From version 2.0.0 in the CRM, there is a new major feature added that will help you to bill your customers in a faster way based on subscription billing. Subscription payments are provided via Stripe, you will need to have an active Stripe account in order to use this feature.
Please note that the subscriptions feature is different from recurring invoices. The recurring invoices are used only to re-create the invoice on a specific date but with subscriptions, if the customer is subscribed to the subscription, he/she will be auto-billed via Stripe and the invoice will be created.
Configure Stripe subscriptions
You will need first to configure the Stripe Checkout payment gateway in order to use the Subscriptions feature.
Please follow the Stripe checkout configuration guide by clicking here
If you are using version older then 2.4.0, you will need to manually configure your webhook, see below, otherwise continue with the guide below.
If you haven’t created your products and billing plans, you should create via the Stripe Dashboard, the CRM will fetch the billing plans directly from Stripe and will display them while creating/editing subscription.
There is no option to add billing plans via the CRM admin area, you should always add the billing plans via Stripe Dashboard.
There are 8 subscription statuses in the CRM, 5 are the default Stripe subscription statuses and one additional status is added Future.
Future – The additional the CRM status Future means that the customer subscribed but the first billing date is in the future, as an example if the customer subscribes on 2018-05-18 and you configured First Billing Date to be 2018-05-25, the subscription is active but the customer will be billed at the future date.
Create New Subscription
In order to create new subscriptions, from the main menu click Subscriptions then New Subscription.
Select billing plans for this subscription, the billing plans will be fetched from your Stripe account.
Configure quantity if it’s necessary, otherwise leave it to 1
First Billing Date
This is the first billing date field, leave blank to use the date when the customer is subscribed to the subscription. This field must be a future date, if you select a date and the date is passed but the customer is not yet subscribed, the date when the customer will subscribe will be used.
Note that Stripe does not support the creation of subscriptions in past dates.
Add subscription name, shown to the customer too, in most cases this will be your product name.
You can add an additional description for this subscription, also visible to the customer.
Select customer for this subscription.
The currency will be auto-selected based on base currency or customer currency, you can’t manually change the currency, more info about currencies can be found by clicking here
This means that you can’t have currency EUR and select billing plan configured in Stripe with USD currency.
You can select tax for the subscription.
The taxes are fetched directly from Stripe, if you haven’t configured your taxes in Stripe, you should do this via the Stripe dashboard by navigating to Billing->Tax Rates
Terms and Conditions (from v.2.40)
You can also add custom terms and conditions for the subscription, the terms and conditions will be shown at the bottom of the subscription preview area just before the customer subscribes to the subscription
Send a subscription to a customer
After you configure the subscription successfully, you may want to send the subscription to the customer, note that the subscriptions in The CRM are related to the primary contact of the customer.
To send the subscription to the primary contact you can click on the top left email envelope button, additionally, if you want to view how the subscription will look, click on the View Subscription button.
You may want to take a look at Setup->Email Templates, to adjust the subscriptions email templates.
Show subscriptions to customers area
If you want to show or hide subscriptions in the customer’s area, you can navigate to Setup->Settings->Subscriptions and set Show subscriptions in the customer’s area to Yes.
Subscribe to subscription
In order customer to subscribe to a subscription, you must send the subscription to the customer’s primary contact and include the subscription link in the email via the built-in email feature for subscription or send the subscription link manually.
After the customer access the subscription he/she can review the subscription and subscribe by clicking on the subscribe button.
To get familiar with canceling the subscription, please read more the official Stripe documentation by clicking here
Canceling from the admin area
If you want to cancel a subscription directly from the admin area, you can open the subscription and click on the cancel button, you will be able to see 2 options:
- Cancel at the end of the billing period
If you click Cancel, the subscription will be canceled immediately, if you click Cancel at the end of the billing period, the subscription will be canceled based on the end billing period and also, in this case, you can reactive the subscription, but if you cancel it immediately, there is no option to reactivate.
Canceling from customers area.
The primary contact also can cancel the subscription via the customer’s area, the options are identical to those in the admin area.
Credit Card Token
The CRM will store the Stripe customer id in the database for future payments.
A credit card token is a token provided by Stripe related to the credit card that subscribed to the subscription, the CRM does not store the credit card number in the database, the credit card token and last 4 digits are fetched directly from Stripe servers via API.
The primary contact can update the credit card anytime he/she want by logging into the customer’s area and navigating from the top Profile menu -> Credit Card.
Sometimes your customers need to change the card info that they have on record with your business, whether that’s just to swap in a preferred card, or because the card issuer sent a replacement. Stripe takes care of updating expiring cards for you and also attempts to update saved card details when a customer’s physical card is replaced, but in rare cases, if Stripe is unable to update the card details automatically, the contact must update the credit card manually via the customer’s area.
Reusing the credit card token
The credit card token for this customer will be used or future subscription too, as for example once the customer subscribes to the subscription, in Stripe, the CRM will create a customer and this credit card token will be linked to this customer, also the customer id from Stripe will be stored in the CRM database for future payments.
The next time you create a subscription for this customer, the customer won’t need to enter his credit card details again, he/she can just click a button and will be subscribed in no time.
If you want to test the subscriptions, you need to configure Stripe testing keys and read the following guide: https://stripe.com/docs/testing
In this guide, you can get familiar with how the testing works, and also there is a list of test credit cards.
Also, before switching to production mode, while testing, if you subscribed to any test subscription, make sure to delete those subscriptions from the CRM admin area.
Configure Stripe checkout webhook for subscriptions (applicable for the CRM versions below 2.4.0)
While you are in Setup->Settings->Payment Gateways->Stripe Checkout, you will need to configure the webhook for Stripe Subscriptions.
Each installation will have a unique webhook protection key, you will be able to see yours in the Stripe Checkout Webhook Key field
In Stripe Dashboard navigate to Developers->Web hooks and click add a new endpoint.
The webhook URL will be like this:
Replace [WEBHOOK_KEY] with your actual webhook key.
The CRM will generate a unique key for each installation, you can either use this key or manually add any key in alphanumeric you want, in case you decide to change the webhook key and you already have configured the webhook in Stripe, you will need to update the webhook key in Stripe dashboard too.
Test your webhook
Once you configure the webhook via Stripe dashboard, click on the configured webhook URL and click on the top right button Send test webhook then a popup modal will be shown, just click on the bottom right button Send test webhook
Keep in mind that the “Send test webhook” button is only available when you have toggled to view test data, once you test the webhook URL while test data is toggled on, switch off test data and configure the same webhook URL in your live account.
If the webhook is configured properly at the bottom you should see this response:
- Do not edit the subscription directly from the Stripe dashboard, if you want to perform an edit you can do this via the CRM admin dashboard.
- The CRM subscriptions only work with 1 line item (billing plan/product), do not add multiple subscription products via the Stripe dashboard to avoid unnecessary results.
- Once the customer is subscribed to a subscription, the subscription can’t be deleted, mark them as canceled instead (applicable for subscriptions created in LIVE mode)