Subscription tools for SaaS businesses: how to choose & 10 great options

Updated On: March 12, 2020
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The subscription-based economy boom has brought with it more competition than ever before, raising the bar for companies trying to offer recurring products or services to their customers. Looking at the market today, one might feel a little overwhelmed, and understandably so.

However, behind the boom lies the rising consumer demand for subscriptions. To tap into the market, companies need to gain an edge over their competitors in all aspects of their business. Fortunately, for any pain point you can think of, someone has carefully crafted a best-in-class subscription business tool to solve the problem.

Some examples of common pain points include:

  • Churn
  • Payment processing
  • Customer support
  • Bookkeeping
  • Growth

Sound familiar? If you need some help with any (or all) of these issues, there’s a tool out there you can leverage to help solve the problem.

This article will explain exactly why you need subscription business tools, how to use them to tackle common problems, and which tools we recommend. Let’s dive in.

10 of the best subscription business tools for SaaS products

We’ve curated a list of 10 industry-leading subscription business tools to tackle recurring issues and streamline your subscription business. With tools like these at your disposal, you’ll be more informed, more efficient, and more successful in your efforts.

1. Intercom

Almost half (49%) of American consumers switched companies in 2019 due to poor customer service. Nobody likes to be kept waiting or to feel like their problems aren’t being heard; being available to answer questions and help customers is vital to your success.

Intercom tackles this issue head-on. The tool helps you add chatbots to every page, so you can make sales, help customers, and answer questions. Intercom has an integrated help desk that allows you to automatically qualify, route, and convert leads. You can send targeted email, in-app, and push messages to customers, all to maintain an open line of communication at all times.

2. Userlane

Subscription businesses do a lot of onboarding, especially if they’re a SaaS business. Smooth onboarding processes are beneficial for customers because they decrease friction. Customers can learn your products faster, thanks to effective onboarding. Similarly, efficient employee onboarding saves time and capital resources.

Userlane is designed to help people understand any software, boasting a reduced time-to-value for consumers, along with increased retention and user engagement. From an internal standpoint, the software is a valuable training tool. More than 60% of companies find their own e-training ineffective, and Userlane states that it lowers training costs by up to 90%, boosting productivity in your company.

3. ProfitWell Retain

Churn is the biggest threat to great SaaS products, particularly with subscription offerings. Up to 20%- 40% of churn is caused by failed payments, meaning customers who are trying to buy your products are being discouraged by technical problems and searching elsewhere.

ProfitWell retain

So, how do you defend against this? With ProfitWell Retain, you can easily spot churn before it starts, target it, and retain your customers. Our Retain tool has a 77% recovery rate, and because you only need to pay for customers who we successfully recover, we guarantee at least 100% ROI.

4. Rewardful

Buyers rely on word of mouth between four to five times more than paid media, and in general, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know. This places affiliate marketers in a unique position to connect your products with more customers. However, setting up an affiliate program for your products can be a complex undertaking when done manually.

Rewardful is a referral platform designed to bridge the gap between affiliate marketers and buyers. The tool is fully integrated with Stripe, it takes mere minutes to set up, and it connects your company to a wide network of affiliate marketers interested in spreading the good word about your products.

5. ProfitWell Recognized

Revenue recognition and accounting in the subscription world can be very time-consuming when done manually. In one survey on finance and accounting, 47% of professionals cited manual data entry as their biggest challenge.

Thankfully, ProfitWell Recognized makes recognizing revenue as easy as possible, eliminating human error and freeing up time for your accounting staff to focus on more high-level work. The tool stays current with evolving industry standards and accounts for revenue deferral and multi-element arrangements, like product bundling. All of these features reduce the amount of work hours needed from any non-robotic member of your workforce.

6. Calendly

One of the potential points of failure for any company is scheduling. If you miss appointments with customers, clients, or potential partners due to software failure or human error, your business suffers. But this kind of failure is entirely avoidable with the correct tools.

Calendly helps you set up appointments with customers or clients with automated scheduling, seamless time-zone detection, and integration with other apps and calendar tools. Scheduling is yet another area that can be automated to great benefit, as Calendly’s five million monthly users would no doubt attest.

7. ProfitWell Metrics

Analytics data is the lifeblood of any subscription marketing campaign. To sell the same products to the same customers over an extended period, you need to know everything there is to know about those customers — what they want, what they need, their interests, their lifestyle, and their responsiveness to your various offers. Subscription marketing is essentially like having a conversation with your customers, and you need to be a good listener for that to work.

