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10 Questions to Help Small Businesses Narrow Down Their Target Audiences

Understanding your target market is essential if you want your business to be successful. The more specific you can be about who your customers are, the more readily you can create effective marketing strategies and products that will appeal to them and avoid wasting time and money. Here are some questions to help you narrow your target market while owning your own slice of the market. Remember, we have a marketing department that can assist you with determining your perfect prospect – and also work with you on-going to manage all of your content, newsletters, social media maintenance, and website needs. 

Pinpointing a target audience is one of the most crucial steps in launching any successful business effort, including creating marketing campaigns and increasing sales. However, determining your audience is often much easier said than done. Before you can narrow down your ideal customer, you need to know how to do it correctly.

To that end, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members answered the following question:

“What’s one question small businesses should ask themselves when narrowing down their target audience? How does this help them in their business efforts moving forward?”

Here’s what they recommend you consider when thinking about who you’ll be selling to.

1. What Segment Would Be Most Impactful?

“What segment of customers will be most impactful to the business if we can capture them? Focus on the customers who will be most impactful in a specific timeframe. Every company wants to reach every possible customer, but focusing on who will be most impactful in the near future helps you to narrow your focus and deliver to customers who will help you reach your goals faster.” ~ Cody Candee, Bounce

2. Who Are My Current Customers?

“Identify who is currently buying your products or services, as well as any common factors such as demographics or psychographics. Once you do, incentivize them to spread the word with a referral or loyalty program. Thank them, and encourage positive reviews.” ~ Duran Inci, Optimum7

3. Who Is My Business Not a Good Fit For?

“Ask yourself, ‘Who are we not a good fit for?’ I know early in the Influence & Co. days we would think, ‘Any business can be our client!’ and over time we’ve realized that we’re a much better fit for B2B companies, specifically in professional services or technology. But it took us working with a few companies who were really not a good fit for us to realize that.” ~ Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.

4. What’s the Data Saying About Customers?

“What’s the data saying? Companies often come into customer acquisition with a target customer in mind. This is a good starting point, but ultimately, you need to listen to the market. You need to see who’s interested, paying and engaging with your product or service. As that base begins to scale, the data becomes meaningful and can significantly improve marketing and business ROI.” ~ Carlo Cisco, SELECT

5. Who Would Buy My Product?

“If I stripped my product to its bare bones, who would buy my product if I dropped it in their hands? Find the people who are asking for your product. That’s your initial target audience and they often know what it needs to succeed. They can give you the most actionable feedback to iterate on it and improve it.” ~ Ryan D Matzner, Fueled

6. What Pain Points Can My Business Solve?

“Ask, ‘What pain points does my target audience experience that my business can solve?’ Consumers are constantly looking for brands to give them answers or solutions, so if you can do this, you’re already on the right track to moving your business forward.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

7. How Do Customers Get Their Information?

“We live in an information age, and knowing how people get their information is key to business success. Do they get their information from Google, TikTok or print sources? Are they persuaded by billboards and media advertising? Figuring out where they get their info will help you know how to frame and present your content.” ~ Shu Saito, Fact Retriever

8. What Makes My Business or Products Unique?

“To narrow down your target audience, focus on what makes your business and products unique. Your competitors may offer something similar, but consider any features or benefits that set you apart. This may come down to superior quality, a lower price, faster service or a certain feature the others don’t offer. Then you can target those who will really appreciate this distinction.” ~ Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

9. How Will I Reach My Audience?

“If you narrow down your audience too far, you may have a tough time actually reaching your audience with an impactful message. Or, you may narrow it down too far so that it’s nearly impossible to reach the numbers you need. Always think about how you are going to reach your audience when planning, and not just be theoretical.” ~ Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

10. Where Does My Target Audience Spend Time?

“You’re going to want to connect to as many potential customers as possible. If you know that a majority of your audience spends their time on Facebook, you can develop more detailed customer personas by engaging in conversations and getting involved with the community.” ~ John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

You don’t need to do everything on your own. From billing to marketing, including credentialing and patient eligibility verification, Perform Practice Solutions can help. Give us a call today at (833) 764-0178 and join our Facebook community.


