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The best way to Create an Efficient Product-led SaaS Pricing Technique

Product-led development (PLG) has turn out to be some of the vital and pervasive subjects in SaaS. 

PLG refers broadly to a method wherein an organization places its product(s) on the middle of its organizational technique. Firms that embrace PLG are outperforming trade benchmarks for monetary efficiency and buyer satisfaction.

The definition of product-led development is usually simplified within the public discourse to “providing a free model of your SaaS product”. However in follow, PLG is way more advanced. What’s extra, there’s an unsung hero that’s the beating coronary heart of PLG: pricing

How is PLG impacting SaaS pricing?

OpenView Companions, a Boston-based enterprise capital agency, is usually thought-about the primary to coin the idea of product-led development. In a bit first printed in Might 2022, OpenView identifies 11 key rules that outline a PLG technique.

Three of the 11 rules OpenView outlines are particularly centered on SaaS pricing. These embody:

  1. Monetize after you ship worth
  2. Monetize primarily based on utilization
  3. Monetize past software program

Clearly, OpenView sees SaaS pricing and monetization as a central component of the trade’s shift to PLG. However why?

For starters, there are solely so many levers you’ll be able to pull to pursue development on your SaaS. You’ll be able to purchase new clients, promote extra “stuff” to present clients, or enhance common income per person via pricing will increase. 

Pricing is often the forgotten lever, however it really has the largest affect on efficiency. In actual fact, a 1% enchancment in pricing can translate to an 11%+ enhance in margins. 

PLG is centered on development, so it is sensible that pricing is turning into extra of a focus of the expansion technique for firms embracing the technique.

Firms are evaluating SaaS pricing methods to make sure they assist OpenView’s different key PLG ideas, corresponding to “construct for the top person”, “construct to be found”, and “supply on the spot product worth”. As these ideas recommend, clients should expertise on the spot worth in a PLG world – low or no friction engagement fashions that rapidly onboard customers are a requirement.

Conventional sales-led approaches typically require a number of rounds of calls, demos, chats, or e-mail exchanges earlier than a buyer receives a worth. That strategy doesn’t work in PLG. The shift to PLG calls for new approaches to pricing transparency and pricing technique.

2 key pillars of product-led pricing technique design

Product-led SaaS pricing isn’t nearly following the gang and providing a free product or deploying usage-based pricing (UBP). It’s about making a set of interrelated choices on a product packaging mannequin technique and pricing mannequin technique to optimize for the wants of your perfect clients.

1. Product-led SaaS packaging technique

There’s plenty of work to be accomplished earlier than you provide you with packaging. It’s essential to work out who you’re serving to (your clients), what downside you’re making an attempt to resolve for these clients, and what product you’re providing to resolve that downside. It’s essential to analyze the worth fixing that downside creates for the client.

We’re going to imagine you’re via these gates. You’ve recognized an viewers, an issue to resolve for that viewers, and also you’ve crafted an answer to that downside within the type of a SaaS product.

One of many first key choices you will need to make is packaging, or learn how to assemble and construction your product on the market to your goal clients. As with SaaS general, there are a variety of components you will need to think about in designing PLG-friendly SaaS packaging:

Tiering technique

The primary choice you will need to make is learn how to construction your product on the market. Will you supply a single bundle or a number of plans? Or will your product be offered a-la-carte? Will you supply add-ons? This set of choices refers to your tiering technique.

Most SaaS firms use a tiered packaging technique, wherein a single product is offered in a number of plans with completely different entitlements to utilization and options. 

The time period “good-better-best” refers to a packaging technique wherein you supply three product tiers, with every successive tier providing extra utilization or options for a better worth. The entry-level tier is probably the most inexpensive and is “good”, the center tier is “higher” and matches most clients, and, you guessed it, the most costly tier is “greatest”.

A tiered packaging technique with three “good-better-best” tiers is the commonest packaging mannequin for SaaS, together with PLG SaaS firms. That’s an excellent place to begin, however it’s not sufficient to simply go together with the gang. 

