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Managing Subscriptions

This article will help you understand the in and out of subscriptions module.
R
Rashmi Kashyap
12 Jan, 2021 - Updated 3 months ago

Introduction to Subscriptions

The Subscriptions module in Vtiger CRM is used to automate invoice generation and payment processing for subscription-based services.

 

Subscriptions in Vtiger CRM have two payment methods, Manual pay and Autopay using which you pay for your subscriptions. To keep a track of every payment you make for a subscription, a transaction record is created. 

Feature Availability and Limits

Sales Starter

Sales Professional

Sales Enterprise

One Professional

One Enterprise

Feature Availability

Subscriptions

-


Taxes and Discount Availability

Group Taxes

-

-

Individual Taxes

-

-

Group Discount

-

-

Individual Discount

-

-


​​​​​​Important Fields in Subscriptions 
 

Field name

Description

Subject

Mandatory field
Displays the title of the subscription.

Organization Name

Displays the organization to which the subscription is associated with.

Start Date

Mandatory field
Displays the date when the subscription was started.

End Date

Mandatory field
Displays the date on which the subscription ends.
You can enable the No Expiry checkbox if you want the subscription to last forever.

Related contact

Mandatory field
Displays the name of the contact related to the subscription.

Frequency

Mandatory field
Displays the frequency of the invoice generation, related to the subscription. You choose any of the following options:

  • Yearly

  • Monthly

  • Weekly 

  • Daily

You can also generate a subscription on a bi-weekly basis.

Recurrence

Displays the month, week, or day when the invoice for the subscription has to be generated. The value of this field depends on the frequency field. You have to define the recurrence in these fields:

  • Every ( month, week or day)

  • On (a particular day, week, or month)

Assigned To

Mandatory field
Displays the user or the group to whom the subscription is assigned.

Billing Address

Mandatory field
It is the address where invoices of subscriptions are sent to and connected to a credit/debit card. Hence, the billing address by default should reflect the related Deal's company address.
You can enter the billing address manually or by clicking the Select an option drop-down and selecting one of these options:

  • Copy from Organization

  • Copy from Related To

  • Same as Shipping Address

Shipping Address

Mandatory field
It is the address where the customer would like the invoices of subscriptions to be delivered. By default, the shipping address will be the same as the billing address.
You can enter the shipping address manually or  by clicking the Select an option drop-down and selecting one of these options:

  • Copy from Organization

  • Copy from Related To

  • Same as Billing Address

Item Name

Mandatory field
The name of the product or service against which the invoice is created.

Quantity

Mandatory field
The count of the products or service that was returned by the customer.

Installation

The Subscriptions module is not available by default. To use the Subscriptions module, you must install it from the Extension Store. 

Follow these steps to install the Subscriptions module:

  1. Click the display picture on the right-hand top corner of the screen.

  2. Select Settings.

  3. Go to Extensions.

  4. Click Extension Store.

  5. Locate Subscriptions and click Install.

  6. Click OK for a successful installation.

Payment Methods in Subscriptions

Here are two payment methods supported in subscriptions:

  1. Manual Pay - If the subscription mode is set to Manual Pay:

  • An invoice and a payment record are created but the payment is not processed automatically.

  • You have to go to the payment record and enter the bank details of the customer manually and get the payment done.

To know more about Payments, click here.

  1. Autopay - If the subscription mode is set to the Autopay mode, then the system ensures that invoices get paid on time. When an invoice is generated, the due date is set, and the system charges the customer automatically via the payment gateway (Currently Vtiger CRM supports Authorize.Net and Stripe).

To know more about Autopay, click here.

Configuring the Prerequisites 

Before creating a subscription record, make sure you have the following configured: 

  • Payments module

  • Authorize.Net 

  • Autopay

  • Stripe

Installing the Payments module

Follow these steps to install the module:

  1. Click the display picture on the right-hand top corner of the screen.

  2. Select Settings.

  3. Click Extension Store under Extensions.

  4. Locate Payments and click Install.

  5. Click OK for a successful installation.

Setting up Authorize.Net payment method

Follow these steps to configure your Authorize.Net merchant account:

  1. Click the display picture on the right-hand top corner of the screen. 

  2. Click Settings.

  3. Click Payments and Subscriptions under Inventory.

  4. Click the Payment Gateway Configuration tab. 

  5. Click the Add Gateway button.

  6. In the ‘Add Configuration’ popup, provide the following mandatory details:

  • Provider - Select Authorize.

