Online businesses are built on powerful platforms. For example, there’s Amazon Web Services for cloud apps, Paypal for peer-to-peer payments, and Github for software repositories. These platforms have changed the way that we do business. They greatly reduce the countless hours that we used to spend building custom infrastructure, which lets us focus on building the core of our products. Similarly, Stripe is a new payment platform which is changing the way that SaaS businesses accept payments.
When Richard Felix set up a Stripe account to accept payments for his other product, Are My Sites Up, nothing existed to helped him set up lifecycle emails for his SAAS app easily, without writing code. He wrote the code to send those emails for himself, and then he turned that code into something that other SaaS apps could use, by building Stunning.
Recently we realized that in addition to Stunning, there are other awesome tools specially built for Stripe (or tightly integrated with Stripe) that can be extremely useful to any SAAS businesses who use Stripe for payments. Payments are the heartbeat of your startup. If they stop, business stops. So we rolled up our sleeves and decided to create this guide.
Stripe is the best payment gateway that’s available right now, for many needs. It’s especially great for SAAS product startups. It offers unified APIs & tools, Checkout (single-click payment), storing cards, recurring payments, coupons & support for free trials. And best of all, it has amazing documentation. Stripe also offers Stripe Connect which has made it quite easy to build apps on top of Stripe, or to integrate existing services with Stripe.
This guide will help you to discover apps that you can use along with Stripe. These apps will help you save time and money that you would have spent building the offered functionality on your own. Interestingly, most of the founders of the apps featured built the apps first for themselves. These apps are very helpful when it comes to retaining your customers, and by taking proactive measures to help you to cut your churn.
Who’s this for?
This guide is for founders, marketers and growth hackers, especially if you use Stripe to accept payments or are planning to move to Stripe. Being at your best when it comes to retaining your customers is one of the most important things that a startup can do, and the tools featured over here can definitely help you with that.
We have divided the tools into different categories like CRM, Billing, etc, so that you can jump over to the ones that you find most interesting to you.
Dunning (handling failed payments) & Notifications
It’s a very good practice to update your customers about account related activities like recent charges, billing related issues, upcoming trial expirations, plan changes, and similar things.
Stunning helps SAAS companies reduce churn due to failed payments by making sure that customer credit card info is always current.
It offers Pre-Dunning & Dunning emails, among many other types of important emails that can be sent to your customers based on important events in their Stripe account. Pre-Dunning emails are emails that are sent to your customers when their credit card is about to expire. Dunning emails are the emails you send to customer when you are unable to charge the card for any reason. Both of them offer the customer an easy way to keep their billing information updated, so that their subscription stays active, and so that you don’t lose revenue. Stunning can even keep card information up to date automatically in some cases, so your customers only get emails when they need to.
It also shows you how much of your revenue has been saved, and how much is currently at risk due to failed payments and expiring credit cards.
Stunning has rescued over $40 million in recurring revenue for its customers since its launch in January of 2013.
Stunning has a ready to use email infrastructure. Using it you can set up welcome emails, trial expiration emails, fully customizable HTML receipts, cancellation emails, and more, without writing a single line of code.
HookFeed is a revenue-first customer analytics platform geared specifically to increasing monthly recurring revenue and helping businesses realize their potential.
According to its founders, Hookfeed is a product that tells its customers where they need to act, when, and why, in order to make the most money. Users can receive automatic email alerts on time-sensitive revenue issues, like failed or disputed charges, and get weekly reports of their “vital signs” and key revenue metrics.
With HookFeed, you know how much revenue you stand to earn or lose at any given time, based on things like credit cards that are about to expire. You have access to customer-by-customer breakdowns that inform direct action. Know who is driving your MRR, which customers are at risk of default due to expiring credit cards, which payments are late or haven’t been made, and the best time to follow up with testers and trial users.
Alerts help to you see your customer activity in real time, like when a new customer signs up, a payment fails, or someone decides to cancel. Conditional alerts based on customer profiles and their activities can go a long way to help you retain your customers.
