Laziness, properly executed, can actually reap great rewards. In a refreshing counter-narrative to today’s productivity-obsessed culture Hlade’s law states, “if you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person; they will find an easier way to do it.”
In fact, it’s only a certain type of lackadaisical genius that could have bestowed upon our society miracles like the elevator, the microwave, and the Clapper. The lazy automate.
Paradoxically, we the lazy are often willing knuckle down now, just to reduce future labor.
Luckily, my particular neuroses make both comparison shopping and haggling/human-connection enjoyable and I’ve gathered quite a few tips that you yourself might want to use when deciding how to buy SaaS and what purchase to make.
1. Compare Wants, Needs, Product Features and Price: This is a pretty obvious thing, but lots of people just don’t do it. Make a list of
all the features you want and need and plot them against what your top three platforms offer. Remember to prioritize!
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Download my personal template if you like it.
2. Know thyself: Imagine you were trying to sell something to yourself. What would really get you to pull the trigger? The Eisenberg Buyer Modality separates buyers into four types: Competitive, Spontaneous, Methodical, and Humanistic depending on how quickly they make decisions and whether or not they are logic- or emotion-based buyers.
Knowing how you buy can help you make a good purchase, but more importantly it can stop you from making a bad one. Are you buying for your company? Even if you are usually a competitive, emotional buyer, chances are in this scenario you’ll be more methodical. Why? Because you’re buying like your boss would buy.
You’ll probably immediately recognize what category you fall into, but for better or for worse, business decisions, especially ones at higher price points, tend to be made more slowly—they go through various committees, departments, and meetings. Keep in mind how your organization works, and use this knowledge to your advantage.
If you need a product quickly and don’t have time for the red tape perhaps one of your main decision-making factors is a low price-point that you can approve yourself. Or perhaps what you need is a monthly plan that will allow you to get to know the product once you’ve decided it’s the right one for your company. All of these factors can help you narrow your focus and zone in on the best option.
3. Make a deal. Now I work for a SaaS company. I mostly stick to content, but I do know that while a lot of thought goes into pricing, most companies are happy to work with you on cost and package size as long as they are confident you will realize the value of their product. This is an awesome secret weapon that most people don’t even consider. (For the record, I am not suggesting you do this to Oz.)
But, full disclosure, I’ve really made it work for me.
When I first started as head of content here at Oz in July, I knew I needed a photo licensing company. But a relatively thorough search just revealed a bunch of companies that were too expensive and wanted to sell me way more photos than I needed. I didn’t want to look anymore! But I also didn’t want to keep spending hours trolling through creative commons photos.
When I found Deposit Photos, I realized that they would be in my price range if they had a subscription plan that wasn’t as large as the ones they were offering. At that point, I was still struggling to run 1 or 2 stories a week and, even with social distribution, I didn’t need anywhere close to 10 images a day or 70 images a week.
Via email, I spoke to Anna, a CSR who I still talk to today whenever I need a renewal or upgrade. After explaining my situation to her, they offered me a plan that fit my exact needs. They even gave me a three-month plan rather than 6-month, which made me more comfortable since we were such a young company. Now they’ve got a solid customer. Thanks, Deposit!
[Tweet “If what you need doesn’t seem to exist, work with a company to create it.”]
This brings me to my next point.
4. Don’t be afraid to talk to sales people, but do know what questions to ask. If you understand something about the product send an email, or use Intercom or another chat client. Ask about how the product really works, how it can work for you, how you can use it to be better at your job. My general experience with sales (especially at SaaS companies) is that they are willing to go the extra mile to help you be good at your job.
Not only that but if you need some sort of proof to show your team or boss, sales people at great companies will (and should)turn to their content team and ask for (or demand) some collateral that help prove the value of our product to your team.
5. Extend your free trial One of my best recent software purchasing experiences was as a consumer, with YNAB budgeting software. I love so many things about this tool, but I didn’t really know that I did until they gave me a second free trial period.
A good friend had recommended YNAB to me over a year ago. When I signed up for the month-long free trial, I didn’t really use it. YNAB is one of those tools with a learning curve. But what I learned, IMHO, is that it’s totally worth learning.
As it turned out, though, during my first trial, I didn’t take-the-time/have-the-time/want-to-take-the-time-to-face-my-finances, and I did not learn how to use the product.
A year or so later, I was really committed to getting my finances in order so I went back to YNAB, tail between my legs and wrote them this email:
“A friend recommended YNAB to me about a year ago and I downloaded the software for a free trial, but never used it. This time I’m serious about it! Unfortunately, my trial period has expired.
Can you guys hook me up? Pretty sure I’ll like it. “
Jen, from their support team, replied with a guiltless “sure!” a new activation key, and links to their quick start guide.
I was grateful, I took the time to learn the software, and I’m a very happy YNAB customer today. Thanks, YNAB!
(A word of caution: not even I have tried to milk this one more than once, so…also know your limits.)
What it all boils down to is this. When you’re buying software:
- Know what it is that you want versus what you need
- Know yourself
- Remember that you are dealing with human people!
SaaS companies want to sell you something that will HELP YOU as much as it helps them. So after you have run through your comparisons and lists of pros and cons, don’t forget that the companies themselves can sometimes offer the most valuable information when it comes to making your, lazy but hella-informed, final decision.
We sell SaaS at Oz. It enhances your ability to come up with great ideas and unique angles for articles. Check it out.