  • Active - To enable or disable your merchant account.

  • Label - Enter the desired username.

  • API Login ID - Provide the API Login ID provided by your online payment gateway.

  • TransactionKey - Provide Transaction Key provided by your online payment gateway.

  • SilentPostURL - Use the right-click on the link next to the field and copy the link address. 

  • Now log in to your Authorize.Net account.

  • Click the Account tab.

  • Click Silent Post URL and paste it in the URL field.

  1. Click Save.

To know more about the features and benefits of Authorize.Net, click here.

  

Note: To configure Auto-payment, it is mandatory to have either an active Authorize.Net or Stripe gateway.

 

Setting up Autopay

You need to configure Autopay only if the subscription is set to auto-payment mode.

Follow these steps to configure your Authorize.Net merchant account:

  1. Click the display picture on the right-hand top corner of the screen. 

  2. Click Settings.

  3. Click Payments and Subscriptions under Inventory.

  4. Click the Autopay Configuration tab.

Actions in Autopay

When autopay is on for a subscription, you can define the actions that you want to perform if the payment is successful or failure.

alt text

Follow these steps to configure the actions:

  1. Hover over the default action under Payment Successful or Payment Failure.

  2. Click the Edit icon.

  3. Enter a title for the action.

  4. Enable or disable the action by clicking the checkbox.

  5. Select the operation that has to be done when the action takes place.

    1. Send Email: The system sends an email to the customer about payment and invoice related details. Standard email messages have already been set up by Vtiger. You can use these available messages or you can change them to suit your business by going to Email Templates.

    2. Do Nothing: By selecting this option, you can undo any action on payment success or failure.

Retry rules in Autopay

Whenever a payment to a subscription fails, you can notify your customer about the status of the payment and the issues regarding their account through an email. 
You can also comfort them by telling them that you will retry the payment again after a couple of days using retry rules in Vtiger CRM.
Yes, it's true. You don’t have to worry about losing a subscription because Vtiger CRM has been modelled to retry failed subscription payments! With Vtiger CRM you can decide on:

  • The number of retry attempts on a particular subscription. 

  • The schedule or time duration when the payment will be retried next.

Now, let’s learn the nuances of this feature:

  • Firstly, you can decide the Retry Limit for every payment on a subscription. You can have a minimum of zero or a maximum of three retry payment attempts. 

  • Secondly, you can set up certain rules based on the number of retry limits.

    • For example, if your retry limit is three, then you can decide the duration, the operation, and the template for all three retry attempts.

  • Lastly, you can suspend the subscription by enabling the Suspend Subscription after all failed attempts checkbox if the payment process fails even after the final attempt. You can either notify your customer about this by sending an email or do nothing.

alt text

Configuring Stripe payment method

Follow these steps to configure your Stripe merchant account:

  1. Click the display picture on the right-hand top corner of the screen. 

  2. Click Settings.

  3. Click Payments and Subscriptions under Inventory.

  4. Click the Payment Gateway Configuration tab.

  5. Click the +Add Gateway button.

  6. In the Add Configuration popup, provide the following details:

  • Provider - Select Stripe.

  • Active - To enable or disable your merchant account.

  • Label - Enter the desired username.

  • Publishable Key - Enter the key provided in the stripe account.

  • Secret Key - Enter the secret key available in the stripe account.

  1. Click Save.

To know more about the features and benefits of Stripe, click here.

List View in Subscriptions

By default, the List View is the screen that is visible when you click the Subscriptions module. This view sorts and lists all subscriptions based on the last modified subscription record.

  • Columns in the List View 

The columns that are visible by default in the List View are :
  • Subject - Displays the name of the subscription.

  • Mode of Payment - Displays the mode through which the payment is made.

  • Start Date - Displays the date from when the subscription will be started.

  • Subscription Status- Displays the current status of the subscription record.

  • List View actions

You can perform quick actions such as Edit, Delete, Export, Comment, etc. on the invoice’s records in the List View.
To learn more about List View actions in Vtiger CRM, click here.

