The topic of money is avoided at more places than the dinner table. In the software industry, most buyers and sellers put off talking about price until the very end of the procurement process after product features, functionality, service entitlements, and scalability have been discussed. This strategy can often be a dangerous play, if the buyer doesn’t like the price quoted at the end of the conversation, they may leave the negotiation with a bad taste in their mouth and negative feelings and opinions about a company and product – which doesn’t benefit the buyer or seller. As a seller or vendor, one of the most uncomfortable and frustrating conversations you can have with a prospective customer is around price negotiations, so how can your company own the price conversation, and even a point of differentiation?
One of the first and most important steps you can take to own the conversation and be upfront with prospective customers is to publish your prices online. When a vendor publishes prices online, they get to set the price instead of the market and online communities driving their pricing strategy (we all hate those “but I heard you were selling it for x instead of y”). This is not necessarily the status quo or social norm with software and IT companies, especially ones selling platform-as-a-service sort of products. However, at the end of the day, price is ultimately one of the biggest driver’s of the buyer’s decision making process. If sellers don’t set a baseline expectation upfront, some other outside force will, for better or for worse.
For those companies that have extremely customizable, complicated products, obscuring or not including pricing on your site is completely understandable. However, one solution you may want to explore is adding baseline language such as “prices starting as low as x dollars”. This way, a lot of prospective customers can essentially qualify themselves. No one in sales likes dealing with an unqualified lead that goes through your entire funnel just to find out they intended on spending a fraction of what you proposed all along.
B2B products and services are going through a digital transformation. While it is not yet commonplace to see actual prices online for software, consulting and professional services, B2B buyers are developing the same expectations as B2C consumers in terms of how they buy online, where they do their research and upfront pricing. So why not publish prices online so expectations can be set early and buyers can have a more holistic conversation about the evaluation and procurement process, creating less disappointment for both parties in the end? It might change your business for the better.