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I am sitting at my desk, having a cup of coffee, preparing for our fortnightly google hangouts meeting with one of our clients. I look up at the clock, its already 4 PM. The meeting is at 5 PM. Fortunately, the client calls and tells us they’ll be half an hour late. I take a deep breath, a ray of hope to prepare better. Why did I need to prepare better? Today we as an Inbound Marketing Agency were putting a strong case for our client to have a pricing page on their SaaS website. I initiated the idea so I had to own the debate. I take time preparing for my case. Studying resources and articles over what would be best for the client.
The time comes, it’s 5:25 PM. I am setting up my system in the conference room. The room is really silent, making me a bit more anxious than I already was. I knew we had made a strong case for why they should have a pricing page up on their website but it didn’t help me feel better. Soon enough, my company founder, Rajagopalan C joins me in the conference room. My system is set up. We are waiting for the meeting to go live. and it’s 5:30 PM. And they are online. We start the meeting as usual. We talk about performance and analysis as a couple of pre-requisites in the meeting. It’s 6:10 PM. The discussion on the pricing page is about to begin. We were confident that they would love the idea about having the page. SaaS business and no pricing page? that’s a little too off for the buyer. So we take it easy. Another few deep breaths later, the conversation started.
Inbound Mantra – So what about having a pricing page on your website as we suggested you earlier over email?
Client- (Client team in silence, thinking deeply about it)
Inbound Mantra – You know, people do want to look at the pricing of the software in one go! They like to make their purchase decisions quickly.
Client – Yes but pricing will also help our competitors know about our offering and it will help them compete better.
Inbound Mantra- (and Boom, an interesting point they made) Yes but we also need to think that it will help in our conversions better.
Client- (Still contemplating) We don’t want to show our pricing because we have different plans for different firms.
Inbound Mantra – (Perplexed, as to how a sure-fire way to boost conversions can go down like this)
The conversation at that point was at an end. They surprised us with good questions. Sometimes you just know something will work out and will align with your clients business goals but it just doesn’t work out that way. Your client may have different priorities or different views on the subject. It made us wonder if we were even right with our theory, to begin with. So we decided to do some supporting and conflicting research to understand trends better before we shaped our opinions this time. Let’s go back to the past and the present. Here are our findings.
Seeing authorities like HubSpot, ConversionXL and SixteenVentures showcasing pricing on their website told us something about this phenomena. It showed us how much the user cares about having all the relevant information as well as pricing on the website. Google’s Research shows that those involved in the B2B buying process are already 57% of the way down the path to a decision before they’ll actually perform an action on your site. You might wanna reconsider the information you provide on your website. Today’s customers are well-equipped with comparison websites, blogs, reviews on your SaaS product. The last thing they want is you not displaying all that information or not being completely transparent with your potential client. As much as some of us will hate to admit it, it is true that the pricing of a product plays an important part in the buying decision. Who doesn’t wanna be aware of the financials involved in one go? Whether or not it will work for you is what we’ll find out.
Another thing to note is the customer attention span in today’s world. Is your bounce rate high? Are the people not spending as much time on your website as you might like? If you see your advanced analytics, you will find users that jump off of your websites within 10 seconds. Yes, it’s really heartbreaking. We are living in an impatient economy. As one person put it “Our attention span is less than a goldfish” which is 7 seconds. You better find good reasons for the visitor to stay if you want his attention. So is it really important or relevant to post your pricing on your website?
It is one of the most controversial decision for any SaaS business to post pricing information on their website. But why’s that the case, when it is one of the most important pieces in the buying cycle (Forgot weepy negotiations?)? Let’s look into the pros and cons of having a pricing page on your website.
It is imperative in today’s scenario that most buyers are trained to search for the price as part of any purchase decision. They will be happy to search until they find a price.
Marcus Sheridan from IMPACT has emphasized the same for years. Moreover, HubSpot CTO and Co-founder, Dharmesh Shah reiterated the same in his keynote at INBOUND 2018. According to Dharmesh, “If you do not have a pricing page on your website, prospect guards will go up. They will immediately wonder, why so? What are you trying to hide? Then they will become frustrated as you’ve made it harder for them to evaluate if you are a good solution for them.”
A well-thought-of, transparent pricing page will let people know you’re not just trying to trick them into a sale. It creates a better user experience, enabling the visitor to complete their research (as any modern buyer wants). You may want proof to that theory for your SaaS business. For that, we recommend you put out an experimental pricing page on your website for a specific duration. You will quickly realize that it is one of the top most visited pages on your website.
If someone likes your SaaS product and they have to fill in a form or request a demo to get the pricing, you might never hear from them. That is because they dread having to take an action on your website. A lot of times they are apprehensive of a sales pitch or someone consuming up their time with a demo or a sales call (neh, no one wants that today) when they clearly understand the value of the product on the website. If they see the pricing and it falls under what they can afford, they will quickly convert into a customer in whichever way possible. Some people just want to see and pay the dollar amount.
Here are two example case studies of how conversions went up for two businesses just by putting up their price charts on their website. Example A in the case study had their conversions doubled up just by installing the price chart. Below is the visual representation, for example, A.
How will it feel if you wake up on a normal day and see you added 2 more B2B customers while you were sleeping? BAM! That’s a good feeling! You closed the deal even before you had any contact with the buyer. You have a good chance to close your sale even before the first email with a pricing page on your website. Save yours and your prospects time by staying away from lengthy emails about the pricing quote and negotiations and a series of emails on it. There is a really high chance that your prospect might stop responding at some point through your buying cycle. That dropped prospect might cost you a lot. Avoid that and give your buyer full control over how fast they can join you.