Reference: [https://smallbiztrends.com/2021/10/small-businesses-target-audiences.html]


10 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself and Your Business

Managing your business can be stressful. If you’ve been feeling like having no time to rest or are always anxious, stop for a few minutes and read more about some self-care tips. It will be super beneficial to you AND to your business. When it comes to less anxiety about running your PT or medical practice – that’s where we come in and take the load off regarding operations, billing, marketing, credentialing – and even sales. Meanwhile – take a deep breath and read on. 

Entrepreneurs are always taking care of their businesses. But some forget to do the little things to take care of themselves. Sometimes, entrepreneurial self-care can just mean doing things in a simpler or easier way to free up time or limit stress. Here are tips from members of the online small business community for entrepreneurs interested in self-care.

Sleep Better at Night

A good night’s sleep is important for all humans, but especially for entrepreneurs that want to improve energy and brain power. Lisa Sicard offers tips for improving sleep to optimize entrepreneurial output in this Small Biz Tipster post. And BizSugar members shared additional thoughts in the community.

Find the Best Times to Send Emails

No entrepreneur wants to waste time on inefficient communication. If you send a lot of business emails, you want them read and responded to right away. For the best times to accomplish this goal, read this Respona post by Payman Taei.

Consider Integrating AI into Your Company

Technology can free up a lot of time for small biz owners. But you need to use the right tools to reap the benefits without taking on extra risk. AI provides tons of opportunities, which Emily Johnson details in this MyTechMag post.

Support Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Diverse workplaces bring tons of new ideas and can help people from all backgrounds feel comfortable at work. Neurodiversity means welcoming people with neurological differences. Read about this concept and how it benefits businesses in this GoCo post by Nikhil Bendre.

Learn from These Marketing YouTube Channels

Business owners should always keep learning. Marketing concepts constantly evolve. So it’s important to find sources for information that are current and full of new ideas. This 99signals post by Sandeep Mallya includes 15 marketing YouTube channels to check out.

Speak with No Fear

It’s normal to feel a bit nervous when you speak to a crowd. However, you don’t want to feel tons of stress every time you talk about your business. Learning to speak with no fear can make life much simpler. Learn how in this Duct Tape Marketing post by Sara Nay.

Break Through Writer’s Block with These Technologies

Writer’s block can be frustrating for bloggers and entrepreneurs. However, there are tools that can help you break through. Anthony Gaenzle lists some in this Moss Media post. And BizSugar members shared additional thoughts here.

Read These Books to Improve Your Marketing

Reading can be an ideal way to relax, while still learning something that may help your business. If you want to get better at marketing, read this Einstein Marketer post by Josh Barney that includes several books to help.

Improve Your Business with Website Traffic

Growing a business with limited web traffic can be incredibly stressful. Once you get people coming to your site daily, it becomes easier to relax and focus on other things. In this SmallBizTechnology post, Becca Williams explains why web traffic is so important.

You don’t need to do everything on your own. From billing to marketing, including credentialing and patient eligibility verification, Perform Practice Solutions can help. Give us a call today at (833) 764-0178 and join our Facebook community.


Reference: [https://smallbiztrends.com/2021/09/self-care-tips-for-entrepreneurs.html]


Humanizing the Customer Experience with Technology

Customer experiences are being radically reshaped continuously by technologies that are cutting edge and ever-evolving. However, human interaction and empathy are still key in creating a positive customer experience. That’s why companies must focus on an effective personalization plan. Check out some ways you can humanize your client’s experience so that your patients can have their unique needs met – and they return for more of your excellent service and care.

Technology enhances business. It allows companies to operate faster, more efficiently, encourages collaboration, and in return creates growth. However, human interaction is still key in creating a positive customer experience. Taking into account of the last year, with companies forced to rapidly digitize, many business leaders have grappled with the challenge of humanizing customer experience with the new technologies that have been implemented.

Yet, in order to create a customer experience that streamlines the buying process while customizing to fit the consumer’s needs, companies must focus on an effective personalization plan that encourages customer loyalty, customer growth, and an increase in revenue. Personalization and customization are key in targeting a customer base and to make sure a business is serving their specific needs.

