Pricing Strategies For SaaS Providers

Duncan Jones

Most leaders of SaaS providers understand the importance of minimizing Churn and maximizing account enrichment, but few fully appreciate how vital to those goals is a good pricing and licensing strategy. My newly published report Pricing Strategies For Software-As-A-Service  is a must read for any business software company that sells or is thinking of selling via a subscription model. Here is a quick overview for anyone who isn't yet a Forrester client. 

Some industry experts talk about the "magic ratio" of lifetime customer value to acquisition cost. Aligning the price you charge each customer more closely with the value they are likely to receive from your product is vital to increasing the former and reducing the latter. Simplistic pricing undermines lifetime value by undercharging those customers who get the most benefit from your product. Don't think you can fix this error later if you get it wrong at the start - I've seen many start-up vendors limit their growth potential in this way. Flat rate pricing helped them get traction early on, but then when they wanted to accelerate revenue growth they found it impossible to persuade those early adopters to switch to a variable pricing structure. 

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Looking Forward To The B2B Marketing Forum In October 2017

Peter O'Neill

As I did in 2016, I thought that I would provide you with a timely reminder that we have reconfigured our events calendar this year, and the B2B Marketing 2017 forum is now scheduled for October 5th and 6th in Austin, Texas. If you have not done so, it is still not too late to catch up on our recent forum — here is a blog debrief and this is a podcast where I was interviewed after the event.

Planning is well underway. B2B Marketing 2017 will deepen and expand the discussion of post-digital marketing that we began in Miami in October 2016. Post-digital marketing describes practices that replace segmentation and aggregation strategies with marketing techniques that addresses customers at an individual level and engages them at specific moments of need or opportunity. Post-digital marketing is personalized and opportunistic, and our Austin program will examine in detail the application of post-digital marketing to specific marketing tasks and challenges as well as the technologies and platforms to deliver on that vision. So please mark your calendars if you have not already done so.

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It’s Time To Take Flight With Social Selling

Caroline Robertson

The logistics of business travel can be nightmarish, especially when productivity is most crucial, which is business as usual for today’s business-to-business (B2B) sellers. On the surface, million-mile platinum status is evidence of rock-star sellers who are willing to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice to build new and enrich existing relationships on behalf of their firm. But what about when prospects and customers don’t want to see you?

Whether it’s increasing workloads, the ability to be more efficient by participating in remote meetings, or the fact that buyers prefer to self-educate in the early phases of the evaluation process, today’s B2B buyers are less inclined to take sales meetings. Many don’t want to engage directly with sellers until they are further along with their own self-discovery. And when they do, expectations are high for sellers to show up in an advisory capacity and provide consultative expertise.

How then can you be present as a recognized expert with prospects and customers who want to spend less time with you? Mary Shea’s newest report, “Add Social Selling To Your B2B Marketing Repertoire,” explains how B2B sellers who add social selling activities to their daily routine can do this — and much more.

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The B2B Marketing Change Agenda

Lori Wizdo

I think we all accept that business buyers have higher expectations in the age of the customer.  They've  fundamentally changed their buying behavior in this digital age. Unfortunately, too many B2B marketers aren't keeping pace. They must evolve from brand stewards, lead generation machines, and sales supporters to architects of customer engagement across the customer life cycle. B2B marketing leaders need to introduce a change agenda to help B2B marketers lead the transformation to customer-obsessed marketing.  Here are some key takeaways from my recent report -- Get Ready For The B2B Marketing Renaissance -- on this topic.

Hey, It's Time To Catch Up With Your Buyer. Today's digitally empowered buyer controls the buying process far more than vendors control the selling process. B2B marketers must rethink their customer engagement strategies to catch up with an already evolved buyer.

2016 B2B Marketing Budget Plans Reveal ‘Business As Usual' Thinking. B2B marketing program spend held steady in 2015 at, on average, 6% of revenue. Yet the marketing mix remains stable and somewhat stolid, showing that marketers aren't yet looking for new ways to make operational funds generate more compelling customer experiences.

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It's Time To Take L2RM Beyond Revenue Performance

Lori Wizdo

 

I've just refreshed the core documents in Forrester, Lead-to-Revenue Playbook. While L2RM pioneers have realized significant business gains, they have also realized that L2RM is not just about taking responsibility for the impact of marketing spend on revenue performance or about standardizing, automating, and scaling your current marketing practice. Today's digitally empowered buyer controls the buying process far more than vendors control the selling process, and re-envisioning the L2R process offers B2B marketers a rapid evolutionary opportunity to catch up with an already evolved digital business buyer.  Forrester defines L2RM as:

A business system for marketers whose offerings mandate a long, complex, or highly considered buying process, comprising integrated goals, processes, and metrics that reshape marketing practices to drive effective customer engagement across the customer life cycle — from awareness to advocacy. It is measured through the metric of revenue performance — from new customer acquisition through lifetime value.

The point of this graphic is to show how your L2RM process needs to be tightly aligned to your buyer's journey.  

I'm thinking of calling it the B2B Marketing Flywheel.  What do you think?

Thank you if you bothered [formerly 'Why Bother']

Caroline Robertson

If you had a chance to participate in our survey, thank you so much.  We have now closed the survey.  

If you didn't get a chance to but are interested in becoming a panel member, please e-mail Matt Camuso at mcamuso@forrester.com and we'll be happy to include you in our panel so you can receive regular updates and participate in our next survey.

