SquadStack automates complex billing with Zenskar to save 120 engineering hours a month
SquadStack automates complex billing with Zenskar to save 120 engineering hours a month
Usage Based Billing

SquadStack automates complex billing with Zenskar to save 120 engineering hours a month

By switching from an in-house setup to Zenskar, SquadStack handled its pricing complexity, automated intricate invoice generation logic, and reduced load on its engineering and finance teams.
INDUSTRY
SaaS
REGION
India
INTEGRATIONS
Zoho Books

About SquadStack

SquadStack is an AI-driven sales outsourcing platform that boosts client conversion rates with a fully managed on-demand network of remote inside sales agents.

With over 7 million sales agents selling products and services to over 200 million consumers, SquadStack handles more than 100K customer calls daily managing over 170K+ leads daily.

SquadStack’s pricing complexity

SquadStack’s billing was based on usage of their services - SMS and email units sent, call and WhatsApp usage times by the sales agents, as well as the outcomes delivered - leads reached, processed and converted. Further, a single client could have multiple campaigns with different pricing structures.

They supported both prepaid and postpaid cases. Their tiered pricing that defined certain usage limits and minimum commitments. Contract terms such as complex proration and conditional credits roll over added substantial complexity to their invoicing.

Being a sales-led offering with a custom pricing option, the sales team constantly negotiated several more intricacies and created diverse plans to better serve their prospects. The customers could choose to pay a portion of the charges upfront. This was in addition to the account, outreach and campaign level discounts. This added another layer of complexity to an already complicated pricing model.

The limitations of an in-house billing system

SquadStack started their journey with an in-house billing system. However, as their business grew and their requirements evolved, the limitations of the approach became evident.

Burden on the engineering team

Building and managing the in-house billing system became a strain on the engineering team. Everytime pricing evolved or billing requirements changed, the engineers had to spend time building it into their system.

The continuous support and ad hoc requests related to billing operations cut into engineering bandwidth. This was beginning to overload the team, causing delays in the product development, and inevitably missing their key KRAs.

Manual efforts by the finance team

Bridging system deficiencies required manual hours that burdened the finance team. Contract terms like minimum commitment, custom credits rollover were difficult to accommodate in the internal billing tool, and needed to be manually handled by the finance department.

They faced challenges in directly accessing usage information, relying heavily on engineering to generate invoices manually.

SquadStack discovered that the combination of an in-house billing system and manual invoicing was unsustainable for them. Recognizing the growing challenges, they sought a robust external billing solution to replace their in-house tool.

Despite exploring various billing solutions, none could adequately handle the intricacies of SquadStack’s pricing and unique use cases.

Why SquadStack chose Zenskar

The SquadStack team found Zenskar while exploring billing solutions. They signed up for the sandbox without a lot of expectations and realized it checked all their boxes.

  • Handle pricing complexity
  • Automate billing processes
  • Reduce engineering dependency
  • Accessible and easy to use by all the teams involved
  • Iterate and evolve with pricing models and billing needs

SquadStack evaluated and implemented Zenskar in phases during their free pilot.

The usage data was connected with Zenskar to check the ease of connection and reliability of the usage transfer. The team implemented several test cases to ensure their pricing complexity can be handled. Zenskar’s integrations allowed the engineering team to easily connect their existing systems.

How Zenskar solved SquadStack’s billing challenge

Complex and custom pricing made easy

Zenskar was built to solve complex billing use cases.

Our advanced contract builder uses a graphical data model to create complex pricing models as a series of simple pricing nodes connected through a logical workflow using a drag-and-drop editor. This modular approach to store pricing terms as objects in a graph allows any model to be configured easily. This enabled the team to configure intricacies such as minimum commitment, set up fees, account and campaign level discounts etc.

The engineering team could create any pricing plan within minutes with the advanced editor. The plans took into account the flexibility that non tech teams needed to make custom contracts without any custom code.

