Transparency as a Service

· SaaS

While you're reading this, someone in your company just signed up for another SaaS application.

With good reason--software empowers work and drives innovation. You're probably using a stack of applications in your daily workflow and always on the lookout for more.

The bad news: many SaaS companies, perhaps inadvertently, are taking advantage of this decentralized purchasing behavior with cloudy sales tactics, making things like pricing, support and security as complicated and vague as possible. The result: misguided purchasing decisions and wasted software spend.

To help you buy the right software, below are 4 traps to avoid and tips to consider.

1. Pricing

Trap:
Many SaaS companies are moving away from publishing their pricing online, forcing buyers into annual plans (no month-to-month option) and complicating their sell with seats, data usage, monthly fees and more.

"Many sales leaders believe that they have a better chance to win a deal if they lead with value as opposed to price." (Kyle Poyer, Senior Director of Market Strategy at OpenView Venture Partners)

Tip:
Be on the lookout for transparent pricing. It's published, straight forward and month-to-month is an option. Zapier does a good job at this:

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2. Product

Trap:
Ever watched a product video or read about the features and when you finally trial or buy it's not all its cooked up to be? Bad sign. Product transparency means you see and use what you were pitched on.

Tip:
Prepare questions in advance of a product demo. Be on the lookout for features that matter most to you and get clarity on their capabilities.

Mode Analytics provides a thorough and accurate overview for each aspect of their product. Below is snippet of their Definitions feature.

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3. Support

Trap:
There are a number of ways SaaS companies pitch customer support: 24/7, dedicated support and email/phone. Most often it's vague.

Tip:
If support is important to you, dig in a little further to find out exactly what support you're getting and from whom. Be sure to check the support is in a time-zone that works for you.

Check out Appcues support - it's incredibly clear:

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4. Security

Trap:
Software sales people tend to avoid security conversations. Further, when it comes to security, the average buyer is most often operating in the dark. It's rare that they're checking off the security and compliance needs.

Tip:
Check in with your IT team on the specific security and compliance needs. These may include: GDPR compliance, SSO, data storage locations and methods of data encryption.

Box has an entire page dedicated to security and it's simple to read. Below is a snapshot from their compliance landscape:

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We're on a mission to create a more transparent SaaS ecosystem! Got more ideas on how to make that happen? We would love to hear from you.