You must outline your tiering technique primarily based in your buyer segmentation. You may have a single product providing or as many as 10 or 12 tiers. You must have a product bundle that’s designed to serve every of your product’s key buyer segments.

One other consideration in packaging is whether or not or not you’ll supply a free tier of your product. A free tier may be the “good” providing in your “good-better-best” packaging construction or one other tier along with your paid “good-better-best” tiers. 

The choice on whether or not or to not supply a free tier is as a lot a call in regards to the nature of your product and your organization’s buyer acquisition targets as it’s a pricing choice.

Tier definition 

You might have a SaaS product, and also you’ve outlined the client segments that you must serve along with your product. Your product provides sure options which might be accessible to clients. How do you resolve which options to supply to which clients?

This problem refers to tier definition – the way you outline the “content material” of every of your product plans to swimsuit the client phase(s) that every plan is meant to serve.

There are mainly three choices for a way a SaaS product plan is structured: options, utilization, or a mixture of the 2.

  • Options: In our framework, options confer with elements of your product which might be both accessible or not accessible and don’t scale with consumption; it’s a binary choice. For instance, you may entitle clients to SAML SSO or not – it is a characteristic.
  • Utilization: Utilization elements typically confer with entitlements to eat your product. For instance, you might need a plan that enables clients “5 customers”, “5GB storage”, or “5,000 advertising and marketing contacts per 30 days”. These are limits on the quantity {that a} given buyer can use the product.
  • Hybrid: That is merely utilizing a mixture of options and utilization to set limits on how a buyer or clients can use your product.

The idea of “utilization” is central to establishing a SaaS packaging technique for product-led development. PLG or not, software program entitlements to options generally enhance for dearer plans of a given product. However in PLG, the idea of utilization, alternatively referred to as consumption, is on the forefront – in any case, a key tenet of PLG is to monetize primarily based on utilization.

We discover that almost all product-led SaaS firms design their product plans round a mixture of options and utilization elements. Usually, they set limits on consumption round 3 to five key utilization elements. 

Free and lower-cost entry-level plans usually have extra utilization elements than dearer plans, and dearer plans are sometimes entitled to limitless utilization throughout extra or all utilization elements.  

There are additionally many linkages right here to pricing – you’ll be able to’t design packaging in a vacuum. Good pricing begins with analyzing worth. A part of analyzing worth is figuring out worth metrics, or the items that measure how your buyer will get their perceived worth from consuming your product. 

The worth metric turns into the inspiration of learn how to decide a pricing metric, which is the unit(s) used to cost your buyer on your product. The worth metrics not chosen as your pricing metric usually turn out to be these utilization elements that outline the bounds of every of your product’s plans.

2. Product-led SaaS pricing mannequin technique

Figuring out your SaaS pricing mannequin technique is the opposite key basis of building a product-led SaaS pricing technique.

Product-led pricing mannequin technique includes figuring out how you’ll worth your product to your goal clients. This includes defining a lot of components related to how you’ll worth your product, that are interrelated to at least one one other, and contemplating your product packaging choices as nicely. 

Product packaging issues

Key components you’ll have to find out embody:

  • Your product’s worth metrics and a correlating pricing metric as described within the earlier part
  • A pricing mannequin on your product, which is immediately influenced by your chosen pricing metric(s)
  • Metering and billing phrases that decide in case you supply a pay-as-you-go mannequin, require time period subscriptions, or have a hybrid of the 2
  • A pricing meter that defines whether or not your pricing might be expressed per 30 days, like most SaaS choices, or per second, per minute, per hour, per 12 months, and many others.

Probably the most vital of those choices is your chosen pricing mannequin, as this may outline the way you monetize your product and also will assist decide the way you arrange the opposite components of pricing described above, corresponding to your critically-important worth and worth metrics. 

