23 Jul Enhance your business: Choosing the right billing tool
by Ashley Crosswhite
Let’s be honest: managing a business can be a hassle. Keeping track of prices, sales, bills, quotes, models, discounts, and more can be a huge drain on your time and energy. Thankfully, dedicated software can make the process faster, easier, and more reliable. There are dozens of such programs out there, but three stand out as leaders in the field: Salesforce, Zuora, and Apttus.
In this article, we’re going to compare these services to find out which is right for you. We’ll discuss their respective prices, features, and customer reviews, and you’ll be equipped to make the best decision for you and your customers.
Each of Salesforce’s services has a separate pricing plan, letting you only pay for what you need. The analytics service costs $75/month, their suggested plan for sales and customer service will run you $175/month, and so on. The sheer flexibility of their pricing plans makes Salesforce a candidate for any business. It’s the only one of the three in which small businesses (less than 50 employees) make up a large portion of their customer base.
Zuora differs in that it doesn’t offer set plans; instead, they charge a setup fee and then charge monthly based on revenue. Not much concrete pricing information is available online, but the general consensus is that the steep initial cost (in the thousands of dollars) and the revenue-based cost is hard for small businesses to afford, and thus, Zuora is better suited for mid-sized companies (50 to 1000 employees).
Apttus doesn’t publish prices on their site, but a little digging shows that Apttus works primarily with large businesses. In fact, over 58% of their customers are large businesses (over 1000 employees). Thus, Apttus may be out of the price range for smaller companies, though if you have enough capital and revenue to merit the service, it can prove to be a valuable tool.
Salesforce’s main draw is that they offer a dozen different services which you can pick and choose per your business’s needs. These include customer service, data analytics, marketing, productivity, and more. This makes Salesforce an excellent option for virtually any business.
Zuora offers an order-to-cash service that streamlines the entire process from start to finish. It’s broken down into six “engines” that handle the different aspects of the sales process, with the three primary engines managing subscription orders, rating, and global payments. They also pride themselves on being the world’s only subscription order-to-cash platform.
Apttus offers many tools for large businesses. Like Zuora, they feature an order-to-cash program; additionally, they offer contract management, quote configuration, contract management, revenue management, and more. This robust toolkit can be incredibly valuable, but it’s also tailored for businesses with a lot of capital and experience, making it somewhat inaccessible.
It’s worth noting that the three programs aren’t strictly competitors; indeed, many businesses use multiple billing services, as they actually supplement each other quite well. If you have the need and the capital, it may be worth investing in multiple tools.
When researching a product or service, it’s always good to see what other users have said from firsthand experience. G2 is a web service that collects and compares customer satisfaction information for thousands of pieces of software, and for this section, that’s what I’ll be referencing.
Salesforce has managed to build a loyal customer base, and after reading some reviews, it’s obvious why. Salesforce customers have access to an excellent support network that never leaves customers unsatisfied. Many have praised Salesforce’s competitive pricing and vast suite of services. In fact, not a single customer left a dissatisfied review (the lowest was 3.5/5), which gives Salesforce the highest overall satisfaction rating of the three.
Zuora has many similarly satisfied customers. It’s often praised for its efficient integration, and many have said that it fills all of the needs of their company and then some. However, regarding complaints, there’s a disconcerting common thread: customer support. Many users have had trouble setting up Zuora, given its steep learning curve, and working with support is said to be notably tricky. If you’re not exactly tech-savvy, Zuora may not be the best choice for you.
Apttus doesn’t fare much better. Many customers love Apttus for its flexible, powerful services and its robust, powerful nature. That said, it’s challenging to master, and unless you have decades of experience in the field, you’ll likely spend a lot of time troubleshooting. Fortunately, though many complain about the difficulty, none complain about customer service. Apttus also has a fair number of customers complaining about bugs, errors, and crashes, and these complaints have only gotten more frequent recently, so it might be better to hold off on working with Apttus until these issues are resolved.
At the end of the day, no one product will be the best for everyone. That said, Salesforce’s top-notch customer approval ratings, flexible pricing plans, and variety of services mean that it will work well for businesses of any size and function. Salesforce is your go-to place to get started with an elevated billing setup in your organization.
Ashley is a Senior Consultant here at Simplus. She’s an experienced Change Management consultant and Technical Instructor with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry.