Has Your Team Become the Walking Dead of SaaS Recurring Billing Process?

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It’s an ongoing tale of survival and horror.

The large cast of fluctuating characters in The Walking Dead—fluctuating because the show is known for sending even fan faves to a gory, gruesome end—is faced with the often unachievable task of overcoming zombies as well as human enemies in a post-apocalyptic backdrop.

Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of Negans in the world of SaaS. You know, brash and deranged overlords hellbent on oppressing and receiving tribute from the masses. And yet, businesses that are still stuck in the drudgery of manual tasks do seem to have some zombies plodding around—along with a few other similarities to the television series.

Some SaaS sales and finance team members shuffle through their days at a zombie’s pace, just waiting for their antiquated infrastructure to develop rigor mortis and formally be put to rest.

Has your team become the walking dead… just busy doing “stuff… and things”? If so, it’s time for a fix.

Surviving without thriving: a SaaS quote-to-cash barrier to growth

The first several seasons of The Walking Dead sees the cast focused almost exclusively on survival. From the moment Rick wakes up from his coma, survival is the sole aim of almost every scene. In the early episodes, the series’ long-suffering characters have no opportunity to improve their lives.

Such can be the case in the world of SaaS. When your team is stuck in the legacy-process-induced state of zombiedom, it can be very difficult to pivot to address new objectives, or even to work toward growth of any kind.

Tired employees drift around the office shuffling paper, trying to somehow hasten the quote-to-cash process, ambling from department to department like the walking dead. It’s like a horrific scene, and it’s still the reality for far too many businesses that try to manage without efficient subscription management and billing software support.

Manual billing management is so labor-intensive and time-consuming that it is almost literally impossible to take on new business without first taking on more staff—a necessity that can neutralize the possibility of profit growth.

And if your billing is manual, chances are your product catalog is pretty inflexible as well. This makes it challenging to migrate customers to new plans when desired. It also creates complexity when your business wants to innovate and iterate on products and plans, which ultimately means delaying many a go-to-market strategy.

It’s only after Rick and his friends find their way to the abandoned prison in season three that things begin to look up. There, with the benefit of a fence for protection, occasional electricity, and a little bit of food security, the characters can live (somewhat) normal lives and work toward something greater.

Of course, fans of The Walking Dead are well aware the prison ceases to be an option for the show’s protagonists eventually.

Fortunately, in the real world, there are no Governors out there to knock your SaaS and finance team back into the land of the walking dead once they receive the benefits of an adaptive billing platform.

For example, here are a couple of businesses that made the transition and continue to see the benefits.

  • Billing automation enabled the EnVue Telematics team to streamline its entire billing process for greater accuracy, efficiency, and data transparency. They also reduced their billing process by about 60% and are recovering additional revenue on a recurring basis.
  • The team at CloudPlus was equipped with advanced dunning capabilities for better revenue recovery, a 95% gain in billing efficiency, and enhanced scalability and global growth potential, all thanks to billing automation.

Putting this digital transformation in place around the payments, receivables, collections, and subscription management process can be a catalyst for innumerable business gains. The benefits range from improved billing accuracy and automation to entirely optimized and streamlined revenue operations, including reduced customer churn and better customer satisfaction.

Find out your ROI on Recurring Billing in minutes!

But let’s get back to the walkers…

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Determination without thought: get the recurring billing data you need to succeed

By season 5 of The Walking Dead, zombies largely cease to be a problem. The characters who have been fortunate enough to survive to this point have been around long enough to understand that the zombies—though formidable in their own way—are also very predictable.

Without question, the zombies have an abundance of determination, but because they can’t adequately process information, they don’t pose as much of a threat to Rick and his apocalypse-hardened friends by the middle of the show.

With legacy and manual billing, your finance team members find themselves in a similar position to that of The Walking Dead’s poor and unfortunate zombies. Though undoubtedly determined and highly competent at their jobs, they lack the key insights that an adaptive billing platform can provide. They also lack that leg up on the competition.

In addition to automating and streamlining many billing and collections processes, the right adaptive billing platform also provides key data insights into many aspects of your business.

