According to a CFO Research survey, nearly two-thirds of companies launching a subscription product or service face operational challenges during the process. There are several benefits to a recurring revenue business model including predictable cash flows, high customer lifetime value (LTV), and scalability. But if you hope to reap these benefits, you’ll have to prevent operational challenges from getting in the way.
That’s where a recurring payment system comes into play.
It’s hardly surprising that so many companies are struggling with the implementation of a recurring revenue product or service—it takes a lot of behind the scenes work. A recurring payment platform can take that work off your plate and enable you to focus on your customers by:
Automating invoicing and payment processing
Making it easy to offer different pricing plans across your product lines
Fighting involuntary churn so you don’t lose revenue
Giving you actionable insights and greater decision-making power based on your business performance
Automating finance and accounting functions
Ensuring you are compliant with all relevant regulations
The majority of recurring payment systems will have most (or all) of the capabilities mentioned in the previous section. Which online payment system is best, however, depends on your specific needs and which one fits in with your existing tech stack.
So, how do you identify the best recurring payment system for your business especially if you’re not well-versed in the ins and outs of subscription billing platforms?
Look for a recurring payment platform that:
Broadly speaking, it’s important that a recurring payment platform saves you time on a daily basis. Does it streamline the billing process from start-to-finish? Does it seamlessly integrate with your accounting, tax, and fraud solutions to keep your business humming?
Your business is bound to run into complex billing scenarios. Perhaps you want to implement quantity-based pricing for some of your products, but usage-based billing for others. Or maybe you want to offer free trials and other types of promotions to entice new customers to sign up for a subscription with your company. The best recurring payment system will be able to handle all of your current needs—as well as any scenarios you dream up in the future.
You are at risk of losing 7.2% of your subscribers on average each month to involuntary churn. The best recurring payment system will have a revenue recovery process that leverages machine learning and hard-won insights to minimize involuntary churn.
How much are you spending to acquire each new customer? What is the lifetime value of each customer? What percentage of your subscribers are churning? Which plans and promotions are performing best?
The answers to those questions are going to guide the decision makers in your organization. Having a subscription management platform that provides data and insights on those numbers on a regular basis will provide you with the actionable information you need to make smart decisions.
Let’s say your sales team is getting tons of new leads. Do you want them to waste time recording all of those new leads? Of course not. You want them to keep getting even more leads. By finding a subscription billing platform that syncs with your CRM, you can keep your sales team doing what they do best.
A top-notch recurring payment system is a necessity if you have plans for a global expansion. Without the right platform, you could be drowning in payment processing, currency complications, gateway hassles, and tax issues instead of prospering in new markets.
There's no shortage of gateways to choose from. Check out 15 Critical Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Payment Gateway.
A thorough evaluation of the recurring payment systems on the market is necessary to help you figure out which online payment system is best.
Let’s dive deeper and examine what you should look for in a recurring payment app:
Some vendors take several months—or even a year or more—to implement their subscription billing software for your organization. Ideally, and based on complexity, you should insist on an implementation time of less than a couple of months.
But there’s more to getting up-and-running than implementation. You also need to get to a point where you can extract value from the solution. Look for a vendor that doesn’t just say “good luck” after the implementation is complete, and let you go on your way. Instead, they should provide you with training modules to help your staff (no matter which department they’re in) derive value from the recurring payment system as soon as possible.
At this point, you should have what you need to get going, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of the woods. Ask prospective vendors about their support services; a world-class customer support system could quickly rectify any issues that pop up.
Involuntary churn might be the greatest enemy for most subscription businesses. That’s why the best recurring payment system will know how to fight it. Look for a vendor that has a proven process for minimizing involuntary churn. By automatically updating payment details, retrying payments based on machine learning, and sending personalized dunning reminders, the best recurring payment app systematically slashes involuntary churn rates.
To determine which online payment system is best, ask potential vendors how much they have reduced involuntary churn for their other clients.
The best recurring payment system for your company isn’t necessarily the best recurring payment system for every company. Look for a vendor that has a familiarity with the challenges faced by companies in your industry.
Imagine seeing a case study of a business just like yours that saw measurable improvements from implementing a recurring payment system that you’re considering. You’d feel a lot more confident following in their footsteps, right?
The last thing you want is to get a letter from a regulating body saying that you’ve run afoul of the local laws. If you’re running a global enterprise—or even a national enterprise—it’s easy to get blindsided by regulations, whether imposed by the local tax collector or by consumer watchdogs.
A first-rate vendor will stay on top of regulations, so you stay on the right side of the law. Recurly protects your business with world-class privacy, security, and compliance standards.
The best recurring payment platform will fit like a glove with your existing tech stack. We touched on CRM integration earlier, but you want to make sure a subscription billing platform will seamlessly integrate with all of your existing solutions.
For example, Recurly’s integration with Snowflake shows what’s possible if your recurring payment platform can interact with your data warehouse. The ability to view and combine subscription billing data alongside other customer data gives you limitless reporting and analysis possibilities.
For over a decade, Recurly has helped subscription businesses handle their billing needs across a number of different industries including SaaS, DTC, streaming, digital media and publishing, and education.
Our monthly recurring payment system is one-stop shopping for subscription business success. You have the ability to:
Get going in weeks, not months: the average time to launch for Recurly clients is 46 days. Our Learning Paths onboarding series provides four different training modules—each module is geared towards a different audience (role) at your company. If you are still left with a few questions after going through the training modules—or if you run into problems down the road— Recurly’s expert support could be a lifesaver.
Iterate as much as you’d like: flexible features allow you to experiment with a variety of plan and pricing options and find the one that works best for your business.
Scale globally: Recurly’s platform supports 140 currencies and multiple gateways that are popular in different parts of the world, minimizing the hurdles involved with an international expansion.
Increase customer lifetime value: Recurly has a top-of-the-line revenue recovery process that gets results. In 2020, Recurly recovered $610 million in revenue for its clients.
But don’t just take our word for it—hear what our customers have to say about their decision to adopt Recurly:
Recurly is a solution that scales with us as our business grows each year...the initial investment in Recurly five years ago was one of the smartest decisions we could have made.
Our growth has exploded over the last few years, and Recurly is definitely a big part of that.
Recurly’s subscription billing platform offers all of the features you need, without the bloat you don’t. By offering a clear ROI, it’s easy to justify an investment in Recurly to your stakeholders.
Finding the best recurring payment system could be a game-changer for your company. If you’re on the growth track, a subpar billing solution will trip you up. The best recurring payment system, on the other hand, will turbocharge your growth by boosting your bottom-line and saving time for executives and staff alike at your company.