Paid is an iPhone app that allows you to check in on the metrics of your business in the fastest way possible. According to its co-founder Ryan, the app is built with time-sensitive actions in mind to make sure you respond quickly to important alerts.
With Paid, you can view your payments, create charges or refund payments on the go. It even provides push notifications if a charge fails so you can act quickly based on them.
There are many customers that use Stripe at trade shows for ad-hoc charges for whom Paid has been quite handy. However the biggest subset of customers use Paid to manage their SaaS businesses.
We think Paid is a really handy tool if
1. You love to quickly see your payments and their status at a glance
For instance, a canceling customer would appreciate receiving a quick refund.
You can download the iPhone app from here.
Control is an Android app that aggregates transaction data from payment platforms like Stripe and others. It provides real-time analytics and allows you to take action on transactions as they happen. Notifications and alerts help you identify and act on potentially harmful transactions like chargebacks.
Here is what one of its customers has to say about Control.
“I enjoy using Control since it gives me a quick window into what payments are coming through. The revenue graph gives me a summary of what happened in the past week which is super helpful when you’re on the go.” – Frank Denbow, Founder, Startup Threads
Control for Stripe is currently available as a free download in the Google Play store for a limited time, and is coming soon for iOS.
Real time messaging apps like Hipchat, Slack or Yammer are becoming a primary mode of internal communication for a lot of startups these days. By connecting Stripe with your messaging app, you can act quickly on time-sensitive events.
Here are couple of alerts you can set:
1. Alert your support person in the case of failed charges or downgrades so they can reach out to the customer.
2. Create an alert for a new customer or new charge. In the early days especially, it’s a good way to boost morale of the team.
3. Alert your billing coordinator for refunds or disputed charges.
You can use Zapier to connect Stripe with any of the messaging apps.
We can all agree that tracking metrics & acting on it plays a huge role in a growth in startup. Now, you can leave the daunting task of tracking your metrics & building your own analytics dashboard to someone else. Baremetrics and FirstOfficer are doing the hard work for you!
Baremetrics gives you zero-setup, one-click SaaS analytics for your Stripe account. One click and you get dozens of useful, actionable metrics like MRR, Cancellations, Growth, LTV, At Risk payments, etc.
Baremetrics shot to fame when they powered Buffer’s public dashboard which shows the Buffer’s actual earnings and other metrics. In fact Josh Pigford, founder of Baremetrics, published their own analytics as a demo. Talk about eating your own dog food.
You should also check out Baremetrics’s Blog to learn about SAAS analytics and running a business.
FirstOfficer is another Stripe analytics app for SaaS. It shows all key SaaS metrics, like MRR, ARPU, Churn Rates and CLTV. You can compare performance between plans and easily see if your business is improving.
According to the founder of FirstOfficer, Jaana, their most loved feature is being able to see if the MRR growth is slowing down. It’s a real strategic insight and helps you to decide where to focus your efforts – whether it’s on getting new customers or fighting churn.
Beside providing key SAAS metrics, FirstOfficer also offers an easy way to compare MRR growth week by week (or month by month) to measure how your marketing campaigns are performing and see where the biggest gains have been. Another interesting feature for its customer is the cohort retention charts to see if your customer onboarding is improving and if new customers are happier than older ones.
Jaana also writes on saas metrics at her blog Happy Bootstrapper.
Updating customer data in your CRM with Stripe based events can go a long way in maintaining great customer relationships. This can get rid of lot of manual workload and you will have accurate & real-time data at your disposal.
1. Automatically add a new customer to your mailing list or customer data to your CRM
2. Remove cancelled customers or move them to another list
3. If a particular prospect is in your list of leads, remove him from that list once he buys your product
4. Move customer to another list after he buys a particular plan to target relevant promotions
5. Import customer related data like average revenue per month, LTV, total revenue etc. automatically into your CRM.
Billing & Accounting
Both of the popular accounting softwares Quickbooks Online and Xero are integrated quite well with Stripe.
