offerings in creative ways, and test and adjust pricing as needed.

After all, you can bet your competitors are doing the same—and owning market share is often a matter of who crosses the finish line first.

Market research, a development roadmap, and piloting the product are a few crucial first steps when it comes to creating something new for your customers. But once that product itself is ready to roll, you also need to be able to offer it in conjunction with your other products and features, apply the right pricing, and of course, bill for it.

However, if your SaaS business’s billing solution doesn’t offer you the catalog flexibility and ease-of-use to do all this quickly and efficiently, you’re going to fall behind.

Here are five signs your SaaS billing system is hindering your speed to market.

1. You need a team of developers to add a new product to your catalog

Before you can launch new products, you’ll need to add them to your billing system’s catalog of offerings.

But if the products in your system are hard-coded into its catalog, you may need to rope in a developer or two to:

  • take apart your billing system’s code
  • program in the new product, and
  • make sure the new product works smoothly with your system’s moving parts just so you can start billing for it.

Depending on the complexity of the programming required, achieving what should be a quick and simple outcome could end up taking countless work hours. And depending on your developers’ salaries, it could also cost your business a significant amount of money.

But more concerning for your go-to-market potential, your product launches could be pushed back now that you’ve diverted your developers away from their main task of enhancing your business’s own solution to fiddle with your billing system.

2. You’re having trouble creating plans and bundles that meet customer demands

The demands of customers are continually changing. If you want to capture (and keep) their business, then you’ll need to be able to offer them exactly what they want, and at the right price.

This can involve making tweaks and adjustments to pricing, plans, and product bundles at the customer level.

However, if your billing system lacks the flexibility to make customizations, you may need to create an entirely new plan for each customer with needs that don't fall within your “standard” offering.

This can be a painfully time-consuming process to complete, especially if you have hundreds or even thousands of customers. It can also clutter up your catalog and make your billing even more of a challenge.

The slow process of getting your billing system up to speed with your latest plans and bundles just delays your time to market.

And by the time you’re ready to launch, your customers—both potential and existing—may have already taken their business elsewhere.

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3. It’s impossible to simultaneously test multiple pricing strategies

Regular testing of new SaaS price strategies is key to ensuring revenue growth over time. When done right, it can lead to as high as a 4–5X increase in average revenue per customer.

To find your pricing sweet spot, you may want to set different prices for the same products and plans and run them simultaneously. But trouble will arise if your billing system just can’t handle this.

If you’re using a legacy billing system, prices may be set at the product level. This means that once you’ve fixed a price for a particular product, you can’t change it for different customer segments.

The result? You’ll need to charge all your customers the same amount for that product, which means having to test your pricing strategies one at a time.

Not only could the resulting price fluctuations confuse customers, but your pricing experiment could also stretch out for months—when it could have been completed in just a few weeks.

And while you were taking your time playing with pricing, your competitors may have already nailed their perfect SaaS pricing strategy and implemented it.

4. Iterating on your pricing strategy is a cumbersome process

You’ve managed to figure out the ideal prices to charge for your plans. When it’s time to execute that new price strategy, you may need to:

  • bulk-update your prices for all new incoming subscribers, while
  • not changing prices for any grandfathered subscribers, or for subscribers that have locked in a custom price for the duration of their contract.

Such price changes need to happen almost instantaneously, too.

But if your billing system requires you to manually update your prices and products across your customer base, then forget real-time price changes—they’re going to take a ton of time.

As a result, maybe you’ll decide not to bother with the hassle, and be part of the group of SaaS businesses that lets their prices stagnate for more than a year. Which, according to a recent study by Openview Partners, makes up about 23% of SaaS businesses.

In other words, while you sit on your hands, you’re letting about 77% of other SaaS businesses—which could very well include your competitors—work on maximizing their revenue, unchallenged. How comfortable are you with that?

5. Your finance team is struggling to keep up with pricing changes

So far, we’ve covered some challenges of working with a legacy billing system as you prepare to introduce new products and prices to the market.

Well, guess who’s in charge of actually working with your billing system?

Your finance team.

You may not know it, but your finance team members could be struggling to cope as they update the prices of various products and plans across customers, one by one. They may also need to manually feed these changes into their accounting system to keep your business’s bookkeeping and revenue forecasting up to date.

With such a labor-intensive process, your finance team has to spend a significant amount of time completing menial tasks to prepare the system for accurate billing and reporting before you can take your product to market.

Your go-to-market speed takes a hit accordingly—which is a pity knowing that such tasks can easily be automated with the right software.

Enhance your go-to-market potential with a digitally transformed SaaS billing system

Being first to market involves streamlining all possible processes to reduce any drag on your attempts to develop, release, and charge for products ASAP.

And if you find your SaaS billing system isn’t enabling you to do this easily, then it may be time for an upgrade.

Modern SaaS billing systems are designed with superior catalog flexibility, where products can be customized and bundled into plans tailored to your customers’ needs. The prices of these products can then be easily overridden for specific customers without affecting the default plan price.

Any pricing changes can also be done in just a few clicks, making price testing and iteration quick and effortless—and certainly without the need for any coding or programming knowledge.

What’s more, pricing updates can be seamlessly integrated with your business’s accounting system for real-time revenue recognition and accurate insights into your business’s financial health and future.

As you and your teams race to plan, build, and prepare new products and features for launch, don’t let your speed to market be upset by an inefficient, manual billing system.

By investing in a digitally transformed SaaS billing system, you’ll optimize your business’s financial processes and workflows so you can rapidly bring new offerings to market and stay ahead of the competition.

Tags: Subscription Billing SaaS Strategy SaaS Billing

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