According to a Gartner survey 88 percent of consumers report not receiving “tailored help”, and to make matters worse brands are at risk of losing 38 percent of customers because of poor marketing personalization efforts.

Businesses often get consumed by return on investment metrics and pressure to show results, but before the focus on this, business leaders must hone in on serving their customers to seamlessly guide them through a personalized journey. Like the saying, “if you build it, they will come”, taking the time to personalize the customer experience will in return create increased customer loyalty, increase in driving sales, and positive customer experience within a business.

How to Humanize Customer Experience

Create a Hyper-personalized Customer Journey Plan

Companies tend to forget the minutiae included in one single customer journey. When generating a plan to enhance personalization and efficiency, business leaders must take into account aspects such as how interactive and easy to use the website is, how products or services are outlined, the sales process, invoicing process, communication and support.

Customers are looking for companies that provide personalized experiences that are relevant to them specifically, rather than repetitive processes that make the journey seem robotic.

A way to make hyper-personalization naturally occur is by using technology tools that remember documentation when needed the most. For example, if a sales person is on a call with a customer and can see in their CRM tool that the customer had a support ticket two weeks ago on the same issue, they’ll have better context and be able to provide a more customized experience.

Another way to hyper-personalize and humanize customer experience is through technology that provides suggestions based on buying patterns. For example, if a business sells clothing and the user has viewed a specific style of clothes on the site, the technology can generate a suggestion such as, “Since you viewed this, we think you may also like this”.

By using tools that are completely customized to the consumer’s preferences, the business achieves a hyper-personalized and streamlined customer experience. While it may seem like a lot of work to take inventory of these individual aspects, having a plan in place with technology to assist will help businesses create customer experiences that impress and keep customers for the long haul.

Use Smart Technology to Enhance Personalization

Using technology that connects with your customers on multiple channels such as telephone, email, live chat, and social media ensures strong communication so that customers are left with all their questions and needs met. Additionally, utilizing workflow automation will help streamline the lead nurturing process, which is important when wanting to make things as easy as possible for the customer.

AI is also a way to increase efficiency and help enhance personalization. AI can be used in the customer journey to generate advanced lead and deal predictions to help businesses identify specific leads and where they are in their customer journey. It can also help with finding important information from the CRM, sending task reminders, alerts, and suggestions for the best times to contact leads based on your past interactions so that you can provide a preferred experience for your customer.

Also, businesses can utilize AI for sentiment analysis to prioritize which emails should be addressed first. For example, if a consumer sends an email about a negative experience with the business, AI will identify the displeased feedback and flag the email so that it’s addressed first. There are so many technology options out there that help with streamlining and automation, by discovering tools that also help with customization will be essential.

Analyze to Nurture New Clients and Current Ones

While metrics and data points are vital in showing ROI, using analytics to detect buying trends and other data trends around the customer will enable your business to gain new clients and current ones. Using analytic tools that track key performance indicators, including current trends and future predictions will be a critical aspect of the data strategy.

Yet, before diving into the technology, business leaders must ask themselves what key information about the customer they’d like to understand and how this data will help to create a more personalized experience for the customer.

For example, analytics can be used to find out what patterns are critical for customer satisfaction. If the analytics tool detects that consumers that purchased a specific service keep submitting support tickets for the same problem, having that data will help the business quickly find a solution to avoid customer churn.

Along with these questions, business leaders must recognize how they are collecting data to uphold ethical data privacy principles and strong security measures. With the surge of customer data being tracked and collected for monetary gain, companies must consider privacy concern and scrupulously examine the technology vendor they decide to use.

Consumers are rightfully concerned about how their data will be used, and it’s important to ensure that customer data stays private. At the same time, customers are more willing to provide personal information if their customer experience is hyper-personalized. With this in mind, businesses must aim at finding a harmonious balance with creating a personalized experience without jeopardizing consumer data.

Saying technology can make business more human sounds like an oxymoron, but when used the right way technology can enrich the customer experience to fit the unique needs of an individual customer. Because most companies have digitized in the last year, competition for enhancing the online customer experience has risen drastically. This means having a streamlined customer journey is not enough to set a business apart.