You might have the next product-led SaaS pricing fashions to select from:


In a flat-fee mannequin, the client pays a recurring, predefined month-to-month, annual, or different time period subscription charge for entry to an outlined product and tier. The pricing metric in a flat-fee providing is structured into the utilization elements which might be used to outline every plan of the providing. 

EXAMPLE: You pay $100 per 30 days for the “Gold” plan of a product, which supplies you with as much as 100GB of storage. On this case, the GB of storage is the pricing metric.


Per-user, or seat-based, pricing is a mannequin wherein the client pays a recurring, predefined month-to-month, annual, or different time period subscription charge for every person that has entry to a product and a given tier of that product (if relevant). 

Per person is a broad class of pricing fashions that encompasses extra particular definitions of “person”, corresponding to lively customers, brokers, staff, or any mannequin the place every particular person person of the software program should pay for entry to the software program.

Per-user fashions are sometimes utilized in mixture with a tiered packaging technique. In a per-user mannequin, customers are the pricing metric. 


A usage-based mannequin is a pricing construction wherein the client pays for what they use. Utilization is outlined and metered primarily based on a pricing metric(s). 

Utilization-based fashions are generally structured as pay-as-you-go, wherein the client is billed in arrears on a month-to-month foundation for precise utilization. Utilization-based fashions can even use credit or related buildings to cost primarily based on utilization however require a term-based subscription.


A hybrid mannequin is a mixture of a number of of the above pricing fashions. Widespread hybrid methods embody twin worth metrics in addition to overage pricing. 

In a twin pricing metric technique, a buyer might pay a foundational flat-fee or per-user license, after which a usage-based charge for consumption of a selected characteristic. With overage pricing, a buyer usually pays a flat-fee or per-user license for an outlined plan, and that plan permits the client a specified quantity of utilization. 

If the client exceeds that utilization, they pay for the overage on a utilization foundation. The client on this state of affairs might select to pay the overage charge or improve to the subsequent tiered plan to entry increased consumption limits 

EXAMPLE: A software program license permits customers to retailer as much as 500 advertising and marketing contacts per 30 days. The person should pay the overage charge per each 100 further contacts. 

Commonest product-led SaaS pricing technique

With all of those interrelated decisions for SaaS packaging and pricing, it may be tough to know the place to even begin on the subject of establishing the suitable mannequin for product-led development.

You may even see and listen to the excitement about “monetizing primarily based on utilization”, however aren’t positive if that mannequin is sensible for you, or what it actually even means on your product context.

When you end up with this problem, it may be useful to be taught from what your direct and aspirational friends available in the market are doing.

In a current research referred to as PLG Pricing: Seats and Utilization, PeerSignal and XaaS Pricing analyzed this subject by breaking down the packaging and pricing fashions of 125 SaaS distributors that PeerSignal labeled as PLG leaders. 

PLG SaaS pricing tendencies

The businesses included in PeerSignal and XaaS Pricing’s research ranged from startups to established public firms. The businesses studied deal with a broad vary of SaaS classes. 


Right here’s what the analysis found:

  • There isn’t any one proper method to strategy SaaS pricing and packaging for PLG. General, 17 completely different mixtures of packaging and pricing fashions have been noticed within the research. That stated, there have been some fashions that stood out as way more fashionable than others.
  • Utilization-based pricing is usually talked about, however not typically used. Solely 6% of the businesses that have been analyzed used true usage-based pricing the place pricing is metered by utilization. 28% use some usage-based pricing, usually for overage pricing.
  • The normal per-user pricing mannequin is hottest amongst product-led development leaders. In actual fact, 58% of PLG firms use a per-user pricing mannequin. The remaining largely use flat-fee fashions.
  • Tiered packaging fashions with usage-based tier definitions are customary. 74% of the PLG firms analyzed within the research use a usage-based tiering mannequin.

