I have startup company and we have SaaS application which we sell as subscription.
There is a lot of competition(which is good) and often first question I get from prospectives is "How much?"
With my limited experience(few customers) I know that our software better in many different ways but users know and appreaciate this post-factum. Useability, performance, features, long-run costs and savings.
I know that customers who see live demo get it. I also know that we need to do better job on our website to explain why we better. We work on website aspect.
Meanwhile, I get inquiries asking "how much". Well, I know that if I just give them number they will get lost or tell me that so and so 500% cheaper or free. OTOH people seem to be very hesitant about seeing no-obligation demo.
When I see inquiry (from website) coming in from a company(they list company, phone and email) then I try and explain what and how we do and how much it cost.
Once in a while I get inquiries from no-name entities. Just some name and gmail email address. This can be competitor(not that I care about disclosing price that much, they will know if they want) but I feel that if people don't want to disclose their info and see the demo - they not going to be a customer. Am I right?
Example from today:
I need proper fees for getting proper infrastructure right startingFirst of all I have no clue if they guy even in USA (we do USA only business)
from 0 level and get the service done. Can u please provide me proper
estimate for the fees. Thanks.
Thank you for contacting us. Our fees will depend on what features youNow I got 2 responses:
use. Please call us or provide us with your phone number to talk about
your needs in more details.
I want an estimate firstAnd
Gove me an estimate with complete features n it's benefitsNow I don't want to lose customer but I'm not sure I should waste my time. Your opinions?
From my feeling I would say this customer is a waste of time. Nonetheless I can really understand you don't want to miss an opportunity. I can imagine to do something like that:
Calculate a simple average of account revenues. When a prospect asks for a "general" estimate, send them that number and the services that come with. If the number sounds too large, check standard deviations and reduce it accordingly to sound more realistic.
Crunch the numbers on your services to find out which ones are used by the majority of your current clients. Create a package based on those and price it. When a prospect asks for a "general" estimate, send them that list of services and the associated price.
Option 3 (aka customer-friendly solution):
Create a self-service quote builder so that prospects could go to a page, select their desired services, usage, and what not and receive an estimate (you can even give them a range). This way you'll reduce your own headaches and increase the ease of doing business with your company.
I feel the best thing is actually not directly answer any pricing question at this stage.
Ideally, your pricing structure is tied to different benefits, and you will ask your clients a bunch of questions to get the customers to better understand these benefits, and then give the price only after they are sold on the benefits.
If they insist, then give them some thing like it could be in the range of x to y, but really depend on what your needs are, then redirect them to your series of questions.
Since we don't know what business niche your software is marketed towards, it's difficult to answer. You are going after businesses at a approx. 500/month price range, it sounds like you want to negotiate. If you're not getting any customers, you better do something; estimates may be the answer.
Are you sure you know how much you want to charge? Anonymous emails can be responded by asking for more information or setup a meeting. This will deter some of your competitors from sniffing around.
If this is an established market, you should know what you can charge.
In development process often appears that something get underestimated. So