However, the core lies within personalizing the customer journey so that consumers can have their unique needs met and exceeded. When it comes to humanizing customer experience, people want to feel special and taken care of; creating a personalized experience with technology that streamlines the buying process for your customers can achieve this, and in the end will be the crux of what sets businesses apart.

Perform Practice Solutions helps practice owners nationwide adjust to the industry’s changing and challenging reality. Our team has smart marketing strategies to offer your clinic an alternative way forward. Call us today at (833) 764-0178  – and also join us and be part of our Facebook community!


Reference: [https://smallbiztrends.com/2021/07/humanizing-customer-experience.html]


6 Business Lessons From A Successful Entrepreneur

Advice to continue to grow and develop your business is always welcome! Having a business means hard work, successes, and failures. So it’s important to keep learning from it. Here you can read more about the most valuable lessons a CEO has to share in his two decades of entrepreneurship.

Ask any entrepreneur for business advice and they’ll be glad to share their stories of hard work, successes, and failures.

I spoke with serial entrepreneur Brian Kalish, CEO of Xigem Technologies, to share some of the most valuable lessons he’s learned in his two decades of entrepreneurship. Kalish’s entrepreneurial journey has spanned multiple industries from consumer packaged goods to publishing, healthcare, and professional sports. Kalish credits this diverse experience with his continued success as an entrepreneur. Here’s his advice:

Embrace failure and learn from it.

Failure is a wonderful teacher, as long as you’re willing to learn from it. As Kalish points out, “You learn more from the failures than you do the successes.” You can learn from every failure, no matter how large or how small. Take the time to analyze what when wrong, when and where in the process it went wrong, and come up with ways to ensure that those mistakes are corrected moving forward.

Surround yourself with the right people.

Having the right team in place is integral for business success. You want to build a strong team that supports all areas of your business and doesn’t leave any gaps uncovered. Seek out people who are experts in their field and hire them, learn from them, or partner with them. Not everyone on the team needs to be an employee – your team can be made up of freelancers, advisors, and mentors as well as full or part-time employees.

Think ahead to the future.

“As a serial entrepreneur, you’re always looking for what the next great adventure is going to be as well as how to leverage and take advantage of any changes that are happening,” says Kalish. His advice is to not only think about what’s happening now, but what might change in the future.

Look for opportunities.

You always have to keep your finger on the pulse and think a few steps ahead. “Really try to understand where the market is moving,” advises Kalish. Observe what’s going on in the business world and analyze those changes. Look at which sectors are leading and which ones are lagging behind. Think about ways to use or incorporate new technology to improve existing business processes. Think ahead to what might come next in technology, AI, and global business trends.

Don’t be afraid to take risks.

Risks are simply part of doing business, especially when you’re bringing a new product to market or entering a new field. The key is to take calculated risks where you’ve fully weighed your options, thought about the pros and cons, and are making a fully informed decision. Take risks wisely, don’t just dive in on a whim without doing your due diligence first.

Be prepared for change to happen quickly.

“We went from sharing everything, from bicycles and cars to apartments, and then all of sudden sharing nothing,” Kalish said, highlighting the almost instantaneous shift to a remote economy. The pandemic upended everything from industries to the very way we work, and many of those changes will be long-lasting. No one could have predicted the overnight shift to remote work, yet most businesses managed to adapt, often learning as they went along. Businesses that don’t adapt will quickly get left behind.

Whether you’re embarking on your first entrepreneurial journey, you’re an established businessperson, or anywhere in between, follow this advice to continue to grow and develop your business.

If you are looking for better ways to grow your practice, Perform Practice Solutions will help you tailor solutions to keep your practice thriving. Contact us and find out more about our packages at (833) 764-0178 and visit our Facebook page.


Reference: [https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashiraprossack1/2021/07/16/6-business-lessons-from-a-serial-entrepreneur/?sh=65ae9dcf2087]


14 Ways For Companies To Improve Digital And Mobile Marketing In 2021

Digital marketing is all about balancing strategy, creativity, and analytical thinking. With the right tools and knowledge, your company can take full advantage of the opportunities to interact with your customers. Below you can read about 14 ways companies can improve their mobile and digital marketing in 2021. However, you don’t need to do it all on your own. With Perform Practice Solutions, you can have all your physical therapy marketing taken care of. Every single thing, from blogs to newsletters to social, by a team who knows PT. 