From broad information on recurring revenue to detailed accounts on the performance of single products, plan families, and customer cohorts, adaptive billing platforms supply transparent data that can serve as a reliable foundation for forecasting and making important growth-focused decisions.

The data and reporting capabilities of an adaptive billing solution provide further benefit in terms of accurate revenue recognition and accounting compliance. Keeping track of deferred and earned SaaS revenue manually is practically impossible. Adaptive billing software automates the process.

Businesses without the right tools are a little like the ever-present bifurcated Walking Dead zombies, crawling aimlessly towards a target they will never quite reach. To get their fix of human flesh, zombies could really use healthy legs and active minds. To close sales and save time and money, SaaS teams need a reliable automated billing platform.

At the end of the day, information is power, and thoughtfulness, foresight, and data assurance create the foundation for scale.

Integration is everything: upgrade your SaaS fintech, upgrade your entire operation

A pivotal development in The Walking Dead occurs as Rick and the other survivors begin learning how to collaborate. Though cooperation had been a key element of survival within the group until this point, roughly around season 6, the crew begins to learn how to work together with survivors from other regions of the post-apocalyptic landscape.

The development is born mostly out of necessity. The nefarious Negan and his army of “Saviors”—a self-appointed name, to be sure—have secured their own comfort by exploiting the resources of communities surrounding them.

Though Negan is unquestionably menacing, Rick discovers that by networking with the other communities he can defeat the Saviors… just watch the show, already!

With manual billing processes, your finance team is isolated from the rest of your company in much the same way that Rick and his friends are distanced from other survivors. And while people in accounting are stranded somewhere in a web of spreadsheets rather than in post-apocalyptic isolation, the end result is arguably comparable: they’re left unable to integrate and struggle to contribute meaningfully to the greater good.

When every department within a SaaS business is its own island, streamlining and creating holistic business processes becomes harder than pronouncing the name “Carl”.

For staff, this means extra effort, duplicate data sources, and more opportunities for error. And for customers, this means frustration due to billing errors or the length of time it takes for their needs to be met—for example, upgrading or downgrading their subscriptions.

While some customers will churn out intentionally because of their experience with your business begins to suffer, others may unintentionally churn simply because of expired payment methods and a lack of manual follow-up by your over-burdened finance team.

Departmental silos can also drive internal issues, such as tension between various branches of your business, which at its worst will hinder growth. Kind of like the way that tension between Rick and Shane, or Rick and Daryl, or Rick and Negan causes problems for all the survivors.

The point? Silos stall progress while a digitally transformed organization leverages it.

A digital transformation to adaptive recurring billing software can go a long way toward alleviating more than a few zombie process problems.

In freeing up your finance department and integrating software solutions and efforts with the rest of your organization, you supply your entire team with a reliable source of real-time data, and broader company cohesion becomes possible.

If only the characters of The Walking Dead had such an easy solution at their fingertips!

The result? Increased agility, better customer service, and the general ability to efficiently handle the zombie apocaly…. er, growth and other business variables.

No one wants to be the zombies in the world of SaaS

In the world of The Walking Dead, there are only two categories of existence: either you’re a survivor or a zombie. Spoiler alert, no one wants to be a zombie.

The choice between manual and integrating an adaptive billing solution is a little like choosing between being Rick or the poor and unfortunate walking dead.

An adaptive billing platform streamlines and optimizes recurring billing processes while equipping your business with valuable data and agility that can serve as the foundation for efficiency, competitive advantage, and growth.

Manual billing, on the other hand, accomplishes little more than leaving your finance department feeling zombie-ish and your SaaS business to slowly rot under its competition.

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Tags: SaaS Subscription Billing Recurring Billing SaaS Billing

Paul Durante

Paul Durante is a writer with a background in SaaS, IoT, and the tech sector at large. As a frequent contributor to Fusebill he has enjoyed the opportunity to use personal experience, as well as the wealth of information supplied by the team to create content that might provide meaningful solutions to SaaS companies. Based out of St. Louis, the time he doesn’t spend writing belongs to his wife and two kids.

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