Transparently document GitLab's renewal and true-up process
- As a customer, the true-up process is unclear, confusing and opaque, so I don't feel confident or comfortable in what my bill will look like next time I need to renew
- As a customer, I don't feel comfortable adding users to my instance because it's not clear to me how much I will be billed for that user at the time of renewal
- As a customer, I don't understand how to add users to my self-managed subscription throughout the year before my renewal
- As a salesperson, I often don't have time to explain our true-up process to smaller customers who are only adding one or two users at a time
- As a salesperson, I don't process a large amount of renewals and true-ups and I am confused and hesitant each time I do because the process is complicated and documentation isn't easy to follow.
- As a support engineer, I find myself repeatedly explaining the same thing to customers due to incorrect or unclear documentation
Currently, this is our only real customer docs around true-ups. Which is linked from the new license page (screenshot below) and when you click on it, it's not clear that you're even in the right place. I would have expected documentation specifically on true-ups, but this is all kinds of things in different orders and not specific to self-managed:
For reference, true-up reference in handbook
- Write a dedicated "How True-Ups Work" page which we can then link to via the license page and also have an easy reference for sales and support folks.
This page should cover:
- Full transparency on how true-ups work, in detail
- Provide clarity around words such as subscription, license, seat, user, plan, tier and how they relate to one another.
- Add how this may typically impact you if you are an SMB, Mid-Market or Large customer.
- Add how this may typically impact specific roles within those segmentations. For example, a purchaser, system admin or billing admin may be the same person, or three different people or a combination of the three.
- Make it clear what happens to their bill when they add a new user to their instance
- Note that guest users do not take up a seat on Ultimate subscriptions, but they do on lower tiers.
- Make it clear how to add new users via their customer portal account (note that this only is possible if the person is the account/subscription owner and will need to use a credit card to pay)
- Make it clear how to request new users to be added to their subscription in advance of them adding them on the instance.
- Explain that pro-ration is not automatic, and unless agreed otherwise by your salesperson, you will pay for the full year when you add a seat to your subscription, even if you added it in month 11 of a 12-month subscription.
- Explain what happens when you renew via the portal
- Explain what happens when auto-renew is selected (i.e. it will auto-renew for however many seats that are listed on your subscription in the portal, and if you have added more seats than that to your instance, the historical max count will cause the license you are sent via auto-renew to not work)
- Explain what happens if they want to renew for fewer users than they purchased in the previous year.
- Explain how the historical max count impacts this. e.g. If they purchased 100 users, and for two months they used 101 users, but at renewal time they only want 50 users because half their company got laid off, how do they 1. handle paying for 1 user for two months (this is really hard for GitLab to see) and 2. how does the instance handle true-downs.
- Show screenshots of the most recent license page update so if they are on an older version they will understand that if something isn't clear to them, we have fixed it in a recent update.
New license page:
Old license page, which some customers see because the new one is behind a feature flag due to a bug:
We should also add this to the docs.gitlab.com site, not the handbook.
- Create internal facing documentation that will help internal teams understand how to process true-ups and renewals:
- Link to the customer-facing documentation which gives a good overview of the customer process and how the billing works
- Details the flows and actions for the different use cases for renewals from the Salesforce side (straight renewal, renewal with true-up, renewal with true-up and upgrade, etc...) Current page: https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/business-ops/order-processing/