More than ever before, consumers are turning to the internet to find information and engage with brands and other consumers. With the right tools and knowledge, your company can create digital and mobile marketing strategies that effectively capture the attention of digital buyers.

To take full advantage of the opportunities to interact with customers and prospects online, you have to make sure your strategy will help you reach your target audiences where they are. Below, 14 members of Forbes Agency Council discuss effective ways for companies to improve their mobile and digital marketing in 2021.

1. Leverage Tech To Guide Decisions

Leveraging technology to make data-driven decisions is one of the most important things business owners can do to put themselves a step ahead of their competitors. Your customers now live in an on-demand world and need to be able to easily find you, contact you, buy from you and leave you a review. Active participation on all new advertising channels, such as Google Local Services Ads, is a must. – Michael Sauer, scorpion.co

2. Focus On What’s Already Working

Often, we get so busy with new ideas that we forget to look at what we can take away from the efforts of the past. Our customers leave a footprint of what’s impactful, so do more of that. Analyze information such as web traffic, clicks and email open rates to determine what has worked. Don’t work to reinvent the wheel when you can expand on what’s been successful to date. – Carm Lyman, Lyman Agency.

3. Build A Strong Brand Image On Social

Double down and build a brand image on social media. Most consumers are constantly on their phones and spend a majority of their time on social media platforms. So, to optimize marketing for your business on mobile, focus efforts on making your brand on social media as strong, consistent and engaging as possible. – Tony Pec, Y Not You Media.

4. Adopt A Conversational Marketing Approach

Companies will need to move past the one-way mindset of simply “pushing” a product toward a customer and shift their focus toward engagement in order to drive customer loyalty and increase satisfaction. Adopting a conversational marketing approach enables companies to effectively communicate with existing customers and prospects in a more personalized and interactive manner. – Matt Ramerman, Sinch for Marketing.

5. Utilize Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning

Embrace the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to better personalize experiences for users. Move away from the mass marketing tactics where your company delivers one message to a set target audience; instead, deliver tailored messages to individuals based on their trackable behaviors. – Russ Williams, Archer Malmo.

6. Diversify Ad Spend Across Channels

One great area to improve your digital and mobile marketing this year is to diversify your ad spend across various channels. Long gone are the days when it was just Facebook and Google reigning supreme. Pinterest, LinkedIn and TikTok, to name a few, are all showing promising returns on ad spend. Create mobile-specific content and diversify ad spend across platforms to increase ROI. – Krishan Arora, The Arora Project.

7. Create Content That Aligns With Your Values

First, ensure that your messaging and content align with the mission, values, culture and value proposition of your company. Second, ensure that every asset you produce consistently meets your brand and style guidelines. Third, maximize your opportunities to reuse and repurpose assets for cross-channel syndication while ensuring that they are optimized for each platform and device. – David Hall, GeniusVets.

8. Track Traffic To Optimize For Organic And Paid

Optimize your website for organic and paid traffic by tracking mobile page load speeds, implementing design and layout with mobile users in mind and using UTM codes to accurately track traffic. It’s imperative to know where traffic is coming from and which marketing efforts are actually working. – Melissa Litchfield, Litchfield Media.

9. Keep An Eye On Competitors And Emerging Tech

It is important for companies to keep up with the latest trends in digital and mobile marketing. Three ways that your company can improve its digital and mobile marketing this year include improving customer data, keeping an eye on competitors and taking advantage of opportunities with emerging technologies, such as 5G, AI and machine learning. – David Rollo, Acronym.

10. Review The Past Year’s Data

Take a look at your statistics from the past 12 months and identify key areas where you can improve in the next six months. Data will show you what’s actually working with the new norms of digital marketing and point out areas that you’re losing customers along their journey. Test everything on mobile devices with real customers and ask the hard questions at each click. – Darrell Keezer, Candybox Marketing.

11. Repurpose Content Into Different Formats

As brands work to create engaging content despite fewer resources and reduced budgets in 2021, there will be a bigger focus on repurposing content. By turning one asset into something else—say, a blog post into a podcast episode or YouTube video—you’ll maximize the investment and give your brand a holistic feel that will drastically improve user experience. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures.

