VP of Operations and Finance
Connects Salesforce to Stripe to use payment provider as a billing management system and centralize finance and operational data to streamline workflows/operations and reporting
Segments accounts by payment status and tier to ensure high-value accounts always appear at top of support queue
Automates customer retention tracking to accurately and responsively track customer churn, enabling the company to accurately forecast revenue vs. retention rates
Enables automated processing for self-service accounts as part of company’s rapidly developing freemium business channel
The firm is growing rapidly, and exploring new directions for product, such as a freemium offering that will enable an entirely new segment of self-serve users to become customers, with minimal overhead for its customer success team.
While the company has entered an exciting growth phase, it had to conquer several operational and finance-related challenges to get there.
First and foremost, the company needed a way to streamline its customer success operations to focus its support resources on top-tier, paying customers. The finance leader’s services are popular with many businesses, but the downside of being popular is having a sizable support queue containing many help requests, including a significant number coming from non-paying accounts at free trial status. Customer success was unaware of which customers were paying, client billing schedules, and intervals. This weighed on finance, which had to always research these issues and report back.
The company also had operational challenges with data flows between its application (like many SaaS applications, it requires customers to cancel their accounts within the application itself to avoid verification issues), its payment processing software/billing management system Stripe, and its CRM, Salesforce. The lack of integrations between systems led to several operational issues. For example, the company experienced difficulty in reconciling bookings from its CRM vs. revenue from billings stored in the company’s accounting systems (integrated with Stripe). The company needed this information to track collection status on commissions - an especially slow and painstaking process. The lack of integrations also prevented the company from forecasting revenues by knowing which accounts were scheduled to churn at the end of their subscription term - an incredibly useful tool for a SaaS business.
Another challenge the company faced as it launched its new offering was logging self-transactions for freemium customers. Because the initial version of the offering had no native integration to Stripe or Salesforce, there was no real visibility into tracking freemium leads as they converted to opportunities and eventually to contracted customers. Not having regularly updated metrics made it difficult to gauge the success of the freemium product on any given day.
The finance leader understood that one of its biggest pain points was integrating its CRM with its payment processing software, which the team intended to use as a source of truth to track its customers’ subscription levels and payment status. It evaluated its options, including a simpler, down-market integration solution that ultimately ended up being too limited for its needs, which included multiple use cases for both Stripe and Salesforce for its customer team, finance team, and for future strategic planning.
The company decided to search for a solution that would provide the extended functionality it needed to drill down into account-level segmentation, commission calculations, and customer retention stats while being user-friendly enough to adopt by its various business users. It would be important to have an easy-to-use solution for non-technical team members to dive into the inner workings of a Stripe-to-Salesforce integration to fine-tune it.
“Tray.io had greater customer service and flexibility to get us up and running in a scalable and timely manner as well as providing greater functionality than the competition. As we built more workflows, the platform became more intuitive, and we could pretty much self-sustain after the appropriate training. As we grow, we will continue to use the Tray Platform to become more efficient across the organization to free up resources on tasks that are essential to running the business, but allow us to focus on more value-added activities,” says the firm’s head of finance, who, after leading the charge on the Tray.io integration, established a degree of credibility in his ability to operate as well as manage finance, and shortly thereafter became the company’s VP of Operations as well as Finance.
By using Tray.io’s flexible General Automation Platform, the company was able to sync Stripe and Salesforce to ensure the company could constantly, and automatically, update all customer records, particularly for payment status, as well as to assist marketing and sales ops in lead recording and conversions to paying customers.
“What we were looking to do was increase efficiencies in our organization to free up bandwidth for things like saving at-risk accounts. You need good data to be effective there,” explains the VP. “We needed data integrity, which resulted from the centralization of information.”
The company was able to realize many powerful benefits from working with Tray.io. For instance, by integrating Stripe with Salesforce to provide visibility and sorting for paid accounts vs. free accounts, the company was able to intelligently deploy its valuable support resources to ensure its most valuable customers remained happy. This also translated into tremendous time savings for sales ops in calculating commissions, approximately 10 hours per month as well as about three additional hours per month dealing with billing issues.
In addition, by syncing its customer retention records from Stripe into Salesforce, it was not only better positioned to proactively retain more customers, but also to form baseline estimates for churn against its monthly revenue. With this new degree of visibility and automation, the company was much better positioned to allocate its resources towards growth initiatives, including but not limited to the execution of the launch of the company’s freemium offering. In addition the VP states that “Tray.io gave me efficiency because of the timeliness of the info I could provide, and freed up resources in customer success, sales and marketing, and finance.”
The Tray.io integration enabled the finance team to drastically streamline its processes to capture strong time savings that enable the team to focus on high-level strategy, rather than number-crunching. The VP suggests that having the Tray Platform integration allowed him to track when a freemium customer converted to a paying customer through a self-transacting process. Before Tray.io, there was no way to know if a customer self-transacted or if it was the result of inside sales.
With the time savings and clear finance visibility that Tray.io has afforded it, the finance leader is forging ahead on strategic initiatives. It’s incorporating new stack components into its integrations, such as the customer messaging platform Intercom, and combining them with intel from emails and exit surveys. By doing this, the company is taking a much more proactive stance to grow customer retention by centralizing customer feedback in a single place.
The company is also continuing to develop its rapidly growing freemium program. By building a workflow that accurately records leads as they come in through the company’s freemium program, it’s positioned to grow an entirely new audience from this channel at scale.