You need to avoid making user communication exceptionally complicated
In the SaaS world, the key is to serve multiple buyers personas with different pricing preferences. Even if you get your value metric and pricing strategy relatively correct out of the gate, major problems can come into play when transitioning your marketing, sales, and product marketing teams to the new model. These teams must be prepared to understand the new pricing, but also how to communicate the changes to existing customers.
To combat this, some companies simply choose not to offer perpetual licenses any longer. Adobe found this transition to work relatively well with definite backlash from a crowd that didn’t want to be coerced into a subscription, but the product was premier enough that living without Adobe was worse than being on a subscription.
The other way up the mountain that becomes exceptionally more complicated is simply offering multiple options for customers. Autodesk and Microsoft are currently doing this with different transitions. The problem exists when you start to look at their product marketing. Notice how in the image below you’re presented with some incredibly confusing choices.
Sure, to software folks like you and me we understand the nuances of a perpetual license versus a SaaS one. Yet, to a prospect that breathes CAD, you’re adding so much unnecessary complexity to a sale. Interestingly enough, this post actually was inspired by the amusing ad below from Autodesk. The chuckle stems from the fact that anyone who started buying software in the past 15 years doesn’t understand what “renting” software means. We just buy software via subscriptions.
"Renting" software feels like an awkward concept
In most cases, there are three distinct groups that you need to treat exceptionally different when considering the move to SaaS pricing:
- Perpetual Diehards
- Nuanced Buyers
- Savvy SaaSters
If you’re not going to force them to transition to one place, then you need three different types of landing pages, with three different main funnels, and three different strategies that unify under your acquisition team.
We collect data from your customers to understand the exact features that they value the most. The process and subsequent analysis helps us to identify which group certain types of customers fall into. In the end clear funnels that speak directly to each type of customer allows for a near seamless transition.
This is because there is value in still offering perpetual licenses. We’ve found in spaces like the MSP, healthcare, and DevOps markets that companies are willing to pay a premium for a perpetual license over a SaaS subscription. Yet, you can’t market and communicate with everyone in the exact same manner before simply showing them three choices they may not even understand.
Biggest takeaway:Segment. Segment. Segment. Don’t treat everyone the same, especially when going through a perpetual to SaaS transition.
If you can get away with forcing everyone on to the platform, great, but make sure you’re not throwing away a market that could still breed dividends.