12. Optimize The Post-Click Experience For Mobile

A post-click experience is essential and must be optimized for mobile. Nailing the ad and getting the user to click is just half the job; the other half is getting people to purchase on your landing page or website. The post-click experience has to be seamless and frictionless to maximize conversions. – Ralph Burns, Tier 11

13. Examine Audience Intent Data

The most important step you can take is to better understand your audience, and quality data offers the most effective way to do that. We recommend intent data to fuel campaign efforts across all stages of the buyer’s journey and, above all, to understand and identify decision makers who are ready to buy. This level of insight gives marketers greater accuracy in targeting and higher campaign ROI. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.

14. Maximize Media Efficiency

The key to improving digital and mobile marketing is maximizing media efficiency; that is, make sure that every media buy targets your ideal customer and is delivered at the right time and to the right place. To do that effectively, consistently and at scale, companies should utilize the analytical and self-optimization capabilities that AI and deep learning have to offer. – Jeremy Fain, Cognitive.

Set the perfect digital marketing strategy for your clinic with Perform Practice Solutions. We can truly help you build your business with efficiency and success. Give us a call today at (833) 764-0178  — and also we’d love to see you join our Facebook community.


Reference: [https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2021/06/22/14-ways-for-companies-to-improve-digital-and-mobile-marketing-in-2021/?sh=32861c4e8d5d]


Recurring Billing Issues: 7 Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

We know that recurring billing isn’t a straightforward process. Billing errors can and do happen – and happen often. However, they are 100% avoidable. Learn more about some common challenges and how to overcome them. Consider going beyond with a provider who has your growth in mind. Perform Practice Solutions offers a transparent physical therapy billing platform that shows you exactly where your dollars are, creating a streamlined system to optimize cash flow. You’ll actually have far more money in your pocket. Let us explain with a complimentary consultation to discuss.

Are you finding it increasingly difficult to manage your growing subscribers? Is retention becoming a challenge, or are you losing out on revenue opportunities like upselling? If you face challenges like these, then it’s likely that your billing has become a thorny issue.

You’re not alone – growing SaaS companies often find themselves grappling with the sheer complexity of the recurring billing process. If left unchecked, this results in high churn and low acquisition rates, which become roadblocks to your growth.

Here are some of the common recurring billing issues subscription companies may face and how you can overcome them:

  1. Unscalable Billing Infrastructure
  2. Loss of Revenue Due to Failed Payments
  3. Growing Complexity of the Invoicing Process
  4. Insufficient Operational Rigour
  5. Increasing Difficulty in Recognizing Revenue
  6. Lack of Third-Party Integrations
  7. Inability to Support Global Expansion

1. Unscalable Billing Infrastructure

Most subscription billing companies find themselves at a crossroads on whether to build their billing system or use one of the available solutions in the market. Building billing in-house may seem like a cost-effective option. However, in the long run; it is an inefficient solution for the following reasons:

Managing Growing Customers

As you scale, every additional subscriber, pricing change, supporting different payment methods, upgrade and downgrade requests, flexible billing, and prorations will exponentially add to the code complexity. At this point, running an in-house billing system will feel like running a second product within your core product, which brings us to the second reason.

Time Sensitivity

Any SaaS business on the road to scaling fast should be able to experiment with pricing, discount coupons, and trial management rapidly. However, with a substantial operational dependency on the company resources to maintain a homegrown billing system (still not as powerful as a third-party recurring billing solution), it might take months or more.

Compliance

Beyond operations, there’s also the matter of security. With your billing system collecting sensitive payment and personal information, compliance to PCI-DSS to a broader regulation like the GDPR and accounting standards like ASC 606 is a must.

On these grounds, it is more viable to use existing recurring billing platforms than building your billing in-house. Billing solutions like Chargebee can streamline your recurring billing, plug the revenue leaks, and make subscription management a breeze with features like:

  •       customizable billing logic,
  •       automated proration handling,
  •       grandfathering,
  •       usage-based billing,
  •       consolidated invoicing, and more.

