The process of billing has always been complicated, and we’re well acquainted with the additional complexities that accompany a usage-based pricing (UBP) strategy. Running a UBP billing process involves a multitude of steps, and the more complex and nuanced your pricing is, the more work that’s required to calculate what goes on a customer’s bill.
Our first two articles in this series walked you through the effects of UBP on billing operations and what your financial teams need to know about implementing a UBP strategy. Now that we’ve gone in-depth on this topic, we’ll run you through how m3ter deals with these complexities in billing.
m3ter was built to tackle the pricing complexities that are typical of scaling SaaS businesses (i.e., for those companies which have achieved early success and are now focused on growth and where Sales have an increasing influence on results). We do this by anticipating the needs of (and bridging the gaps between) Finance and Sales teams at four key stages in the UBP process: metering, rating, billing, and integrations.
The metering stage involves ingesting, normalizing, transforming, and storing usage and cost data – at scale.
m3ter does this by allowing you to flexibly define usage tracking that is specific to your business. You can apply custom logic on the fly at ingest and capture multiple attributes per measurement, depending on what you need.
As mentioned above, we do this at scale, ingesting tens of thousands of measurements per second. This data can be taken from any source – whether API, file-based API, message queue, or Segment – and with full idempotence support.
The rating stage is about applying pricing to usage data. And since every business is different, m3ter can support a broad range of pricing models and billing logic – basically anything you can think of.
We offer powerful features to define how m3ter processes raw usage data to create billable events. You can apply custom logic to any measurement attribute or combination thereof, deploy a wide range of any aggregation functions (SUM, MAX etc), and segmentation based on measurement attributes helps avoid pricing SKU proliferation.
Then we offer a broad library of pricing logic options. We support any combination of recurring subscriptions and consumption-based elements. For the latter, you can apply a range of pricing models, including volume pricing, tiered pricing, or stair step pricing. You can set allowances and overages, one-time fees, and standing charges at a granular level. You can bundle different products and discounts based on combinations. And complex credit-based systems like Snowflake’s are elegantly accommodated.
Finally, you have sophisticated billing and post-rating logic options. You can decide when to bill (any period, frequency, or billing date), and whether billing is in advance or arrears. You can operate complex prepayment and drawdown systems. And you can accommodate complex parent/child account structures, and apply discounts and credits to bills on an ad hoc basis.
This stage involves reviewing and approving bill amounts and delivering them to downstream invoicing systems.
m3ter covers all the key capabilities:
Approval workflows – m3ter will automatically calculate bills based on any schedule, including any unique, customer-specific billing dates. Bills are then available for review by billing operations teams via a three-state workflow (pending, approved, & locked).
Access management controls – Assign access privileges by user and task.
Querying and validating data – With Data Explorer, you have access to powerful querying of data, from usage to spend to drawdown against commitments.
Revenue recognition – Our RevRec module enables you to configure and automate your revenue calculations on a per-customer basis, and then deliver them to the GL.
The final stage is integration with your downstream systems. m3ter can be seamlessly integrated with your existing quote-to-cash tooling, with native integrations currently offered for NetSuite, Salesforce, Stripe, Paddle, and Chargebee; with QuickBooks, and Xero in beta (and more on the way). These are easily configurable, transparent, and robust syncs which only need to be set up once.
m3ter’s native integrations also include a UI for non-technical users, enabling them to manage data object mappings, configuration, and review sync processes.
Need something different? If you have a system not covered by our native integrations, m3ter is flexible: utilize our iPaaS partnership to quickly obtain point solutions or build your own custom integrations with our open API.
Billing is never simple, but with m3ter, the complexities can be abstracted in the right way, allowing you to deploy the right usage-based pricing for your business, but without compromising control. Rather than being an add-on component for an in-house UBP solution, m3ter is one complete solution to fill the gap in the quote-to-cash stack.
Implementation is easier than you might expect – it’s just four steps to get up and running:
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