Just attended a great lunch given by Zuora, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) billing solution for subscription-based businesses (both traditional and SaaS themselves). Led by Salesforce.com and WebEx veterans, this company is out to help both small businesses as well as large enterprises easily manage and offer subscriptions to their customers – and link the solution to their website transactions, billing, and CRM systems.
Many products we used to have to buy outright are now being offered as subscription services – DVD’s, software, even cars in some cities. You get all the benefits without the hassles of ownership. Take the example of Netflix. They offer different subscription packages to their DVD customers. Zuora’s solution would enable them to easily create/customize product plans at tiered levels (or even trial basis levels), track the various points of revenue (since there are so many at different levels, it would all roll up), update invoicing (or automatic billing once a credit card is provided), and provide management metrics (renewal rates, churn, etc.).
Zuora is a hosted service itself, so it helps you avoid cumbersome and costly hardware/software implementation – and hiring the extra personnel to manage it. It integrates with Pay Pal, Salesforce.com and other existing systems. The solution enables companies to offer complex pricing/packaging, flexibly handle different payment options, collect cash faster, eliminate manual billing, manage multiple orders/change requests and provides visibility into key metrics needed to track success.
If you are looking at offering a subscription model, whether for a product or service, regardless of your company size, take a look at Zuora. Their customer speaker from TalentSpring was a VP of Sales in charge of implementing the solution at his company and couldn’t rave enough about the experience. Coming from a VP of Sales – a role that is normally not about the technology or details but all about revenue and commissions – this was high praise indeed.