Transparency with usage reports

SquadStack’s usage data was sent to Zenskar via API connection near real-time. Some of the usage metrics that were aggregated by SquadStack’s system in-house were sent in batches.

Zenskar also supports usage tracking outside of billing and invoicing since its architecture decouples contracts and usage. This meant SquadStack could add consumption information to the invoices even if it wasn’t an invoice line item. This was handled by the finance team manually before switching to Zenskar.

Every month, SquadStack sends its customers their usage information along with the invoice for transparency. This was another initiative that Zenskar could automate. The communications module enabled sending custom emails to their customers. This was used to configure and send consumption reports to their customers along with the invoices.

Seamless invoicing

Before Zenskar, the finance team had to handle a portion of their billing manually since it could not be configured into their billing system.

The invoice amounts were calculated on spreadsheets built on top of the usage reports and contract terms. Terms like minimum commitments were completely tracked on spreadsheets. About half of their contracts had a custom rollover of their credits to the next month. This also had to be handled case by case previously. Account or campaign level invoice splits also had to be accommodated manually.

The invoices were generated on Zoho based on the amounts manually calculated and the tax component added through the platform.

The overall process was tedious and time-consuming for the team.

By configuring all of their pricing complexity and esoteric invoice logic into the Zenskar platform, the finance team was able to automate invoice generation. The usage reports were also automated with Zenskar. This saved them from hours of grunt work.

The finance team reviewed and approved the invoices and passed them to the account executives to verify and finalize them. Once the invoice was approved on both levels, it was sent to their Zoho account automatically through Zenskar’s integration for tax computation to be added.

Pricing experimentation

The product team could not experiment with SquadStack’s pricing before Zenskar due to the limitations of the in-house setup. The pricing structure was rigid since the internal system could not be reconfigured from time to time. Since the team did not know how their pricing would evolve, they could not afford to build different pricing models just to experiment.

This is a common limitation most in-house systems face. Most companies do not have the engineering bandwidth to build and perfect a dynamic environment that can support pricing iteration.

After switching, the team began offering prepaid and postpaid plans to their customers to a segment of their customers. They are also experimenting with a pricing component in the form of an upfront fee at the start of the billing cycle.

Impact delivered

Engineering saves 120 hours/quarter with a robust system

Engineering invested bandwidth in setting up their billing on Zenskar once, to set up processes that met the needs of all of the teams involved. They could create custom processes that met their specific needs with Zenskar.

SquadStack could support iterative requirements and evolving pricing models.

This saved them from having to expand the capabilities of their inhouse system. They no longer had to periodically invest engineering bandwidth to support billing requirements. They essentially future proofed their billing system.

Shalini estimates this saved the engineering team 80 hours/quarter if not more. Time that is redirected to the team’s core deliverables - to build more features, and release them faster. The team no longer had to delay product launches to help with billing and were now better placed to meet their OKRs.

Finance team saves 180 hours a month by automation

Automating billing with Zenskar ensured accurate invoicing without the finance team’s intervention. The team no longer had to manually manage the rollover of credits, minimum commitment etc. This also rid them of invoicing errors. The team no longer had to create monthly usage reports, Zenskar automatically sent them with the invoices.

This saved the teams about 180 hours every month that went into manual billing.

2% increase in revenue with pricing experimentation

The introduction of minimum guarantee and offering the flexibility for their customers to pay prepaid or postpaid was just one of the pricing experiments Squasdstack performed.

By introducing a mix of product pricing strategies and offering more flexibility, SquadStack was able to capture more demand from the existing customer segment in the form of various campaigns. This led to a 4% increase in SquadStack's monthly revenue.

The sales team could now offer new pricing plans without any concerns about their ability to support them.

Easier collaboration, happier teams

The platform could be used by tech and non-tech users with ease. The reduction of dependencies between the teams meant fewer requests and ad hoc tasks additions to the teams.

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