Extra SaaS Charges Pricing Methods to Offset Stagflation


Estimated learn time: 12 minutes, 31 seconds

FastSpring beforehand offered on SaaS charges pricing and packaging to fight stagflation in 2022, however this text is predicated on an up to date presentation delivered in March 2023 by David Vogelpohl. For extra data or to view the prior presentation, try the extra particulars on the finish of this text.


Pricing your software program as a service (SaaS) will be exhausting sufficient even throughout one of the best of instances, however determining the best way to dial in the correct pricing to drive extra income in instances of stagflation will be much more difficult.

This text provides suggestions for optimizing pricing and packaging of your SaaS merchandise in a less-than-stellar economic system:

FastSpring helps SaaS and software program corporations promote all over the world. Our all-in-one cost platform features a best-in-class localized checkout, subscription administration, international tax administration, reporting and analytics instruments, and extra. Join a free account or request a demo to be taught extra.

What Is Stagflation? 

Succinctly put, stagflation is an financial situation affected by three key components:

  • Low development. 📉
  • Excessive inflation. 📈
  • Excessive unemployment. 📈 

This implies there’s extra strain than ever on: 

  • The wallets of prospects you wish to entice. 🧲
  • The wallets of current prospects you’d wish to see improve. ⬆️

That’s why fastidiously contemplating your SaaS pricing mannequin turns into essential if you wish to proceed rising your small business in a good economic system. 

Utilizing Your SaaS Pricing Mannequin to Combat Stagflation 

The simplest reply is to lift your costs, and also you wouldn’t be alone when you did so.

Over a 3rd of FastSpring’s SaaS, software program, and digital items prospects raised costs within the final 12 months. 

Graphs showing that over a third of FastSpring companies raised prices recently.

Apparently, SaaS corporations have a tendency to lift costs larger than the speed of inflation.

Pulling this lever — no shock — typically works to extend income, despite the fact that it may be a tough transfer to make when many shoppers have much less cash to spend in a stagflation economic system.

However reconsidering pricing and packaging can also be some of the under-optimized levers in SaaS. 

Why Elevate Costs? Why Not Strive One thing Else? 

There are many different levers you might pull to attempt to improve income when the market is tight, apart from rising your pricing. 

Growing acquisition, rising conversion charges, and decreasing churn are all potential choices. 

Nevertheless, all of these choices take a whole lot of work within the type of cross-functional time and power to implement them. 

When you take into account the trouble and sources that must be invested in rising acquisition or reducing churn via methods akin to product-led development (PLG) or bolstered buyer success efforts, it may well grow to be a gradual and doubtlessly overwhelming course of, illustrated right here by medium and enormous t-shirts:

Table with headers Strategy, Acquisition, and Churn, then rows labeled PLG, Customer Success, and Pricing and Packaging. Each cell includes a t-shirt of Small, Medium, or Large.

Every of these medium and enormous t-shirts signify the quantity of effort, sources, and so on. it takes to implement PLG and buyer success efforts in a means that may improve buyer acquisition and reduce churn.

However product pricing adjustments take little or no effort and will be finished in a short time, as signified by the small t-shirt above. 

As Patrick McKenzie factors out, it may be so simple as changing a smaller quantity with a much bigger quantity:

A screenshot of a tweet quoting Patrick McKenzie.

All issues thought of, altering your pricing could be the best, easiest change you may make when your small business wants to extend income shortly.

Optimizing Your SaaS Pricing Technique for New MRR vs. Internet Income Retention: The Progress Mustache

As you take into account implementing totally different pricing, an extra issue to bear in mind is whether or not you wish to optimize for brand new MRR, or for internet income retention — or each.

Enter the “development mustache.” 

A graphic of a sideways bracket with Growth at the top and New MRR and NRR at the bottom.

The expansion mustache is a sideways bracket {that a} former CFO of mine all the time referred to. (I added the “mustache” descriptor, as a result of, effectively, it seems to be like a mustache to me.) 

Progress is pushed by new month-to-month recurring income (MRR), or new prospects coming in, and by internet income retention (NRR), or how a lot of your current prospects’ MRR or ARR you’re retaining or rising. 

And in case your NRR is over 100%, that’s a multiplier to your earnings, nevertheless it’s additionally a multiplier to your valuation.

