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Complexity vs transparency

over 1 year ago 3 mins read
Adam Schoenfeld
Adam Schoenfeld

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I've spent a bit of time looking at PLG pricing the past six months.

PLG pricing is transparent by default.

But many B2B companies make pricing a big secret (must talk to sales).

This gives sellers control, but are there any good reasons for buyers?!

Would love your comments here, I'm probably missing many.

The main argument I hear is about complexity.

So if you're committed to transparency, how do you communicate complexity?

I worked with Kevin Elliott to tear down 18 PLG pricing pages and answer this question.

We found 3 themes...

**1.) Lead with Free**

Defer the complexity.

Bring buyers into the free plan/trail and get them hooked.

When it comes time to understand pricing, they have more context about your product.

New Relic is a nice example.

Above the fold on their pricing page, you just see a big CTA to sign-up.

As you get deeper into the pricing page, they continue to highlight the free CTA above other options.

**2.) Visualize the Math.**

Instead of "we charge $N per X units of Y and have 5 tiers based on 27 different things," you show a picture.

You make an equation.

You visualize it.

You make it interactive.

OnScale has a nice graphic to explain their usage metric:

We also found several different pricing calculator approaches that help visualize the math, even in complex situations like Digital Ocean with many products/dimensions.

**3.) Thoughtful FAQ.**

Not a new idea, but a great pricing FAQ goes a loooong way on a complex, self-serve pricing page.

Doing this well is not easy.

You can’t write a book, but need to be comprehensive.

It's a tough balance, but worth the effort.

Karbon pricing FAQ is an interesting example here because they go beyond explanation and use their pricing FAQ section as market positioning, offering "10 reasons firms hesitate."

Even if the FAQ is just explanatory, it can be a powerful tool to overcome complexity.

Chargbee has a few high-level FAQa on their pricing page, then link to a dedicated page with more details. They deliver an impressive level of transparency for buyers by spelling out all the details in plain english.

We picked these examples because all of them have some usage-based factors.

Usage can be particularly complex.

So we thought they would be a good starting point.

In Q4, I'm planning to team up with Bryan and Colin at XaaS pricing for another study of PLG pricing.

Look for that in the next couple months!

*What’s your take on transparent pricing in b2b?*

I read all replies.