How businesses can manage software subscriptions (SaaS)
March 3, 2023
By Adriana Amato
A colleague (dare I say a friend) recently shared a great tip for increasing your marketing budget: review your tech stack and cancel any unused subscriptions. It's like finding a forgotten $20 bill in your pocket or between the couch cushions - a simple way to boost your budget without any extra effort.
Checking the couch and the pockets of your business is a little more difficult. It's not easy to keep track of all your business subscriptions, especially when they're spread across different platforms and payment methods. This lack of visibility leads to:
- Increased exposure to fraudulent activity: With subscriptions spread across different platforms and payment methods, it can be easy for unauthorised transactions to slip through the cracks
- Wasted time: Manually processing payments for each subscription can be time-consuming and prone to errors, leading to unnecessary costs.
- Wasted money: Without a centralised system for managing subscriptions, it can be easy to accidentally duplicate subscriptions or pay for something you aren't using
Ideally, you need a centralised spot to review these, cancel and negotiate as needed.
That's where Weel comes in - a subscription tool that manages all your subscriptions in one central location. (Yes, a subscription to manage your subscriptions - how meta).
With Weel, your finance team can create a unique card number for every merchant, which protects your privacy and keeps your personal bank details safe. Plus, you can easily track all your subscriptions and instantly create or cancel them as needed.
Recently our savvy CFO spotted multiple payments to Linkedin via marketing, HR and multiple salespeople. By bundling these separately billed tools from LinkedIn he was to negotiate and reduce our bill by 40%. Sorry, LinkedIn.
But that’s just our story. Let's dive a little deeper into the world of software subscription management.
How businesses can manage software subscriptions
Businesses are increasingly spending significant sums of money on software. Software subscriptions are becoming increasingly important for businesses both large and small, as the cost of software is becoming more and more expensive. At Weel approximately 20% of our monthly expenses are software. Yup - managing software subscriptions can be difficult, but it will pay off.
Keep reading, as we explore the benefits, tips and strategies businesses can employ to manage their software subscriptions effectively.
Benefits of managing software subscriptions
This one might be obvious, but the best place to start with subscription management is by asking the following questions:
- Are you actually using the subscription?
- Are you paying for duplicate subscriptions?
- Did you even sign up for this subscription? Is this a fraudulent transaction?
- Did you accidentally tick over to a high plan?
- Are you using all the features?
- Are you about to renew your subscription?
This will start to give you an idea of where you could be saving money.
Tips for selecting the right software subscription
In choosing the right software subscription for your business, it’s important to make sure that the subscription actually fits your business's needs. Are there extra tools and capabilities you’re paying for that you don’t need?
For example, Weel is an all-in-one spend management solution, that covers not just subscription management but also virtual cards, reimbursements, bill payments as well as the smart software that sits behind these tools to help track and control spending. If all you need is a subscription management tool, Hudled might be more suitable.
It's also important to consider the customer support offered by the software subscription provider. Make sure that the provider offers reliable customer support, so that you can get help quickly if you have any issues with the software. Additionally, you should check to see if the provider offers any discounts or promotions that could help you save money on your subscription.
Strategies for effectively managing software subscriptions
In order to effectively manage software subscriptions, there are several strategies businesses can employ. One of the most important is tracking usage and spending on software subscriptions. This helps businesses understand which subscriptions are being used and which ones are costing too much so that they can make informed decisions about which subscriptions to continue using and which ones to discontinue.
Using Weel for subscription management lets you allocate a fixed budget to each subscription. If the software vendor tries to charge you for more than what’s allocated in the budget, the transaction will decline and you’ll be notified.
Businesses should set up policies for how many users are allowed to access each subscription, or for how long each user can access each subscription. This helps ensure that subscriptions are used efficiently and cost-effectively.
Another strategy businesses can use is to review the terms of service for each subscription. You might have to nominate someone as your designated point guard on this - or at least show your team what they need to look out for. This helps businesses understand what features are included in each subscription, as well as any restrictions or limitations that may be in place. Additionally, businesses should review the renewal terms for each subscription, so that they can plan ahead and budget for any upcoming subscription renewals.
Finally, businesses should also consider setting up automated reminders for when subscriptions are due for renewal so that they can ensure that subscriptions are renewed on time. You can just use your calendar for this too. The worst thing is only realising after you have resubscribed that actually you don't want to use the tool anymore - but hey you have already rolled over to another 12 months.
Top tip: Have your employees submit a business case when asking for new software subscriptions. Download our Simple business case template here.
Common mistakes businesses make when managing software subscriptions
When managing software subscriptions, businesses often make several common mistakes. One of these is failing to understand the capabilities of each subscription and how they fit into their business model. Another common mistake is not tracking usage and spending on software subscriptions, which can cause businesses to waste money on unused features or licenses. Pretty soon you can end with a huge credit card bill. Additionally, businesses may not take advantage of features and bug fixes available through software updates, resulting in an older, less secure version of the software.
A further mistake businesses make is not taking the time to review their software subscriptions regularly. This can lead to businesses paying for features they no longer need or missing out on new features that could benefit their business. Additionally, businesses may not be aware of any changes to the terms and conditions of their software subscriptions, which could lead to unexpected costs or other issues.
The security benefits of tracking usage and spending on software subscriptions
Tracking usage and spending on software subscriptions can also help you identify any potential security risks, as it allows you to monitor which subscriptions are being used and by whom. This can help you ensure that only authorised personnel have access to sensitive data and that any suspicious activity is quickly identified and addressed. Additionally, tracking usage and spending can help you identify any potential compliance issues, as it allows you to ensure that all software subscriptions are up to date and in line with any relevant regulations.
Strategies for negotiating better prices on software subscriptions
Negotiating better prices on software subscriptions is one-way businesses can save money on their software costs. When negotiating prices with vendors, businesses should do their research on competitive pricing in order to understand what kind of discounts they should be able to get. Additionally, don't be afraid to ask for additional perks and discounts – such as reduced fees or extended support coverage – as vendors are often open to such requests. Finally, consider signing longer-term contracts in order to get better pricing – particularly if your business is a long-term customer of a particular vendor.
Considerations for automating software subscription management
Automating the process of managing software subscriptions can help businesses save time and money. Many different tools are available to help with this process, such as billing and management portals that allow businesses to track usage and spending in real-time. Obviously, if you are an Australian company we are a little biased but we favour Weel. Hudled also specialises in this so also check them out. Additionally, automation tools can help with managing multiple users and users’ permissions in one place, ensuring that only authorised users access certain features or services. Finally, automation tools can help with setting up notifications when contracts are about to expire or when user accounts need to be renewed.
How to find the best deals on software subscriptions
Finding the best deals on software subscriptions requires a bit of research, but it's well worth it for businesses who wish to save money. We always make sure we check websites such as Shopify and G2Crowd can give you an idea of what kind of deals other companies have been able to get from vendors. Additionally, using comparison websites such as TrustRadius or Software Advice can help as these websites allow you to compare different products in terms of pricing and features. Finally, contacting vendors directly can also provide better deals than what is available on comparison websites.
You don't get if you don't ask.