These outcomes recommend that if you’re a product-led SaaS firm working at the moment, you probably at the moment make use of or will quickly make use of a lot of the following methods:

  • Flat-fee or per-user pricing mannequin; overage pricing is determined by firm and trade
  • Between three and 5 complete product editions, often together with a free plan, two to 3 self-serve plans, and an enterprise plan with customized pricing
  • Editions are outlined primarily based on a mixture of options and utilization elements 
  • Three to 5 utilization elements (primarily based in your product’s worth metrics) are employed to outline editions; utilization elements are constant from plan to plan, and plans are clearly introduced to indicate how upgrades allow further utilization 
  • The free plan and/or first paid plan might have extra elements gating utilization (roughly 10 to fifteen on common) than different plans, which is finished to position extra fences on utilization and promote quicker upsell to paid plans
  • One of many elements is clearly signaled as the first pricing metric, aligning to your worth metric, and introduced as such on the web page, typically with a quantity pricing drop-down menu or sliding scale calculator
  • Utilization elements are often softly managed limits, which means distributors will monitor utilization for repeated overages after which interact with clients to handle the improve; overage is simply chargeable if the corporate employs a UBP technique.

For many, the above framework provides an excellent place to begin when shaping a product-led SaaS pricing technique.  However you will need to additionally think about the state of your product-led journey and the targets of your pricing technique.

The product-led SaaS pricing roadmap

Whereas there are clear norms in how main product-led firms are approaching pricing technique at the moment, product-led SaaS pricing technique shouldn’t be a static effort. 

Pricing is dynamic and by no means completed. Main product-led SaaS suppliers began at completely different locations with their pricing methods and can constantly iterate on pricing and packaging to optimize for product-led development.

There are 4 phases of a pricing and packaging technique that you simply’ll progress alongside as you pursue product-led development on your SaaS product. Relying in your providing, buyer preferences, market class norms, and rivals, you could have a distinct place to begin and a distinct ending level.

It’s vital to grasp the journey and the choices, so you’ll be able to align your product and enterprise to a product-led SaaS pricing roadmap that’s optimum on your targets.

The middle of product-led pricing technique is the idea of monetizing primarily based on utilization. The journey states that idea as a central driver. Levels of the product-led SaaS pricing roadmap embody the next:

No usage-based pricing or packaging  

Similar to it sounds, with such a mannequin, you don’t worth with a usage-based pricing mannequin, and also you don’t have any utilization components integrated into your packaging technique. This mannequin is often greatest for merchandise with per-user pricing the place everybody within the group is meant to be a person. 

A superb instance is Lattice, a supplier of worker engagement software program. This mannequin is usually a place to begin and ending level for firms which might be unlikely to deploy a usage-based mannequin.

Utilization-based tiering with conventional pricing 

That is the predominant mannequin amongst at the moment’s product-led SaaS leaders. With this mannequin, you might have conventional subscription pricing with a flat-fee or per-user pricing mannequin. You outline clear tiers of your product (usually three to 5), with every tier imposing limits on consumption. 

Tiers are outlined round a transparent pricing metric that ties to your worth metric, and a small variety of different essential utilization metrics. This mannequin incentivizes clients to improve once they want extra options or customers, in addition to for utilization once they exceed the imposed limits of their chosen plan.

Utilization-based tiering with conventional pricing, plus conditional usage-based pricing

This mannequin makes use of the identical tenets of the earlier mannequin however applies further prices primarily based on usage-based pricing. Mostly, these further prices are for overage. 

EXAMPLE: A enterprise intelligence software program firm might cost a flat-fee or per-user worth for a given plan and impose a plan tier restrict of printed dashboards. 

With this mannequin, the corporate would then cost an overage charge per further printed dashboard. Different variants of this mannequin use the identical construction however apply completely different guidelines for what triggers the conditional usage-based pricing. 

A typical instance is feature-based pricing, corresponding to that utilized by Stripe or others within the funds market. There’s a base cost and different prices which might be enabled primarily based on situational utilization of these options. These are completely different than add-on merchandise in that they are often dynamically enabled or disabled on a transaction-by-transaction foundation.