Xero provides online accounting software for small and medium sized businesses. It provides direct integration with its software to accept payments easily. Plus, if you use Stripe but not Xero, you can enjoy a 60-day free trial of Xero.
Here are couple of things that you can do to make your accounting easier:
1. Create a new contact whenever a new customer signs up
2. Create a Xero invoice for the new charge
3. Mark customer as paid when a charge is successful
The most popular of all the accounting softwares. Quickbooks also provides a neat Stripe integration.
You can access information on payments, refunds, fees right into Quickbooks (doesn’t work in online version). All you have to do is visit your Stripe dashboard and use the Export To Quickbooks feature.
Here are a couple of things that you can do with Stripe in Quickbooks:
1. Create a sales receipt based on a successful Stripe charge
2. Create invoices based on Stripe invoices
3. Create a customer in Quickbooks that matches your new customer in Stripe
For Quickbooks Online, you can have sales receipts generated for new Stripe charges using Zapier.
If payment reconciliation is a big pain, Snapy is the tool for you. It connects Stripe with Xero and Quickbooks online, and automates payment reconciliation. Along with that, it also splits out taxes & fees automatically, saving you from the time and hassle of doing it yourself.
Referral & Affiliate marketing
Referral & Affiliate marketing are very powerful methods for customer acquisition. But implementing such programs might sound like a tedious job given the difficulty of setting them up, managing affiliates/referrers, and making payouts. To make it easier, we have found a couple of tools which can help you to run referral and affiliate programs easily.
SAASquatch is a customer referral platform specially for SAAS businesses. It has all that you’d need from a referral platform like tracking & fulfillment, along with ready-to-give rewards to your existing customers as well as newly referred friends.
Instead of adopting a standard monthly price, Saasqautch charges 1 month’s revenue for each paying customer acquired by the referral program, so their success is tied to yours.
Ambassador provides the most flexible, customized experience for your referral and affiliate programs. Referral, partner & affiliate channels can all be managed in a single dashboard via Ambassador.
Ambassador fully automates your referral program, from emails, notifications and approvals to commissions and gift card payouts.
Learn more about Ambassador
ReferralPop is a customer referral and refer-a-friend program for SaaS companies using Stripe. In just a few steps, it makes it easy for anyone with or without technical knowledge to set up a referral program.
Sean Heilweil, co-founder of ReferralPop, built it out of a need for a simple and easy referral program that worked alongside Stripe. Instead of taking a percentage of the rewards given to customers, it charges fixed monthly pricing.
Sean also claims that early adopters of ReferralPop have seen a 15% boost in monthly recurring revenue.
I have already mentioned Zapier a couple of times in this guide. Lots of popular apps can be connected with Stripe through “Zaps” which can automate events in your favorite apps based on Stripe events. The best part is that you don’t have to write any code to get Zapier working.
How about some fun during office hours? Using Choir & Stripe together, you can create event based sounds to celebrate new customers, charges, upgrades and more.
Of course, you can do the same to keep everyone informed about failed charges, cancellations, etc.
When running a business, there are a lot of events that you want to know about as they happen. Some examples are: keeping a close eye on new customers signing up for trials, or customers that cancel or downgrade. It is good to act quickly if you want to be most effective at customer communication. You can connect your help desk software with Stripe to create tickets automatically by using webhooks or direct integrations.
Here are couple of cases where you can trigger tickets if you’d like to use your help desk to follow up with customers.
1. New customer signup
2. New trials
3. Trial Expirations
4. Plan Upgrades / Downgrades
5. Payment Failures
6. If someone upgrades to an annual plan, you might want to say thanks for putting their trust in you.
8. Failed Charges
That’s it! We hope that you enjoyed reading Stripe Supercharged, our guide to getting the most out of your Stripe account. Our goal will be accomplished if any of the above apps help you to improve your business.
If you think there is an app which should be on this list, please let us know. Send me an email at jit[at]pepnest.com