Typically, there’s operational leverage with totally different pricing and packaging, however you additionally know you’re in an setting the place prospects could have much less cash coming in and extra money going out. How you alter your pricing might have an effect on your skill to achieve new prospects, retain and develop current prospects, or each, so maintain this in thoughts as you begin making adjustments.

Check Inventive SaaS Pricing Mannequin Combos to Unlock Income

When you’ve determined that altering pricing choices is the path to go, there are nonetheless a whole lot of methods you’ll be able to experiment. Pay-as-you-go plans, per-feature pricing, freemium pricing fashions, flat-rate pricing versus usage-based pricing, per consumer plans — which is correct in your SaaS enterprise?

Listed here are a couple of choices to think about, for starters: 

  • SKUs:
    • Platform tiered plans
    • Product(s) tiered plans
    • Persona tiered plans
    • Single add-ons
    • Bundles of add-ons
  • Entitlements:
  • Pricing:
    • Value
    • Recurrence
    • Geography
    • Cost methodology
    • Reductions
    • Free trials

Look inside these choices for tactics you’ll be able to improve your operational leverage. 

For some, which means arising with a purchaser persona-based pricing plan that has a barely larger common income per consumer (ARPU).

For others, which means together with a brand new add-on that permits them to lift the worth extra.

For others but, it could imply switching from a flat-rate pricing mannequin or user-based pricing to a extra dynamic feature-based or usage-based pricing construction.

Monitor the Results of Any Modifications to Your SaaS Pricing Technique

Rigorously monitor the consequences of any adjustments to your SaaS pricing mannequin utilizing reporting and analytics instruments. That is to make sure you know whether or not the adjustments are serving to or harming your SaaS enterprise income, your variety of customers, and different key metrics. It’s essential to know precisely which metrics are essential on their very own or together. 

For instance, if the client base shrinks slightly when there’s a rise in worth level, however the remaining lively customers are paying a better worth and producing extra income general, some companies could be thrilled with that change. 

However know which adjustments are essential to your small business mannequin. A well-established SaaS enterprise could have very totally different priorities than a startup has.

Success Is Spelled With 3 S’s

Usually once we consider pricing and packaging, we couple our skill to make extra income with our skill to create one thing new.

Take for instance the innovation S curve: We make one thing; it grows in adoption; it plateaus. And it’s simple to get caught within the considering that the one technique to get a brand new income stream is to create a brand new product solely. 

We will decouple that considering and begin considering that new income S curves will be created by altering the packaging, plans, add-ons, and extra, simply by giving customers new methods to buy from you and use your platform.

If we additional consider a utilization metric primarily based on a worth metric that has overages, these new plans and add-ons themselves can improve ARPU over time. 

SaaS Pricing and Packaging Add-Ons

Add-ons provide a better path to rising common income per consumer for each current and new prospects on a funds, as a result of they’ll choose and select what to buy from you — somewhat than paying, say, flat-rate pricing for a bigger package deal that features a set of options they don’t need or want.

For instance, are there current entitlements you’ll be able to promote as add-ons with out creating any further engineering work? Can a type of features be sliced out to create a brand new SKU with out making a wholly new product? 

Add-ons are available in many types, so you’ll be able to have many alternative add-ons or create a number of bundles of them. 

They arrive with danger — as a result of they’ll depress your improve MRR if fewer individuals are upgrading to a bigger package deal — however add-ons could be a highly effective driver of NRR.

To mitigate that danger, fastidiously measure your improve and downgrade charges as you start making adjustments to your packages and add-on choices.

Moreover, you can too wait to pitch add-ons till after customers have signed up in your core product. As soon as they’re utilizing your product and prefer it — and as soon as any further purchases they make would qualify as upsells, which helps your internet income retention numbers — pitch them add-ons that will additional improve their expertise of utilizing the product.

This enables prospects to enter your SaaS product at a lower cost level, after which it may well enable you construct your MRR and ARPU via these upsells. 

And a decrease preliminary worth level can even enable you achieve a bonus when going after market share, too — particularly when you can undercut opponents’ pricing slightly.

Making a New Pricing Tier to Drive Common Income Per Consumer (ARPU)

Is it potential that the ARPU-boosting tier you want is one which exists between your current plans? 

For instance, when you’ve got a tiered pricing mannequin with $25, $150, and $300 choices, possibly the correct pricing tier to drive extra income is someplace in between, round $75. 

