As a leader in a SaaS organization, you know how critical strong, service-oriented relationships are for building loyalty, retaining customers and maintaining (and growing) the bottom line. And you know that, when it comes to your organization’s ability to provide stellar service that exceeds every client’s every expectation, you’re only as good as the systems that support your operations.

The heart of those systems is your billing platform, which supports your business model, facilitates smooth customer interactions and drives your recurring revenue. In short, the billing platform is responsible for capital within your SaaS organization, which is why it’s critical to choose a solution that really works for your business, keeping the engines running and empowering growth at every turn.

But, as with so many business systems, the market is flooded with options for organizations looking to upgrade their billing platforms. So what should you be looking for as you begin the search?

The 3 A’s of Ideal SaaS Billing Platforms

In short, the ideal modern billing platform will support agility, analytics and automation within and across your business’ core functions.

Let’s break that down and unpack the three A’s — the key characteristics of your organization’s new billing platform.

Agility

A recent report from MGI found that 32 percent of companies struggle to implement new service and pricing plans in a timely manner. While 56 percent of companies would like to be able to do so in under four weeks, only 29 percent say they can. (Learn more)

Why does time to market matter? In today’s rapidly evolving, crowded SaaS landscape, customers have no end of options, and when one vendor doesn’t — or can’t — meet their needs, they’ll move on. So your organization’s ability to understand and respond tomarket demands quickly is paramount to keeping customers around.

Traditional or legacy billing platforms generally require significant integration time (we’re talking months here, and sometimes more than a year!) as well as professional customization services to change workflows, offerings and pricing. At that pace, by the time you’ve launched your new pricing plan, the market has moved on long ago. But intelligent billing platforms are designed to make business model changes quick and easy, without any custom coding. That means you can give your customers what they want, almost before they know they want it.

Analytics

And how do you know what it is your customers want? Effective, smart businesses monitor key performance metrics, from churn rates to buying patterns to revenue from cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

Tracking customer behavior can lead to fantastic insights about what users value (and what they don’t) that can guide service and pricing evolutions and improve customer service processes — if your billing platform collects and aggregates the data needed to make these conclusions. In order to get to this granularity of data and take your insights to the next level, you need to incorporate usage or consumption-based models that collect data that can’t be collected from one-time or basic subscription billing. In fact, according to a recent Forrester survey, 53 percent of usage-based companies collect customer insights to enhance relationship management.

Automation

We’ve written extensively on the power of automation, but here’s what it boils down to: the more manual processes required to manage the systems that power your business, the more opportunity for human error and wasted time.

In fact, McKinsey tells us that 60 percent of B2B transactions require some kind of manual intervention, each adding 15 to 20 minutes to the process. And a recent MGI report found that 42 percent of companies experience revenue leakage, while 59 percent experience significant customer friction related to billing disputes.

Automation reduces these risks, eliminating manual processes and unwieldy spreadsheets to improve the customer experience, boost revenue and reduce churn. While legacy platforms may be effective for automating simple models at low volumes, the more a company grows, the more manual help they need. Complex SaaS billing models (the kind that keep customers coming back for more) require an intelligent billing platform that can automate key processes — from customer lifecycle changes to revenue reporting and recognition milestones.

We understand the search for a new billing system can be daunting, especially for SaaS companies in this competitive, ever-changing landscape. But if you focus on the three A’s — agility, analytics and automation — you’ll be on your way to finding the system that will empower your organization’s growth.

Whatever you do, don’t let billing become a pain in your SaaS. If you’re ready to take your organization’s billing capabilities to the next level, take a tour of the Gotransverse platform today, and call us to schedule your complimentary, personalized demo.