Pricing 201 for B2B SaaS firms: Value-Persona Match

Right here’s a recap of why it can be crucial for founders to shift from a product-market-model-channel match to price-product-persona-packaging-channel match.

A brand new lens to consider pricing

Most recommendation founders get on pricing is to think about it an integral a part of the product and iterate on it as a part of product growth. Whereas this recommendation is correct, in lots of instances, pricing choices are inclined to get obfuscated and overshadowed by different product-related choices. This occurs as a result of new options are added to the product each month/quarter, however costs aren’t modified at that frequency. Additionally, in contrast to product administration, gross sales, and advertising, pricing has no useful proprietor in startups. Thus, there’s no forcing operate to maintain the group targeted on pricing choices.

One of many methods to higher index on pricing to drive income/org development is to maneuver it to the middle of decision-making. This implies shifting the lens from product-market-model-channel match to price-product-persona-packaging-channel match. This shift is illustrated under.

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On this lens, ‘match’ highlights the interdependencies between value and the opposite 4 key parts – product, persona, packaging, and channel. Right here’s what every of the nodes means:

Persona: Who’s the client you’re promoting to?

Packaging: How is your product bundled to resolve your buyer’s ache level?

Channel: The place are you promoting to your buyer?

Let us take a look at the price-persona match.

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Value-Persona match

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In the event you’ve spent sufficient time on Twitter, you’ll’ve come throughout this meme highlighting the futility of creating purchaser personas. However for my part, it’s not a lot a criticism of making purchaser personas however of making non-quantified personas. In case you are additionally doing this, it’s time to shift to a Quantified Purchaser Persona (QFB).

What’s a Quantified Purchaser Persona

Admittedly, this isn’t the primary time somebody is speaking about QFB, however we’ve a motive for doubling down on it. You’ll find prospects prepared to pay you $50k/yr and prospects who will solely wish to pay you $10k/yr. Whereas you must have pricing to promote to each, extra importantly, you wish to be sure that by accident you don’t promote a $10k contract to somebody prepared to pay $50k. Realizing who’s prepared to pay extra unlocks your ARR.

Right here’s a real-life instance of this. One among Blume’s portfolio firms sells to each advertising leaders and analytics leaders in enterprises. By constructing quantified purchaser personas, they understood that the advertising chief had a higher say in decision-making and a better desire for his or her product’s core options. So that they tweaked their GTM to focus on advertising leaders, which bumped up their LTV by $30,000 to $40,000 on common.

Discover the correct approach to section your buyer base

Earlier than getting deep into purchaser personas, you will need to section your buyer base the correct method, as completely different segments have completely different value constructions, understand the worth they get from software program otherwise, and therefore you have to to cost them in numerous ways- will they pay month-to-month or yearly? Will they like to be charged per seat or by groups?

Geo, ARR, and business are often used to section markets, however it is best to be at liberty to be inventive. As an illustration, a Blume portfolio firm segmented its prospects by ‘supply of price range’ to find out the way it ought to cost them. If the supply of the price range is central (say, coming from the HQ within the US), they charged the identical greenback quantity for each seat, whether or not the end-user was within the US or India. However, if the price range got here from every nation’s P&L, they supplied country-specific pricing to supply prospects geo value parity.

How one can construct a Quantified Purchaser Persona

With that out of the best way, let us take a look at what’s a Quantified Purchaser Persona (QFB). Whereas it might imply various things to completely different individuals, an excellent QFB sometimes tells you 4 issues about your purchaser:

What options do they worth essentially the most

What’s their willingness to pay for these options

What’s their LTV/payback interval

How a lot it prices you to promote to them

Right here’s a battle-tested template to get you began.

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Whereas an organization at any stage can construct QFB, it’s most related for firms on the growth stage and past. (To grasp how the pricing priorities evolve by way of the early, growth and development levels, test the primary article on this collection right here). Firms on the growth stage want to copy their profitable prospects at scale, and with out a quantified purchaser persona, they’ll both be advertising to the mistaken prospects, which results in fewer conversions or gained’t talk the advantages accurately to present prospects, resulting in excessive churn.

Discovering data to construct your Quantified Purchaser Persona

Step one is to cease being cute along with your purchaser personas. As an alternative of making Startup Sally or Tech Terry-type personas based mostly on demographics, pull out your spreadsheet and fill in data that impacts how your prospects use your product.

Going again to the customer persona template, columns are the customer personas you’re concentrating on, and rows are the information factors about these personas. In the event you’re simply beginning or do not have a few of this information, it’s tremendous. Fill it out along with your hypotheses of what you understand about your prospects after which refine it.

The 2 most crucial points for which you’ll must do buyer interviews are – characteristic preferences and pricing.

Characteristic preferences

Completely different personas in your section will prioritize your product’s options otherwise. A Blume portfolio firm promoting market intelligence SaaS shares that, for them, characteristic preferences change even inside an business as they transfer from one sub-vertical to the following. Within the retail business, as an illustration, a model like Apple indexes on the frequency of market intelligence updates relatively than the variety of manufacturers lined as their market has a small set of gamers and Apple has a dominant market share. Alternatively, in a fragmented market like vogue, a vogue retailer in Singapore desires a a lot wider number of opponents available in the market data replace, even when the updates come as soon as a day to them.

A sub-optimal method of discovering characteristic preferences is to point out a listing of options to your prospects and ask them to charge them from 1 to 10. In the event you do that, you’ll find yourself with unactionable rubbish information, as your prospects will more than likely rank each characteristic a 9 or a ten. As an alternative, ask them this – “Given our present pricing, which is the one characteristic if we take away, you’ll cease utilizing our product? Alternatively, which is that one characteristic, if eliminated, will make no distinction to you?