Original Blog Post:

We've recently gone live with our most recent primary research panel survey through which we are investigating the progress of ABM, Seller enablement and B2B Branding. If you’ve seen the invitation and completed our B2B Marketing survey, thank you.  

If you haven’t, the biggest question you likely have is ‘Why Bother?’  Here’s what your input helps us do for you;

  • Tune our research agenda to your most important imperatives
  • Give you the context of where you stand in relation to other B2B marketing leaders
  • Create fact-based research to guide your decisions and influence your constituents
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Ironic Discontinuity — Today’s Typical B2B Events Experience

Caroline Robertson

Back in my early days as an industry analyst, one of my first client events was, in essence, a field trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to take a tour of C.S. Longlines (which AT&T’s analyst relations [AR] team arranged). It was the ship from which tens of thousands of fiber optic cable was laid. I was barely over the US legal drinking age and just learning what bandwidth even meant. So as you can imagine at first, I had some serious doubts about how interesting this would be. It was actually fascinating. And that’s something I can say about only a few of the hundreds of events that I’ve attended since.

I was reminded of this trip after editing Laura Ramos’ newest report “Increase The Payoff For B2B Events With Digital Immersion” because the digital best practices that she writes about surprisingly parallel the most memorable attributes of my Longlines visit:

  • I was engaged before I even started. I knew enough about what we were going to see, and it piqued my interest.
  • It was immersive. We were on a big ship in a harbor — enough said.
  • My experience was customized. There was no predefined path throughout the ship. We toured what we wanted to see versus what AT&T’s AR team wanted to show us (though I am sure that the team eventually showed us all of it)
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B2B Buyers Make The Case For Better Marketing And Sales Alignment

Mary Shea

 

Are your marketing and sales teams caught in that endless loop of finger pointing? B2B sellers who complain about lead quality/quantity and marketers who criticize sellers for poor follow up? After years of acknowledging their issues with each other, many B2B marketing and sales teams continue to be at odds. Just “google” marketing and sales relationships and see what you find. I did and I surfaced 98 million results! Titles such as: “The Rocky Road Between Sales and Marketing” and “How to Survive a Soured Sales and Marketing Relationship” show the dissonance and drama still very much in play.

Five years into the age of the customer and the modern B2B buyer has high expectations. They’re more knowledgeable, independent and self-directed than ever. They no longer rely on your sales people for product, pricing and other information. And they don’t want to be told what they already know. As I explore in our recently published report, B2B Buyers Mandate A New Charter For Marketing And Sales, the empowered B2B buyer is neither concerned with how your organization is structured and who’s responsible for the content on your website, nor are they interested in talking to a sales rep simply because they downloaded a white paper. Your buyers want contextual interactions with both human and digital assets across a holistic but non-linear journey. And, by in large, they want their experiences with sales people to be high value or frictionless. Think of a 2 or 5-star hotel experience – each has its merits - but 3 and 4-star hotels often disappoint.

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Forrester’s Top 10 B2B Marketing Blogs Of 2016

Caroline Robertson

As the number of days in 2016 winds down, my own days at Forrester are adding up. I recently joined Forrester as a new B2B marketing research director, working alongside Peter O’Neill. I appreciate how your appreciation of the insights and guidance from our team led to the need for more leadership, and I am thrilled to be here. So as I’ve been immersing myself in the team’s work, I thought that it would be as interesting to you as it was to me to see what our top 10 B2B marketing blogs of the year were. There were more than a quarter of a million reads of the team’s blogs in 2016, and I wanted to share the top 10 with you by readership.

10. Your B2B Prospects Don’t Want You To Call Them

Steve Casey, principal analyst, shared a fundamental truth of the post-digital world in this blog post. B2B buyers now strongly prefer to conduct their own research, without ever speaking with a sales rep. He recommends that marketers embrace this uncomfortable truth and spend more time considering how to make information readily available to these self-service buyers.

9. Marketo Goes Private: A New Epoch In Marketing Software May Have Just Begun

This blog by Peter O’Neill provided perspective on Marketo’s acquisition by Vista Equity Partners, which it announced inMay 2016. Lori Wizdo, principal analyst, also predicted this kind of move in April 2016 during an interview with CMSWire.

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Sales Enablement Automation Systems Are Ready To Help B2B Marketers Support The Seller Of Today And Tomorrow

Steven Wright

Just published, The Forrester Wave™: Sales Enablement Automation Systems, Q4 2016 highlights the nine leading vendors in the space using 33 criteria. Following on from the Forrester report Vendor Landscape: Sales Enablement Automation, the Forrester Wave report whittles down 18 vendors to nine of the strongest players in the sales enablement market.

The Forrester Wave evaluation process is rigorous, involving in-depth demos and customer references. As my colleague Lori Wizdo noted in a recent blog post about her report, The Forrester Wave™: Lead-To-Revenue Management Platform Vendors, Q4 2016, there’s no hiding for either the vendor or the analyst. The product and marketing teams for all the vendors are passionate and committed in presenting and defending their solution.

As the first Forrester Wave to cover the sales enablement automation market for B2B marketers, this report also offers a clear definition of just what is needed to be a successful solution. While there are many functions that are consistent across the solutions, such as CRM integration (mostly Salesforce) and various levels of back-end content management, there are clear differences as well. The solutions tended to be either/or:

  • Synchronous solutions that focus on the live presenting and meeting experience, whether face-to-face or virtual.
  • Asynchronous solutions that target engagement with content via email.
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