Skip to content

A SaaS guide to subscription management

Written by

Last editedMay 20222 min read

The importance of recurring revenue for SaaS businesses is widely understood. Existing customers offer a much better rate of return than new customers, and for SaaS businesses looking to make a lasting impact, customer retention is a key goal. That’s why it’s so important to handle online subscription management as efficiently as possible. Here’s our guide to SaaS subscription management, giving you some insight into the importance of this subscription software and how it differs from recurring billing.

What is SaaS subscription management?

Put simply, subscription management refers to all customer lifecycle operations. This covers a broad range of processes, including managing trials, issuing refunds, and making changes to an ongoing subscription. Recurring subscription management starts as soon as a customer signs up for your company’s services and ends whenever they leave or cancel their subscription.  

Online subscription management vs. recurring billing

Lots of people get tripped up on the difference between SaaS subscription management and recurring billing practices, believing them to cover the same ground. In fact, there’s a stark difference between these two important SaaS processes. Recurring billing is the automated process – offered by GoCardless – that allows businesses to invoice customers on an ongoing basis.

By contrast, online subscription management sits on top of your payment solution, supporting recurring billing by dealing with customer-related issues as they occur. So, although recurring billing is enormously important, it shouldn’t be your business’s only concern. Recurring subscription management deals with existing customers, ensuring that they stay with your service for as long as possible.

Why does SaaS subscription management matter?

Part of the importance of SaaS subscription management is the fact that it covers the entire customer lifecycle, from before the customer subscribes to after they cancel. Here are the key benefits associated with recurring subscription management at each stage of the customer journey:

  • Signing up – Online subscription management can be used to provide discounts for customers who may be dissuaded by the price-point of your service. In addition, you can use SaaS subscription management tools to provide free trials, which can be a great way to pull in customers who are on the fence regarding your service. If they’re undecided after the free trial, you could empower your team to extend their trial, ensuring that you’re doing everything you can to capture an existing customer.

  • During subscription – After a customer has signed up, SaaS subscription management really comes into its own. There are a whole host of important processes that your subscription management software will cover, including upgrades or downgrades. Allowing your customers to drop down a pricing rung or take their service to the next level can help them get the most out of your platform. In addition, communication is key. You can use online subscription management to inform customers about features, upgrades, or upcoming payments.

  • Cancelling – After a customer leaves the service, you can use your SaaS subscription management tool to ask for feedback, which can help you make your platform better in the future.

As you can see, recurring subscription management affects a wide array of processes that play a significant role in keeping your customers happy and satisfied with your service.

SaaS subscription management software

There are a range of SaaS subscription management tools that you can use in conjunction with recurring billing systems like GoCardless to handle your customer lifecycle operations. GoCardless has partnerships with subscription management software companies like Chargebee and Zuora, so you can ensure that billing and operations work hand in hand to provide the best possible experience for your customers.

We can help

GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

Sign upLearn More

Try a better way to collect payments, with GoCardless. It's free to get started.

Try a better way to collect payments

Learn moreSign up