Ways to View a Subscription

  • Summary View

Summary View is the view that appears when you click a particular record from the List View. Summary View displays a collection of all key information for the selected record.
Summary View displays data in different sections for easy viewing. 
Each section allows you a particular functionality.

  • Summary View actions

    • Follow - You can follow any subscription record to get updates on all the activities performed on that record.

    • Tags - You can add tag names to a record to identify the record easily.

    • Print - You can print a subscription or save it as a PDF for future references.

    • Duplicate - You can duplicate a current record and have all the details reflected in a new record.

    • Delete - You can delete a record by clicking this button.

    • Pause - You can stop auto-generating an invoice for a particular subscription, temporarily. The status of the subscription will change from ‘Active’ to ‘Stopped’.

    • Suspend - You can stop generating an invoice permanently. The status of the subscription will change from ‘Active’ to ‘Suspended’.

    • Resume - Resume the paused or suspended subscription and the frequency will be set automatically. When you resume a paused subscription, the status of the subscription will change from ‘Stopped’ to ‘Active’ and when you resume a suspended subscription, the status of the subscription will change from ‘Suspended’ to ‘Activation Pending’.

  • Subscription document

    The generated subscription along with the template is displayed here.

  • Send Activation Link button

    By clicking this button, you can activate the subscription by sending the activation link to the customer.

  • Do button

    When you click on the Do button on the right-hand top corner of the Summary View, you will see the following:

    • Add or Create - You can add or create other modules related to the subscription.

    • Share - You can share the subscription as a link or as an attachment.

  • Widgets

    • One View - All the modules related to the subscription are displayed here. 

    • Activity -All the activities made on the subscription are displayed here. Here you can add comments related to the invoice.

    • Analytics -You can view all the metrics related to the invoice in the form of charts, mini-lists, etc. You can also create new ones here.

    • Settings - You can change the template of the subscription here.

  • Deep Dive View

You can view and edit all the information for a subscription record by clicking the Deep Dive button in the Summary View of the record.

Creating a Subscription 

You can create a subscription from the List View or from a quote record.

  1. From Subscriptions’ List View 

You can use the +Add Subscription button to create a new subscription.
Follow these steps to create a new subscription:

  1. Click the Menu icon.

  2. Go to the Inventory tab. 

  3. Select the Subscriptions module.

  4. Click the +Add Subscription button in the List View.

  5. Fill in all the necessary details. To know about the frequency and recurrence of subscriptions, click here.

  6. Click Save.

Note: You can create a subscription on a bi-weekly basis i.e., once in two weeks. 
You have to set the Frequency as weekly and recurrence every 2 weeks.

  1. From Quotes

You can create subscriptions through a quote with the Do button. This option provides a way to add subscriptions from scratch.
Follow these steps to add a subscription from the Do button in Quotes:

  1. Click the Menu icon.

  2. Go to the Sales tab.

  3. Select the Quotes module.

  4. Select and open a quote.

  5. In the Summary View, click the Do button on the right-hand side top corner of the screen.

  6. Click Add or Create button.

  7. Click Subscriptions.

  8. Enter all the necessary details.

  9. Click Save.

This newly created subscription is linked to the selected quote. It is visible in the Sales Ops widget in the Summary View of the record.

Note: You can also create a subscription from Invoices, Products, Services, and Sales Orders modules by following the same steps written above for the Quotes module.

Activating a Subscription 

When you create a subscription, an email link is sent to the contact to provide the payment details and activate the subscription.

Note: You can send the activation link to the customer by clicking the Send Activation Link button in the Summary View of any subscription record.

Activation process

  • Initially, when the subscription is created, it is set to Activation Pending until the customer enters his account details in the payment link sent to him via email.

  • Depending on the Subscription Scheduler: 

    • An invoice record is created with status as Auto created

    • A payment record is created with status as Pending

  • You can find the related payments and invoices under the One View widget of the summary view of the Subscription record.

  • After your customer configures his payment details in Authorize.Net gateway, the subscription status changes to Active.

  •  Vtiger CRM will now process the transaction and receive the payment amount from the customer’s account on the specified billing date. To know more about transactions in subscriptions, click here.

