SaaS providers: Please publish your prices

Part of my job is the ongoing search for software which can help us with various problems or broader topics. And we live in times where there’s thankfully lots of well made software available and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel everytime. Especially for “standard tasks”.

So, after searching for a while you have found something that suits your needs, you have matched the feature set with your requirements and then… you simply won’t find any prices. You visit all of the pages again but find no price list. I’m not sure whether I’m the only one that feels that way (I doubt it), but this annoys me massively.

I really want to buy this solution. I like it, everything fits and I’m sure it would be an improvement for my project. But what does it cost?

Why do so many websites of SaaS providers lack this information? The feature set is explained in great detail, different packages with their functional scopes are listed, only the price is missing. Or at least a list with prices for the first 1000 users, for 1000 up to 5000 users and then prices for 5000 users or more or something like that.

But no, this important information is nowhere to be found. Instead a “Get a quote”-button. Whenever I see one of those I get the feeling that I’m about to be tricked. I want to buy a live chat solution for a website, not an individually and handmade rocket to get me to the moon. As a provider of such a solution I must have a reasonable pricing structure and be able to tell how much the customer will have to pay.

Instead: “Get a quote”.

And with this button there is always a “they will surely spam me, as if I don’t get enough mails”-feeling and the thoughts why I should enter my address right here, right now and not simply search on for two more minutes. For the competitor that publishes his prices.

I really don’t understand this, when we are talking about solutions for standard tasks. Obviously there are highly specialized systems, where you really can’t tell beforehand, how the system turns out in the end, how much resources you need and how this affects the price. But I’m really talking about “simple” software solutions, not those special ones.

What do I do in this cases? Most often I will look for another solution which shows me their prices and will never return. Customer lost.

Not long ago, I discovered a live chat function on the website of one of those “priceless-providers” and used it to ask for a price list. What happened 30 seconds later? I received the link to a price list on their website, linked from no other page and not indexed by Google. On their normal pricing page was written, that you will need to contact them to get a personal quote. Does this make any sense?

I have found: It doesn’t stop with the prices.

“Request a Demo”. No, I don’t want to trigger your inbound marketing machine and find myself in a one hour long video conference with your sales people. I just want to have a look at your software for 10 minutes and have a look at how it works and looks. Click myself throuh it and see how everything comes together. And when I like what I see and have questions, I will contact you.

As a vendor I should have a natural interest, to market my product as good and as easy as possible. But somehow this is artificially made complicated and nobody seems to think about whether this scares of potential customers, instead of filling the “sales funnel”.

My personal highlight was a well-designed and good working website of one provider. All in all he had an interesting product, but: No price list, no demo and no address. No address.

I don’t want to visit you, but in a business environment, I’d simply like to know where a company is seated. Maybe it’s a question of respect or whatever, but I always like being able to say: “Yes, they are seated there and there, they’re doing good work over there!”

On the aforementioned website there was only a @gmail.com mail address which you were supposed to contact for any questions. Chance of me recommending or buying this solution? Null, because it’s unserious.

Maybe it’s a generational conflict that we should address?

I have thought about why this annoys me so much, before starting to write this post and I think it’s due to some kind of expectation in “my generation”.

We grew up with (online) retailers who always showed their prices. First and foremost Amazon, which does not necessarily have the lowest price, and absolutely not an overwhelming shop at all, but which manage to answer the most important “W-questions” (What is it? What does it cost? When will it arrive at my place?) like no other.

And everyone of us has clicked himself through the online configurator of any car manufacturer and was filled with a certain fascination and enthusiasm when seeing that adding leather seats dynamically adds a four digit amount to the final price. But in the end you’ll see the price of a specific car. A car! But when dealing with rather simple online software solutions this is impossible?

In the end, maybe it’s not even a problem with a specific generation, but happens due to the changing societies and the world itself.

We all have no time, receive enough mails per day and are used to seeing immediately how much something is. Maybe there is less and less place for vendors who beat about the bush with their prices.

There are positive examples, too.

I’d like to end with two positive examples that I am using or dealt with not long ago. For one that would be Userlike (live chat) and for the other Freshdesk (ticketing/helpdesk). Both are stating their prices and feature sets clearly and on top of that there’s a free plan with both of them for extensive testing.

The free plans might also be sufficient for small companies, so you’ll have a very low entry barrier. I wish it would be like this for every SaaS solution, where possible.

Image: Didier Weemaels on Unsplash