Analytics dashboard

We designed ProfitWell Metrics with that concept in mind. The tool gives you a number of useful features that go above and beyond regular analytics. Our engagement metrics offer insight into how a customer is reacting to variations in your product offering, and this allows you to test and optimize your pricing strategy. ProfitWell also features customer segmentation and acquisition tracking, allowing you to monitor which demographics are interested in your products and what the lifetime value of each customer is, so you can focus on valuable customers in particular.

8. Hotjar

Have you ever wondered exactly how customers react when they visit your website? Hotjar offers another way to gain access to the minds of your customers. The analytics this tool offers lets you see which part of your webpages customers are hovering their cursors over or clicking on the most, giving you more granular information on what draws their attention.

This information allows you to fine-tune your landing pages — testing different aesthetics, offers, and then monitoring the reaction, even if a visitor doesn’t buy anything. You can also see recordings of user behavior in real time for the same reason. The tool includes feedback polls, surveys, and a variety of analytics tools that can help you optimize your pages for better performance.

9. Price Intelligently

Did you know most businesses spend only a few hours coming up with pricing for their products? We estimate that these companies are missing out on 30% growth by not optimizing their pricing strategy using data. Pricing is something that can make or break a subscription business, and your pricing strategy should be decided by data, not committee debates.

Price Intelligently by ProfitWell is designed to calculate the optimal pricing strategy for your business using data-driven roadmaps, personas and market mapping, and localized pricing. Forget the guessing game. Our software also helps you audit your company’s pricing and compare it to that of competitors, so you can make an informed decision on pricing.

10. Zapier

Companies using several different tools can find that integration becomes a problem. When the tools you’ve set up to save time and money become cumbersome to navigate, things are not exactly going according to plan. Enter Zapier, a tool that automatically connects apps like Slack, Mailchimp, and Gmail to streamline your internal workflow.

The tool allows you to automate repetitive tasks without needing to write your own custom code or use up software developer resources, keeping everything running smoothly for your business.

Don’t know which subscription tools you need?

Maybe you’ve read through our list of recommended tools, and you’re not sure how to proceed. That’s okay. Here are some ways you can identify which kinds of tools you need to level up your subscription business.

Highlight your biggest problems

What would you say the more challenging aspect of your business is right now? Maybe you’re having major problems with churn or customer support or both. Take the time to evaluate the current strengths and weaknesses of your business—we recommend simply sitting down with a pen and paper and making a list. With this new perspective on your unique pain points, consider which of the tools mentioned above might help solve the problems you’re facing.

See where you have room to grow

Are you doing well but don’t have enough team members to answer support tickets? This would be a fantastic time to implement live chat. Are you seeing strong engagement but high rates of shopping cart abandonment? Equipping your business to fight credit card denial or making use of advanced analytics to evaluate the problem may help.

Ask different teams about pain points

Many heads are better than one. Ask your support, design, sales, and other teams what they would love in a tool. This is best done in a group brainstorming session where your team can talk together as a group, sharing and developing ideas. You may find that between everyone, your team knows exactly what tools are necessary to scale your business.

Try before you buy

With many options on the market, it’s understandable that you might hesitate to commit to making a purchase. Of course, purchasing these tools upfront isn’t always necessary. If there is a trial version of the product, try first to see if it works with your existing tech stack. Decide upon a fixed time frame, such as a month, to evaluate the performance of your business with the free version, and consider whether the paid version is worth the investment.

Look for integrations

Integrations are incredibly important in the subscription field. The beauty of these tools is that they can often play off of each other’s strengths and be all the more effective when used together. When making your decision, ensure that your tools have integrations with your site, your payment processor, and, ideally, with the other tools you’re considering.

Unlock your subscription potential today

ProfitWell is all about enhancing and augmenting the performance of subscription businesses. We’re here to make life easier, more efficient, and more profitable for you with our best-in-class subscription tools. We recommend trying the free version of our metrics software as an excellent entry point to subscription tools. You can also get in touch through our website for more information.

Work with the best

Whichever tools you decide to work with, the main thing is that you recognize the importance of getting started. Subscription business tools can be highly effective, and the results you’ll see from using the right tools in the right way might really astonish you! Take the time to weigh your options, and then choose the best tools to fit your needs and scale your business on your own terms.

Tags: pricing

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