A lot of times, looking at Request Demo or “Talk to Sales” might dissuade casual buyers. Yes, there are casual buyers who need your product but don’t want to go through the hassle of requesting a demo and then following up on it. Countless people sign up for the demo but never turn up because they lose interest in the offering. Moreover, not every person will value your product the same way or even be able to afford it. Let the buyers, qualify or disqualify themselves, preventing your sales team from wasting time on someone who isn’t a good match.
In other words, providing the pricing upfront will weed out qualified leads from unqualified leads making your sales pipeline stronger and cleaner. Anyone who is not able to afford the product will automatically not sign up for a demo. And the ones who do will be the ones who are already negotiated on the pricing upfront.
There’s so much pleasure in putting a value on the worth you are bringing to your client. Why? Because first, you have figured out what benefits your client is getting out of your product in terms of revenue. Secondly, you have taken down all your costs and have gone through the margins of your product. The price you put is optimal according to the metrics you set like the above two which makes your value transparent and clear to the buyer and your team in one go (get away from your buyers scrutinizing you over loose pricing). Things start getting clearer and you start closing more leads thereafter.
We have seen quite a few benefits of having a pricing page(just like I hoped), but could there be a flipside to all of this? Let’s investigate.
In other terms, a $100k deal will be sold differently than a $10k deal. Why? Because you are gonna deal with your high paying accounts differently than the low paying ones. Pushing both deals down on the same track is risky because you want to make sure that the big clients are on the priority list for the sales and customer care reps. Sometimes the higher management of SaaS businesses is directly involved with high paying clients giving their time and energy to them on a regular basis. It automatically calls for different pricing as more resources are deployed to that particular account.
As InboundMantra’s founder Rajagopalan C points out, that price doesn’t matter for enterprise customers. More than 70% of the time, they just want to get set up with the solution offered as efficiently as possible. Price comes after features and benefits. This statement really holds true as one of our SaaS clients tells us that the pricing discussion comes at the end for enterprise buyers and most of the times the discussion ends sooner than we imagine.
Pricing might make your product look cheap, and not enterprise-oriented. Some enterprise owners are well-adept with knowing that how much the pricing can vary over the same product offering. Why so? Because different enterprises have different needs, payment terms, number of users and moreover need a customized package tailored towards their present and future commitments.
With a rigid pricing structure in place, you’ll put off most of the enterprises. Your biggest customers will require a discount on your pricing for good reasons. Enterprise clients bring huge value to your business in terms of both revenue and recognition. As the account grows the enterprise client will ask for more and more discount and with a rigid pricing structure in place, you might have to go below than the most discount you can offer, leading you to blow a good deal in hand.
You will have deals that you will not be able to put a price tag on. Deals get complex over time. Your company evolves, your client evolves, putting a similar dollar value to each of them will be bewildering. Giving a custom solution and dollar value to each of your clients will be more fruitful in the long run.
Hi Daniel, we would love to have your views on if we should have a pricing page on our SaaS business website. Let’s start with the plus side.
Daniel – On the plus side, the pricing page is likely to get some of the highest traffic along with the home page. It allows businesses to easily segment bottom funnel visitors who are closer to making a buying decision and it shows buyer intent. It is great for companies who have a proven pricing model, who are competitively priced and who want to be transparent and avoid haggling over software price to buyers.
That’s great insight, what about the negatives?
Daniel – There are a few negatives though. First, it is best practice to save the pricing discussion until after you have demonstrated value to the potential buyer. It is often premature to discuss price when the buyer has not seen all the benefits and value that your product offers. If you are going to show the price on your website, make sure that value offering is easy to see from the content on the website. Visitors who don’t understand the value offering or the pricing model may get deterred and scared away from the price shown.
Another potential drawback for SaaS companies putting pricing on their website is that it gives competitors information to compete on price. It’s best to have different pricing packages with options; one entry level, a mid-tier, and a premium. That way you don’t scare away those buyers who are price sensitive. We also advise having a CTA to contact the SaaS company and get more info and a firm quote.
Hi Milind, let’s go over the plus of having a pricing page with you.
Milind – If you have different products, a pricing page gives the buyer an opportunity to differentiate between those products. They can know exactly which product offers what in a clear and concise way. I think SaaS businesses should use this opportunity to convey their products messaging more than giving their dollar info on the page. The dollar info is an important element but it should be secondary in terms of prioritization.
Great point. What about the negatives?
Milind – Since we as a SaaS business have to deal with firms around the globe with different tastes and choices, there is no one price fits all. We have to customize packages, keeping in mind what the firms need the most. We deploy different resources to different accounts making the pricing fluctuate a lot. In this scenario, a pricing page will work negatively for a SaaS business and may even turn into a loss. So be wary of when to provide the pricing.
Both Daniel and Milind gave us great insight into why one should or should not have a pricing page. Let’s look at what we can take away with the article.
Also read: Inbound SaaS Marketing
There is actually some merit in not putting up the pricing page up-front. If you can have a pricing page or not on your website will depend a lot on the copy of it. If your website, web copy, product copy and portfolio are not precise and to-the-point your pricing page may not do any justice to your conversion. It may, in turn, decrease the value of the product.
For many businesses with a large customer base( over 10000+), the pricing page on your website will work the best. For eg, Grammarly and Drift. These businesses have thousands of individuals signing up every day and they need a pricing upfront.
For enterprise customers, pricing does not really matter that much. They are more concerned about the solution the SaaS company is offering. Moreover, rigid pricing can hinder the process of client onboarding as they may want customized packages specially tailored for them.
We have now officially debunked our own myths about the relevance of pricing page on SaaS business websites.
Hope this article helps you in deciding if a pricing page is right for your SaaS business or not.