Managing multiple subscription contract types at once
by Niclas Lilja, on Mar 14, 2019
With complex business ideas come complex payment structures, contract terms, and varying customer needs. For subscription model businesses who have more than one basic product or service offering, it can be a challenge to know how to properly balance managing different subscription contract types with providing enough flexibility for customers.
In order for companies to be successful in managing multiple subscription contract types, it comes down to three things: integrations, automations, and organisation.
Integrations for subscription management
When managing multiple subscription contract types, you likely have various contract lengths, terms, billing cycles, and invoicing amounts. Because of this, you need to be as streamlined as possible in all processes, from the first sales touch point to financial reconciliation.
For companies that sell their own products or services in an online format, such as SaaS businesses, it can be especially important that you reduce the amount of separate software solutions you are using. It may be that you use a customer management system, sales tools, invoicing service, payment gateway, and data reporting tool. If they lack integrations, you risk making mistakes, missing opportunities, and losing time by having to manually input unstructured data, or comparing reports and customer information. In fact, integrations are the only way to keep data unified and structured. Utilising different systems soon means you lack cohesion and consistency, and that costs money, effort, and transparency.
What you should be looking to do is optimise your integrations, use as few tools as possible, and make the most of an all-in-one platform for subscription management.
Automations for subscription activities
One of the best ways to ensure multiple contract types are under control, is to automate as much of the process as possible. While depending on your product or service, it could be important for customer support to be done by real staff members, setting up automations and at the very least, notifications for when actions need to be completed, should be prioritized.
Automations useful for subscription contracts include automated invoicing and billing, automated financial and usage reports, and customer engagement such as email newsletters, support content, and renewal notifications. When it comes to internal notification systems, you should have automatic reminders for when an account is at risk of becoming delinquent, when renewal periods are upcoming, when a customer is reaching the maximum of their usage limit and may be primed for an upgrade, and other important activities that contribute to better sales and customer service.
Without automation, your business may spend too much time on manual tasks and that eventually erodes margin. Without managing to apply automation, then the product you sell becomes a low margin mass product in which you are not maximizing the profit you make, giving less opportunity for scalable growth.
Organisation of subscription contracts
As with most business practices, organisation can make an enormous difference in how well functioning your company is. But when it comes to managing contracts for your products or services, it's not enough for your business to be organised - your actual contracts and subscription management should be meticulously organised too.
One of the most important aspects of having your various contracts organised is how your products and orders are managed. For those companies who are focused on a lower volume of high-paying customers, your contracts may be entirely customized. And for businesses focused on the long-tail market with a higher volume of customers, there can be many terms to keep track of. By ensuring that you have systems in place that can allow you to drill down into your reports, and keep your contracts organised by terms, billing cycles, and other aspects, you will be much more effective in managing your subscriptions overall.
As businesses become more dynamic and offer various terms and conditions to their customers and supply several products or services, contracts can become complicated. But managing multiple contract types should be a streamlined and easy process. Focus on integrations, automations, and organisation to make subscription contract management better for your business.
Want to learn more about the different types and uses of contracts? Download the Contract Types Guidebook now.