The same holds if you’re deciding to go for a payment gateway rather than a billing software for two main reasons:

A growing business will soon outgrow the modest billing capabilities of a gateway.

Another fundamental advantage that a billing software has over a gateway is that it is designed to be integrated with multiple payment gateways and payment methods, which helps in;

o   market expansion through multiple payment methods, and

o   minimizing the risk of high payment failures that come with being locked in with one payment gateway.

For more details on the product-level (and service-level) capabilities, you should look for in a recurring billing system, check out our guide on getting started with subscription billing software.

2. Loss of Revenue Due to Failed Payments

It’s one thing when your customers choose to stop paying, but it’s more painful to lose revenue due to churn when your customers didn’t intend to stop paying – and that’s involuntary churn. It could happen for various reasons, from insufficient funds to maxed-out credit cards to even connectivity issues.

About 20-40% of churn is usually from involuntary churn. But here’s the good news – almost all of it is avoidable. For instance, Whiteboard reduced involuntary churn and increased their MRR by 35%.

You can reduce churn through superior dunning management. Dunning is the process of retrying payment attempts and sending payment reminders to customers when a transaction gets declined.

Here are a few methods that you can use to avoid loss of revenue due to involuntary churn:

  •       Pre-dunning emails – send out an email to your customer reminding them that their card details are about to expire.
  •       Backup payment methods – set up backup payment methods for each customer to immediately fall back on when the first payment method fails.
  •       Create dunning personas – group your customers into dunning personas based on their ticket sizes, geo-location, and what kind of payment process you have in place for them (invoice-based payments vs. automated card and online wallet payments). Use these personas to tailor retry cycles.

Additionally, it’s more effective to see the payment failure life cycle as a whole and implement tactics that complement each other through every stage. So, here’s a list of 23 ways to reduce involuntary churn across six lifecycle stages of payment failure.

3. Growing Complexity of the Invoicing Process

If you’re spending weeks creating invoices and chasing payments, it’s high time you choose to automate the process efficiently.

Here are a few steps to ensure you improve your invoicing process:

Say No to Cookie-Cutter Invoices

Invoices are often ignored branding opportunities. Billing materials like invoices and even dunning emails are great places to implement customization. A robust tool should enable you to tailor your invoices to your brand and your customer – including the color scheme, address format, payment details, and more.

Ensure Transparency

Charge exactly when your customers should be charged and charge precisely for what your customers use. Make sure all the information is broken down into a clear, understandable format.

Consolidate Invoicing

When you have a customer with multiple subscriptions incurring multiple charges for the subscription, instead of sending one invoice every time such a change occurs, it is more efficient to send a consolidated invoice.

Here’s a sample of an invoice that consolidates charges for a customer:

Don’t Invoice for Every New Charge

The creation of subscription-related charges should be kept separate from the actual invoicing. For instance, you can add them to unbilled charges. This becomes useful for businesses allow customers to make changes to the subscriptions in the middle of the billing cycle, like;

  • upgrades or downgrades,
  • switching to a different plan,
  • attaching add-ons in the middle of the subscription term, and
  • adding a one-time charge or any other additions or changes to the subscription.

Invoice in Advance

Sometimes customers want to send an invoice before the actual subscription start or renewal date. Advance invoicing comes in handy to schedule your billing to budget for on-time shipping or accommodate a sudden hike in demand for a non-renewing subscription.

Send Out Reminders

Finally, remind your customers a particular number of days before the invoice is due.

4. Insufficient Operational Rigour

Like the importance of having the right weapons at war, the right metrics for business make all the difference. In SaaS, there exists an armory of shiny metrics. Some of the most critical SaaS metrics include MRR, Churn, Recurring Profit Margins (ARR, less the number of canceled subscriptions and the non-growth spend), and Growth Efficiency (the amount it costs to get $1 annual contract value).

Beyond looking at these metrics individually, a combination of various metrics can give you way more actionable insights to be able to answer critical questions like:

  •       Are you making more money than you’re losing?
  •       Which feature is attracting the most revenue?
  •       Is your free plan attracting the right customers?
  •       How long should your trial period be?
  •       How are your new pricing plan changes impacting your business?
  •       Is your customer churn a sales problem or a value problem?

