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Hi, I'm Nicholas Gottlieb.

I make things grow online. I also enjoy surfing, sailing, bluegrass, and seeing the world.

Nicholas Gottlieb

I write about product, growth, software, and startups.

The goal of your pricing page is not to communicate how much your product costs

Intro

The first and primary goal of a visitor to your B2B SaaS website is to understand the product that you are providing, and decide if that product is potentially valuable to them. If they’ve decided that what you are providing is valuable, their next step is often to visit your pricing page. The goal of visiting your pricing page at this point is not, however, to understand exactly how much your product costs (this comes much later in the buying process). Rather, it’s to understand:

  1. what exactly are you selling
  2. who are you selling it to
  3. how are you selling it (or in other words what does the buying process look like)

Pricing Page Example: Stripe

One company that has always done a fantastic job in their digital go-to-market is Stripe and their pricing page is no exception. Let’s take a look at how their pricing page answers these 3 questions for a prospective customer.

Stripe Pricing

Question 1: what is Stripe selling?

Over the years Stripe has developed a dizzying array of products, but their pricing page makes it very clear that what they are selling is a payments platform. Not only do they say it with the copy ‘Access a complete payments platform’, but they say it with the self-serve pricing that they have published. They are charging 2.9% + 30¢ per successful transaction, so clearly they are selling a product that allows you to charge customers online.

Question 2: who is Stripe selling to?

The ‘Customized’ option is obviosly for businesses that have large payments volume (it says so clearly), which means that the ‘Integrated’ plan must be for businesses that don’t have large volume (there’s no need to say so explicitly). This is a very simple and direct way of communicating the fact that Stripe sells to both small e-commerce businesses and large e-commerce businesses.

Question 3: what is the buying process?

Again Stripe makes this pretty straigt forward. If you want the ‘Integrated’ package, you can get started in minutes via a self-serve onboarding experience (which is often the preferred way of buying for small businesses). If you have large payments volume, and want to purchase the ‘Customized’ package, then you will enter in to a purchasing process with the Stripe sales team (which is often the preferred way of buying for large businesses).

All 3 question are very simply answered, and all hold true to the actual product that Stripe is delivering.

Pricing Page Example: strongDM

Stripe is of course a very large business that has had a very long time to figure this out and do it well. Here is an example from strongDM, a slightly smaller (37 employees vs. 3,500), earlier stage company.

strongDM Pricing

Question 1: what is strongDM selling?

While this page makes it clear that you get everything the product has to offer, and that they are selling user licenses for said product, this page does not make it obvious what exactly the product itself is providing. Luckily the front-page does clearly that strongDM is providing access control for developer infrastructure. Their solution provides more fine grained access control and allows companies with distributed workforces (nearly all companies right now) to ditch their much maligned VPNs. They could easily make it more apparent what they are selling on their pricing page by reiterating these core value propositions. The design could also be improved a bit by providing the information that matters above the fold.

Question 2: who is strongDM selling to?

It’s clear from their pricing page that they are selling to companies with at least 10 users who access things like databases, servers, cloud platforms, etc. I don’t know enough about their product and sales process to know if those are accurate criteria for their ideal customer, but if they are then this does a great job of answering the question.

Question 3: what is the buying process?

The price is very simple and transparent ($50/user) and there is a clear CTA to ‘Try It Now’, so it’s pretty obvious that the buying process is self-serve and automated (which developers especially appreciate). There is an option to schedule a demo for potential customers who want some more hand holding, but there is no sign that they have a sales driven buying process (think AEs negotiating contracts with large customers). This page does a great job of concisely communicating what the buying process will look like.

It’s ok to not have a buying process for everyone

Many startups are afraid to not have a buying process for everyone, so they adopt what I’m call the ‘Off The Shelf Pricing Page ‘. If you go look at any early stage B2B SaaS company’s pricing page today, there is probably a 75% chance that they have adopted this pricing page. It shows a 3 tier model that includes:

  • a free tier
  • a pay-as-you-go self-serve tier
  • an enterprise tier

If you are a mature SaaS businesses that has developed all 3 of these go-to-market motions over time and are providing a great customer experience for all 3, then this model makes a lot of sense.

If, however, you are an early stage company trying to figure out which of these models will get you to your first $5 or $10 million in ARR, then it’s best to focus on providing a great product and purchasing experience for one. Clearly synthesize what it is you are selling, figure out which type of customer derives the most value from that product, and figure out how you can provide the best purchasing experience to that customer. Once you’ve figured these three things out, make sure your pricing page clearly articulates them.