Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Small Business Friendly Pricing

This is one of those things I have been intending to write about for years, but the post I have had in mind was going to be awesome and definitive, so naturally I never wrote it.   I am going to crank out a crappy post instead, just to do it, and type out a few thoughts - in this case about CRM app pricing - maybe I will come back here and update.

First, the no-brainer - let us start for free, and not with a "trial version" - trial versions suck, and two week trial versions are ridiculous.  Many pps these days often have a great deal of complexity and steep learning curves- that is expensive to us.  We need to be able to quickly get into the app, decide if it is for us and not lose a single minute of work we have put into it it.

A company that gets it wrong in this respect is Salesforce - they start at $50 a month for a limited version and only a two week time period.   No effing way Saleforce - i don't want to have to pay you $50 a month for my own data for the rest of my life- not even though you seemed to offer me some special deal    They are really leaving the lionshare of the small business community - independent small business market to others with this dumb pricing scheme.

A company, in the exact same CRM industry that gets it right is Insightly - 2,500 contacts - definitely enough to have value, social media integration and top notch technical support for free, and thereafter just $9 a month per user.  That's good, but not perfect - there is a "barrier to entry" for team formation there.  A team of three could form, and then when they hit their forth member everyone has to pay - so now it goes to $36 a month - a big jump and not insignificant to many solopreneurs, who may want to be on many teams.  I think there is a way for the CRM service providers to do better than that - encourage team formation in a way that will actually increase their paying user base.   For example a single payment that would allow you to be in as many groups as you want.   I have to assume they have already thought of that so perhaps I will ask them.

I saw another one - Free CRM I think, that was free for 12 users so that seems to be how companies in this industry are pricing - primarily by ?users" rather than by number of records of some other measure.

Lot's of implications to this, but I need to think on it a bit