As talked about above, when you select to do that, observe your outcomes fastidiously! You could discover a whole lot of $25 customers will improve to the $75 plan to make the most of a barely larger set of options, as a result of whereas they by no means would have jumped from $25 to $150, a $75 possibility in your pricing web page seems to be way more cheap to them. However when you discover plenty of $150 customers are additionally downgrading a tier to economize, it is probably not value it to take care of the brand new $75 plan. 

Segmenting SaaS Plans to Make clear the Worth of Your Product and Enhance ARPU

One other risk is to section your packaging primarily based on very particular buyer wants. 

For instance, WP Engine is a managed WordPress platform that manages all types of websites, however they noticed a chance to focus on WooCommerce customers particularly, in order that they created a package deal that focused simply that viewers. 

A screenshot of the WP Engine pricing page for a segmented pricing plan for WooCommerce users.

This allowed them to spotlight prospects’ wants inside this one section to seize their consideration and get extra signups. Over time, WP Engine was ready so as to add extra product worth for these customers, which elevated WP Engine’s income.

Cost Frequency Will increase Leverage

An annualized pricing possibility provides consumers the advantage of a reduction by paying for a 12 months up entrance, nevertheless it additionally provides you the advantage of decreasing your churn price whereas bettering a buyer’s general lifetime worth, or LTV. 

To additional leverage this technique, you’ll be able to present extra aggressive annual pricing reductions for brand new subscribers or for these subscribers keen to change from month-to-month charges to annual charges.

Intro interval pricing can even make adoption simpler for customers. 

Tip: When you’re providing an Enterprise plan and the worth level begins wanting slightly costlier when paid for yearly, attempt to maintain that worth beneath $5000. Many procurement departments have a coverage of requiring group members to get approval for any purchases bigger than that, so when you can maintain costs beneath that threshold, it’s simpler for customers to simply make that buy through bank card with out leaping via inside hoops at their very own corporations. This could range and isn’t a rule, nevertheless it’s a great guideline to check out.

Inflation Isn’t Flat: Fluctuate Your Technique

As you take into account altering your SaaS firm’s pricing technique, potential prospects’ willingness to pay isn’t the one factor to bear in mind. Inflation can range rather a lot in a comparatively quick period of time, and that variation will be additional diversified in each nation or area. 

An inflation graph of the annual percent change in consumer price index in Brazil, US, India, Germany, and China from 2008 to 2022.

Monetary headwinds as they relate to numerous geographies can imply that localization turns into extra essential when you provide your saas product internationally. 

Take away Pointless Buying Friction With Localization

Localization usually entails a number of elements, together with however not restricted to:

  • Accepting the popular funds of the areas you’re promoting into.
  • Localizing the pricing. 
  • Localizing the foreign money. 

Every of these comes with its personal further profit not only for consumers, however in your revenue margin as effectively.

When you’re not accepting the popular cost methodology of the international locations or areas you’re promoting into, you might be leaving 5-10% on the desk. For instance, SaaS corporations specializing in penetrating Europe ought to take into account accepting SEPA direct debit funds as a cost methodology, because it’s a quite common cost methodology there.

Localizing pricing converts at 2x for B2C SaaS corporations. Simply be sure to have a great justification for various pricing in several international locations or areas, in case a possible buyer manages to see multiple worth.

Native currencies are simpler to get accepted and for the goal market to know. When new prospects see your SaaS charges displayed in a foreign money they’re used to, it makes it that a lot simpler for them to purchase, eradicating the acquisition friction of conversion math earlier than making a call. 

How FastSpring Can Assist

FastSpring helps SaaS and software program corporations promote all over the world. Our all-in-one cost platform features a best-in-class localized checkout, subscription administration, international tax administration, reporting and analytics instruments, and extra. 

Find out how utilizing a service provider of report might help you scale your digital items, software program, or SaaS enterprise quicker and take away lots of the complications of breaking into new markets and transacting throughout borders.

Join a free account or request a demo to be taught extra.


The data within the above article was lately offered by David Vogelpohl in a webinar hosted by Cumul.io. Watch the unique presentation on their YouTube channel.

Need extra information on SaaS product pricing and packaging in a stagflation economic system? Take a look at our earlier presentation (and podcast episode) with account government Tony Markov and former FastSpring CPO Kurt Smith, Pricing Methods to Fight Stagflation.

David Vogelpohl

David is the CMO of FastSpring. For 25+ years, David Vogelpohl has led groups constructing elite engines of development and software program for main manufacturers like WP Engine, Genesis, AWS, Cloudflare, and extra.



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