by Clement Wang
Hi, this is Clement Wang— I run the Product Management team at Zuora. The hallmark of the SaaS model is that customers get automatic product updates with zero effort. Here at Zuora, we’re pushing the envelope with product updates every month—that’s five times the innovation of the average SaaS company, which generally offers updates 2 or 3 times a year . In fact, our latest monthly release just came out last week, and I thought I’d share with you some of the great new features, and the customer use cases that inspired us to build these features.
Custom Roles & Permissions: Our new Custom Roles and Permissions feature allows administrators to control what each user can do in the system, based on their roles. What can you use this for? How about to pass audits? Jessica Huber, Controller at LiveOffice, uses Zuora as a full revenue subledger. When it came time for year-end audits, Jessica needed to lock down sensitive financial operations, such as the ability to delete accounts or cancel posted invoices in order to prepare for an upcoming audit. With the new Custom Roles and Permissions feature, Jessica was able to create a roles specific to different members of her team, consolidating control and authority to a trusted few members of her team. In fact, Jessica was even able to create a custom role for the auditor to use while performing the audit!
Auto-Renew in Advance: Our new Auto-Renew in Advance feature allows users to easily send bills to customers in advance of upcoming renewals. Not only does this accelerate cash collections and increase upsells, but predicting revenue from renewals is much easier. Lisa Bailey, VP of Business Operations at InsideView likes to bill her customers 15 to 30 days before the end of their subscription term, which allows her sales tem to start the renewal process early. It also ensures that her customers do not have any uninterrupted service from any contract renegotiations. Auto-Renew in Advance allows Lisa to use billing as a tool to help grow her business by maximizing revenue, improve forecasting of cash flows and collecting cash faster.
Account Key Metrics: Zuora is now the only vendor that provides current monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and Contracted MRR (representing all MRR under contract, including those that take effect in the future). These key metrics are now displayed prominently alongside other key account metrics when viewing the account. For Jason Seed, CEO of Codesion (formerly CVSDude), this is huge. “Now I not only know where my business stands today overall, but I can see the value of each customer today or in the future, all in one account screen.”
Multiple Merchant Accounts or Payment Gateways: Zuora’s Multiple Merchant Account or Payment Gateways feature allows companies of any size to process different billing accounts through different Payment Gateways or Merchant Accounts. Each Billing Account in Zuora can be assigned to a particular payment gateway configuration, providing maximum flexibility to support things like white label/partner selling, and international payment optimization. One of our customers will use this capability to support white-label resellers. Payments on products sold by a partner go through a different payment gateway than those sold direct, allowing payments to be distributed to the appropriate parties. Several of our international customers will use a different gateway for European customers vs. U.S. customers in order to maximize the types of payments they accept and optimize processing fees and acceptance rates.
Support for Paymentech: Zuora gives customers more flexibility to use preferred payment gateway vendors to process payments. With the integration to Chase/Paymentech, Zuora customers can now process recurring and one-time payments through one of the largest payment processors in the U.S. An early user of this capability is Ricoh, who had a corporate-wide contract with Chase/Paymentech for preferred rates on processing payments. By seamlessly integrating Chase/Paymentech into Z-Payments, Zuora can now process payments through all the major payment gateways.