When you are able to do this at scale and get responses from 40-50 potential prospects/present prospects, you’ll begin seeing the relative desire scores for every characteristic for various purchaser personas, which tells you their characteristic preferences. To make it simpler, you’ll be able to choose up this template and begin filling it out immediately out of your buyer dialog notes. (hyperlink)

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Willingness to pay

It’s nicely understood that you simply shouldn’t ask your buyer how a lot to cost, however you continue to want to know what they’re prepared to pay. At an early stage, you’ll be able to assess your prospect’s willingness to pay by growing the value in each subsequent deal until sufficient individuals say it’s too costly for them, which is the brink the place you stabilize your pricing. Whereas this may increasingly appear a really courageous (or silly) factor to do, Peter Reinhardt (founding father of Phase) did precisely this in 2012, when he doubled the value for each new buyer and scaled their value from $120/yr to $240k/yr in simply six months (hyperlink to the total story on the finish of the article).

There’s additionally a scientific approach to check the willingness to pay. First, speak to potential prospects, pitch them your product’s advantages and worth, and undergo a demo name. Even when your product isn’t prepared, exhibiting them a prototype, video, or Figma idea may even work.

Then ask them what they assume is an appropriate/good discount value for this product. When answering this query, most individuals will sometimes lowball themselves. Tag it as ‘discount.’ Then ask them what value is so excessive, they are going to by no means consider speaking to you once more – tag it as ‘too costly.’ Subsequent, ask them at what value the product is pricey for them, however they are going to nonetheless contemplate it – tag it as ‘good worth.’ Lastly, ask them at what value level they’ll assume it’s too low cost and fear in regards to the high quality of the product. Tag it as ‘too low cost.’ While you do these conversations at scale and map the information in a sheet, you’ll get a chart just like the one under.

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The value vary to your product begins at the place the ‘too low cost’ line intersects with the ‘good worth’ line – something decrease than that, and you’re leaving an excessive amount of cash on the desk. The higher finish of the value vary is the place the ‘too costly’ line cuts the ‘discount’ line. You’ll discover it tough to transform prospects when you transcend that vary.

Tony Beltramelli, the co-founder of Uizard (Sequence A startup with $19M raised, backed by Perception Companions and LDV Capital), spent months conducting the willingness to pay research for his product, and listed here are some issues he discovered:

Work laborious to cut back the mismatch between what individuals assume they’ll be paying for and what the precise product does else any pricing suggestions you’ll gather can be pointless. Spend time educating them in regards to the product in your calls relatively than simply accumulating information factors.

Most of your calls can be with prospects or beta-stage prospects, who haven’t used your product in any respect or used it for a really brief time. This can create noise in your pricing suggestions as they aren’t absolutely educated in regards to the product’s worth. You need to issue this into your choices.

One approach to scale back noise if in case you have a beta product is to map the suggestions on pricing with how your prospects are utilizing the product and discard crimson flags. Examples of crimson flags – somebody hits the low willingness to pay bracket however is utilizing your product rather a lot, or somebody says they like sure options however use others much more.

Professional suggestions:

It’s significantly better to make willingness-to-pay conversations on the prototype or beta part as a result of in case your prospects usually are not prepared to pay for the prototype, it’s unlikely they’ll pay for a fancier model.

A easy heuristic to be careful for to know in case your product is overpriced is when a prospect asks you for a industrial proposal after which goes into radio silence. If this occurs too usually, it implies that they like your product, however you’re promoting it at a method greater value than the worth it gives.

As a founder with a technical background, it’s possible you’ll imagine the willingness to pay train to be a precise science, however it isn’t. Aside from constructing the charts, you additionally construct a psychological mannequin of consumers’ characteristic preferences and willingness to pay. Value sensitivity evaluation helps you set your first value because the willingness to pay is related in the course of the beta or launch part. Upon getting prospects, they’ll let you know in case your product is pricey or worth for cash.

The longer term articles on this collection will cowl price-packaging match and price-channel match. You will discover hyperlinks to all of the third-party references on this article under.

Hyperlinks talked about within the article:

Peter Reinhardt (founding father of Phase) talks about how they elevated their value: https://​twit​ter​.com/​r​e​i​n​p​ok​/​s​t​a​t​u​s​/​1​4​9​2​1​5​3​5​4​9​2​8​2​6​7​6​7​3​9​?​l​a​ng=en

Interview of Tony Beltramelli, the co-founder of Uizard: https://​gore​lay​.co/​t​/​w​h​y​-​c​h​a​r​g​e​-​m​o​r​e​-​i​s​-​w​a​y​-​e​a​s​i​e​r​-​s​a​i​d​-​t​h​a​n​-​d​o​n​e​-​a​d​v​i​c​e​-​a​n​d​-​o​t​h​e​r​-​d​a​t​a​-​d​r​i​v​e​n​-​p​r​i​c​i​n​g​-​l​e​s​s​o​n​s​-​w​i​t​h​-​u​i​z​a​r​d​-​s​-​c​o​-​f​o​u​n​d​e​r​-​t​o​n​y​-​b​e​l​t​r​a​m​e​l​l​i/912

This text is the second of a 3-part collection on pricing within the Software program-As-A-Service (SaaS) Trade. The upcoming articles on this collection will cowl price-persona match, price-packaging match and price-channel match. This text has been reproduced on with permission from, the place this was initially printed.

Rohit Kaul leads advertising and branding for Blume Ventures. A advertising skilled with over 15 years of expertise throughout CPG, music, schooling, and not-for-profit sectors, he’s deeply captivated with discovering the reply to ‘why a buyer ought to select your model?’

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Up to date: 27 Jun 2023, 08:17 AM IST