Did you Know?
A subscription can have multiple invoices related to it. In turn, an invoice can also have multiple payments and transactions related to it. 

Adding Line Items to a Subscription

You can add new line item records for a new product or service or you can add a new section in the existing subscriptions by editing the Item Details block.

Follow the steps mentioned below to add Line item records:

  • Adding a new product or service

    • Click the Menu icon.

    • Go to the Inventory tab.

    • Select the Subscriptions module.

    • Click the +Add Subscription button.

    • Fill the necessary details.

    • Click Save.

    • Open the recently created subscription.

    • Click Edit.

    • Go to the Item Details block.

    • Click Add row.

    • Select the Product or Service.

You can add any product or service of your own choice to the subscription and define the taxes...

Refer to the Define Taxes and Discounts section in this document to understand Tax management, Price books, etc.

  • Adding a new section

  1. Click the Menu icon.

  2. Go to the Inventory tab.

  3. Select the Subscriptions module.

  4. Select an invoice. 

  5. Click the Deep Dive button.

  6. Go to the Item Details block.

  7. Click Add Section.

Did you Know?
You can also select a particular product or service by entering the first three characters of its name in the Type to search bar or by clicking the product or service button and selecting the product or service from the list of all available items.

Define Taxes and Discounts

You can configure Taxes, Tax regions, Shipping Charges (if any), and Terms and Conditions from the Settings > Inventory Management section. 

Note: Only those with the Admin role can configure these fields.

Refer to the Tax management article to learn how to set up taxes and other configurations.

  1. Tax regions - axes are set based on a region. Regions are set up in the Tax Settings screen.

  2. Currency -  It is the same as the currency defined in the Deal. Subscription Line item currency is the same as the record level currency. 

  3. Tax mode

  1. Group Taxes - If there are multiple products/services in the inventory, group taxes help in populating tax rates according to specific tax calculations.

  1. Individual Taxes - You can enable this option while creating a subscription. You can apply taxes for individual items in a subscription by clicking the Configure button in the subscription.

Note: The default Tax mode is set based on the option set in the Tax Management page by the administrator. This can be overridden on a subscription level from the Subscription Configuration pop up.
 

  1. Price Books - Price Books allows you to define different prices for Products and Services. The prices of the items can vary anytime depending on the customers and their needs.
    When a Price Book is selected or changed, the system updates the unit prices of all line items based on the selected Price Book.
    To know more about Price Books, click here.

  2. Discounts

    1. Group Discounts - Similar to Group Taxes, Group Discounts are applied to products (or) services on the subscription level.

    2. Individual Discounts - Contrary to group discounts, Vtiger CRM provides an option to apply discounts on an individual item based on its List Price. 

  3. Shipping Charges - Shipping  Charges is the additional amount charged by the company’s sales team for shipping the product to a customer.

  4. Adjustments - This option allows you to round off the total amount to the next value or the previous value based on the decimal number.

Note: You can customize and add or remove fields by going to the Module Layouts and Fields under Settings.

Transactions in Subscriptions

Transactions are a very special feature available only in the Subscriptions module.
When a subscription is active, a transaction record is created both in the payment and the invoice record related to the subscription.
You can find all the transactions related to Subscriptions in the Transactions widget in the Summary View of any subscription record.
Going forward you will learn about the relationship between transactions, payments, and invoices related to a subscription.

  • Transaction successful

If a payment transaction is successful, then,

  • a transaction record is created in the related subscription, payment and invoice records with the status as Success

  • the status of the related payment record is set to Received (invoice)

  • the status of the related invoice record is set to Paid 

  • Transaction failure

Based on the Autopay configuration, further actions take place. 
If all retry payments fail, then,

  • a transaction record is created in the related subscription, payment, and invoice records with the status as Failure.

  • the status of the related payment record is set to Failure

  • the status of the related invoice record is set to Overdue

Note: Transaction records are created in payments and invoices only if they are related to a subscription.

Subscriptions' Actions

  • Share a subscription

You can share a subscription with a customer by sending a link to the subscription or by sending the subscription itself as an attachment.

