You have a task to save your company time, money, and resources by automating your self-service billing strategy. With the overwhelming amount of information online, this article will break down self-service SaaS billing to its core components and explain how you can implement it.
What is self-service billing?
Allowing customers to view, pay, and manage invoices is self-servicing billing. Self-service billing provides visibility and transparency between the business and its customers by enabling customers to manage their billing interactions and automatically charge them. Also referred to as self-billing, self-service billing's core value is time savings on billing, late payments, and sales.
Self-service billing can help improve both high-touch and low-touch businesses. For the low-touch businesses with minimal touchpoints with their customers before receiving a payment, self-service helps automate all the billing steps. For high-touch companies with B2B sales funnels, self-service allows for massive time-saving for the sales and billing team.
To keep things simple, let's review the core components of the self-service billing architecture and an example implementation.
What are the components of self-service billing?
Self-service billing has three core components: the customer-facing self-service billing interface, the automated billing system, and the sales pipeline integration.
The customer-facing billing interface is what your customer will see and interact with to view, pay, and manage invoices. Whether it's self-service pricing listed in the SaaS app or a one-off invoice sent from the sales team, the customer will only interact with the billing user interface. Avoiding building this component can help save time and development resources.
The automated billing system is the brain of your invoicing, subscriptions, and one-time payments. The billing system is responsible for working with the payment gateway to handle credit card or ACH charges, automatically apply charges at every billing cycle, and manage one-off invoices sent to customers. This component is often the single source of truth for your billing information. There is an overwhelming number of automated billing systems out there, and our number one choice is Stripe, more info in the implementation section.
Lastly, the sales pipeline managed by the internal sales team ties to the entire self-service flow. The salesperson initiates the invoice once the deal is confirmed, and the customer can self-pay and manage their invoice afterward. The self-service billing system can save a ton of time on manual invoice management for both the sales and accounting teams. The sales team often uses third-party CRM and sales tools such as Salesforce and Hubspot to manage the lead funnels. The sales tool will integrate with the billing system, and the billing user interface will reflect the billing details to the customer.
Tips on how to implement self-service billing?
When implementing a self-service billing solution, your main goal is to save time, minimize development resources, and keep it simple. Your development team is excellent at building the product you've been specializing in, but they are not a billing team. They shouldn't focus on billing as it is not part of your core offering. Read more on SaaS billing build versus buy here.
Here is what an example self-service billing solution could look like:
Stripe is our choice of an automated billing system. Stripe Payments and Stripe Billing both work in conjunction to handle payments, subscriptions and invoicing.
Stripe also has many native integrations with CRM and sales tools to sync lead data with billing information. These integrations allow your team to connect your sales tool to your billing with no development effort.
Lastly, the customer-facing billing interface, which could be the most high maintenance part of your self-service infrastructure, can be automated by tools that sit on top of Stripe like Billflow. We've built Billflow to help SaaS businesses create customer-facing billing pages with no development and in a matter of minutes.
If you're looking to brainstorm your self-service billing flow, schedule a call with me here.