Pure usage-based pricing

This refers to a mannequin wherein the corporate costs solely primarily based on utilization.

How to decide on the suitable product-led SaaS pricing technique

Step one is to make sure that your group correctly defines what being product-led means for your enterprise. Being product-led is an organization ethos that extends nicely past pricing and impacts all sides of your enterprise. 

As with product-led SaaS pricing, there are a lot of choices for being product-led. It’s essential to perceive which working mannequin works for your enterprise, what the dependencies are, and the way pricing matches into that equation.

Steps to making a product-led pricing technique 

Relating to figuring out your pricing and packaging technique, selecting the best strategy actually comes right down to

  • Defining possession
  • Establishing pricing as a course of, not a undertaking
  • Doing all of your homework

Outline possession

Pricing is a tough operate as a result of there’s usually not a single proprietor. That is very true for startups and early-stage firms. Pricing is both nobody’s job or everybody’s job. To succeed with product-led pricing, it’s actually vital to determine clear roles and accountability.

You must consider pricing as a course of, not a undertaking. It’s not possible to ever be “completed” with pricing. Markets transfer, buyer expectations change, and that you must adapt your pricing technique accordingly. 

Set up a course of

As soon as pricing possession and roles are outlined, that you must outline a course of for a way your organization will consider and make pricing choices. A key component of that is additionally defining how you’ll prioritize the pricing challenges you sort out (of which there might be many). 

There isn’t any single script to comply with. It can rely in your firm. However establishing a course of mindset and constructing methods that permit for normal analysis of pricing will set you on the suitable path.

Do your homework

With folks and processes established, it will definitely comes time to do the precise work and conduct pricing analysis.

Many firms guess at pricing. You’ll differentiate by doing all of your homework. This implies doing as a lot buyer, competitor, and market class analysis as you’ll be able to inside the lifelike constraints of the sources, funds, and timeline that you’ve got.

Earlier than you’ll be able to set pricing, that you must perceive, measure, and handle your product’s worth. Worth units the context for pricing, and helps you identify key components of your providing, corresponding to your worth metrics, which information your pricing metrics. Worth definition and administration is a broad idea that may be a essential place to begin for establishing a pricing technique.

In defining worth and establishing pricing, that you must monitor your general class, direct rivals, and aspirational rivals to anchor you within the actuality of what’s occurring available in the market. 

Clients contextualize your SaaS product primarily based on its positioning. Each market has low cost and premium gamers. Differentiating the methods you bundle your product, or the pricing fashions you utilize is a strategic choice that may require defining positioning, after which successfully speaking that positioning to clients.

Lastly, that you must speak to present and potential clients to assist inform your packaging and pricing technique. This once more is determined by who you’re and the place you’re at – it could embody conducting a handful of interviews or executing a quarterly international pricing survey program with hundreds of surveys. 

Nonetheless, don’t let your clients lead you astray – your clients may have biases that they introduce that should be managed. 

However you’re at a major benefit in case you’re speaking to clients to grasp the perceived worth, in addition to desire for options and completely different pricing fashions.

Every of those steps warrants a separate publish, and there’s nice studying on the market available in the market to get you began. In the event you set up folks and processes, work round frequent targets, and undertake a analysis mindset, you’ll be on the highway to efficient product-led SaaS pricing.


Product-led development is a disruptive and transformational development that defines how people and corporations purchase software program.

Pricing is an unheralded point of interest on the middle of product-led development. Product-led development emphasizes low-friction, fast worth, and monetization aligned to utilization – which in concept, is healthier aligned to worth obtained.

Establishing a pricing roadmap on your firm’s product-led development technique journey will assist align you to buyer demand and most successfully pursue your development ambitions.

Title your worth (and your technique). Pursue product-led development and decide the suitable worth factors with pricing software program



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