A Call for Instant and Honest Software Pricing

By Deane Barker on March 11, 2012

How Not To Sell Software in 2012: This is a polemic calling for “instant pricing” for all software.  The author rants his way down a list of complaints of the practices of enterprise software vendors, and I really can’t fault him for any of it.

Today’s startups are tomorrow’s enterprises. Many of the other startup folks I know share the same expectations about how software should be sold. Basically, if a given software package or service isn’t free/open, it should be as easy as humanly possible to try it, pay for it, and start using it in production. If it isn’t easy to get started with your product, I’m going to find another vendor.

Still, it would be tough to get this idea to take root among enterprise vendors, for at least a couple reasons – one legit, one less so.

First, enterprise software pricing can be notoriously complicated.  Many packages are made up of multiple components, with dependencies that may be hard to explain.  (Of course, one could make the argument that if you can’t explain this in a publically-available forum, then it’s too complicated…)

Second, enterprise software has the list price…and then the price you actually pay.  Actual pricing depends on a lot of factors, including your perceived budget, the current sales load, the potential for future sales to your organization, proximity to the close of a sales period, etc.  Like it or not, these all play into how software gets priced, whether a vendor is willing to admit it or not.



  1. I know of a well-known enterprise microblogging tool whose prices range from $3-15/per user/per month.

    Now bulk pricing and all … but 5 times difference!?!

    I’m all for simpler enterprise pricing, and for me, it’s a good reason to examine smaller solutions from mid-market vendors.

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