  1. As link

    Follow these steps to share the subscription as a link:

    1. Click the Menu icon.

    2. Go to the Inventory tab.

    3. Select the Subscriptions module.

    4. Open a subscription of your choice.

    5. Click the Do button in the Summary View.

    6. Select Share.

    7. Select Share as link.

    8. A mail compose window opens with the subscription link.

    9. Enter the recipient's details and click Send.

  2. As attachment

    Follow these steps to share the subscription as an attachment:

    1. Click the Menu icon.

    2. Go to the Inventory tab.

    3. Select the Subscriptions module.

    4. Open a subscription of your choice.

    5. Click the Do button in the Summary View.

    6. Select Share.

    7. Select Share as attachment.

    8. A mail compose window opens with the subscription attachment.

    9. Enter the recipient's details and click Send.

  • Generate related documents

    1. Generate an invoice

Vtiger CRM allows you to link the invoice related to that particular subscription. 
Follow these steps to generate an invoice:

  1. Click the Menu icon.

  2. Go to the Inventory tab.

  3. Select the Subscriptions module.

  4. Click the Do button in the Summary View.

  5. Select Add or Create.

  6. Select  Invoices.

  7. Fill in all the necessary details.

  8. Click Save to create the invoice record.

The invoice will be created and linked to the subscription.

  • Export

Exporting is a process of saving the subscription as a PDF in the local machine or sending the subscription link as a PDF via email.
Follow these steps to export a subscription:

  1. Click the Menu icon.

  2. Go to the Inventory tab.

  3. Select the Subscriptions module.

  4. In the List View, Hover over any subscription record to display the radio button on the left side.

  5. Click the radio button.

  6. Click the Export button.

  7. Select any one of the following options:

    1. Export Selected Records- This option will export only the selected record.

    2. Export data in current page- This option will export the records on the current page.

    3. Export all data- This option will export all the data in all the pages of the subscription module.

The exported record will be saved on your local system.

  • Print

    Printing is a process of obtaining the subscription as a hard copy.
    Follow these steps to print a subscription:

  1. Click the Menu icon.

  2. Go to the Inventory tab.

  3. Select the Subscriptions module.

  4. Open any subscription record.

  5. Click the More button.

  6. Click the Print button.

  7. You can perform any of the below options:

    • Edit & Export - You can edit the subscription and export it to your local system.

    • Email with PDF - You can email the subscription record as a PDF to the contact.

    • Print - You can print the subscription and keep a hard copy.

    • Save as PDF - You can save the subscription as a PDF on your local system.

When you try to print a subscription, you can see that the subscription is printed in a certain template. Vtiger CRM offers a set of templates to select if the default template is not according to your liking.

Changing the template of a subscription

There are two ways to change the template of a subscription, from the Print Subscription screen and the Settings widget .

  1. Follow these steps to change the template of a subscription from the print subscription screen:

This is a temporary change and is available only until the subscription is printed.

  1. Click the Menu icon.

  2. Go to the Inventory tab.

  3. Select the Subscriptions module.

  4. Open any subscription.

  5. Click the More button.

  6. Click the Print button.

  7. Select the template you want from the list of all templates.

  8. You can perform any of the below options:

    1. Edit & Export - You can edit the subscription and export it to your local system.

    2. Email with PDF - You can email the subscription record as a PDF to the contact.

    3. Print - You can print the subscription and keep a hard copy.

    4. Save as PDF - You can save the subscription as a PDF on your local system.

  1. Follow these steps to change the template of the subscription from settings widget:

This is a permanent change and will be applied to the subscription immediately.

  1. Click the Menu icon.

  2. Go to the Inventory tab.

  3. Select the Subscriptions module.

  4. Open any subscription.

  5. Go to the Settings Widget.

  6. Click the Template applied drop-down.

  7. Select the template of your choice.

The template will be applied to the subscription instantly.

One View

One View widget is a one-stop destination to view all important modules related to subscriptions.
One View widget in the Subscriptions module will show the following details:

  • Related Company details - Parent company details are shown in this widget.

  • Related Contact details  - Parent contact details are shown here.

  • Related Invoice data - Related invoice details are shown in this widget.

  • Related Payments - Shows the last five payments received from the customer.

To learn more about One View in Vtiger CRM, click here.

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