Answering these questions is not easy. You need reports and dashboards that give you actionable insights on what worked and what didn’t.

And for this, you need an analytics tool that gives you a 360° view of your business growth on one dashboard and lets you go deeper into analyzing your metrics to identify your best revenue maximization opportunities.

Diagnose your recurring revenue issues in an instant. Nail down on what’s affecting your revenue now by identifying possible conditions, problems, and resolutions in your subscription flow with RevenueMD by answering a few basic questions.

5. Increasing Difficulty in Recognizing Revenue

Revenue recognition might be simple when you’re starting as a fledgling company. But as you grow, reconciliation and recognition will become complex in terms of time and resources spent.

Here are two key points to note:

  •       Full-scale automation is a necessity for large-scale reconciliation.
  •       Similarly, to efficiently recognize revenue – even without including other complex factors like proration – you need the help of built-in reports.

Hence, it is critical for your SaaS subscription management platform to scale with your business – automate reconciliation and have built-in reports to recognize revenue.

For instance, Chargebee-Xero integration simplifies your accounting process by automatically syncing invoices and related details to the Xero account. It reduces the manual effort spent exporting invoices from Chargebee, importing them into Xero, and increasing data accuracy.

On this note, let’s discuss the next common recurring billing challenge.

6. Lack of Third-Party Integrations

Traditionally, billing might have been a siloed process, only restricted to the finance vertical. But in reality, billing spans different business functions like sales, reporting and analytics, marketing, and customer support. Each of these verticals communicates with each other and needs subscription information to perform their roles. For instance, the sales team needs to pull up subscriber information instantly to issue discounts or coupons. Or, the customer support team needs the same information to address a specific customer’s request. In such a case, you need complete billing system software as a single source of truth to streamline your entire subscription billing process across all business functions. And a proven and efficient way of doing that is through integrations.

To give you an example, Chargebee Integrations covers various business functions like finance, e-commerce, reporting and analytics, marketing, collaboration, sales, and customer support, with close to 40 integrations.

7. Inability to Support Global Expansion

Supporting multiple payment methods, currencies, and various tax rules is the holy grail of any recurring billing system worth its salt. Why?

To penetrate global markets successfully, you need to overcome the challenges that come with international transactions.

When you are foraying into new markets overseas, you also need to meet local tax requirements and compliance with accounting standards. Apart from having your billing architecture take care of localization (multi-currency pricing), support global payment methods and gateways, automating tax computations are vital.

If your payment system isn’t flexible, it will deter you from what’s most important to you – which is growing your business. You need a tech stack that can help you experiment rapidly with pricing.

Best Practices for SaaS Billing

In going through how to overcome the common recurring billing challenges, we have gone through many efficient courses of action. However, to recap, here’s a snapshot of the best practices for SaaS billing:

Increase Reliability with Billing Automation 

Reduce your response time – remove developer dependencies, handle complex recurring billing scenarios, eliminate manual errors, and accommodate unique buying cycles – with the help of automation for streamlined billing.

Enhance Visibility with Analytics

Take decisive actions with comprehensive subscription analytics – find blind spots (revenue leakages) like churn and hidden gold mines (revenue opportunities) like upsell and cross-sell avenues.

Proactively Reduce Churn 

Reduce churn with a robust subscription management platform that can significantly improve your processes for better customer experience, leading to better retention.

Drive Efficiency with Revenue Operations 

Achieve strategic alignment throughout your revenue-driving functions – marketing, sales, operations, finance, and customer success – across the entire customer lifecycle to drive uninhibited growth.

For detailed information on enabling hyper-growth with revenue operations, visit our Guide to Revenue Operations for a High-Growth SaaS.

In Conclusion

We can see that recurring billing isn’t a straightforward process. Billing errors can and do happen. However, these billing mistakes can be avoidable, and they can be resolved.

Go beyond billing with a provider who has your growth in mind. A robust billing system can help you improve customer retention by providing a stellar billing experience and increasing ARPU through upsell add-ons or promotions using coupons. It can also help you stay on top of your sales cycle by having metrics at your fingertips, and a lot more.

Reference:https://www.chargebee.com/blog/recurring-billing-issues/

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