The Dangers of Inconsistent Pricing in SaaS: A Smoke and Mirrors Game

Akshay Sura - Partner

10 Oct 2023

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The software as a service (SaaS) industry is known for its growth and adaptability. Out of the many strategies companies use to stay ahead, one concerns going from transparent pricing to an inconsistent one that factors things like a customer's market value. While it seems like a good idea initially, it comes with many problems.

Erosion of Trust

A system that isn't consistent can easily betray trust. If customers figure out they're being charged differently from their peers for the same thing, mistrust will come up. Once trust is gone, restoring it becomes problematic.

Negative Brand Perception & Word of Mouth

One of the worst things that can happen to a company is terrible word of mouth. People finding out prices are everywhere can lead them to believe the company's deceptive or playing favorites. These stories spread fast and can cause lasting damage.

Churn Increase & Lost Referrals

When someone feels cheated, they'll start questioning if there's any value in what they're getting. From there, they might terminate their contract, increasing how many people are leaving the company. On top of that, angry customers won't be telling people about the service.

Decision Fatigue & A Fragmented Customer Experience

It gets annoying when you don't know how much you'll pay for something until you buy it. The smooth experience users expect goes away and turns into something bothersome instead.

Sales Complications & Lost Negotiation Power

To make a sale today, salespeople usually have to find the right price first — but that price isn't straightforward and constantly changes. So now, each time they talk to someone new, they must figure out the best price. It's not only a big hassle, but it also slows them down. On top of all that, when prospects know prices change frequently, they'll come prepared and demand the best one they have heard of. This makes it so much harder for sales teams to negotiate.

Scalability Concerns & Legal Implications

Companies need to know how much they will be paying for something consistently to plan long-term expenses. When prices are always different, they won't want to adopt a SaaS solution because of unpredictable costs later on as they grow. And lastly, depending on where you are or what industry you're in, this can even raise concerns about ethics and legality.

Lasting Damage on Reputation

While inconsistent pricing might offer some benefits, such as higher margins due to tailored deals, its lasting effects on trust, brand reputation, and customer acquisition can be immense.

SaaS companies are constantly finding better ways to make products since competition is heavy, but there are a few things that should never be sacrificed, like trust and transparency. Getting rid of one model entirely has many problems that far outweigh any good. Instead, companies should prioritize fairness, clarity, and consistency in their pricing models to maintain trust and drive sustainable growth.

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Akshay Sura

Akshay is a nine-time Sitecore MVP and a two-time In addition to his work as a solution architect, Akshay is also one of the founders of SUGCON North America 2015, SUGCON India 2018 & 2019, Unofficial Sitecore Training, and Sitecore Slack.

Akshay founded and continues to run the Sitecore Hackathon. As one of the founding partners of Konabos Consulting, Akshay will continue to work with clients to lead projects and mentor their existing teams.

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