What is product and price management?

Alvaro Morales

Developing your SaaS product and pricing it are completely intertwined. They both rely on one another, but to be successful in juggling the complexities of each one, you’ll need a strategy. 

In this explainer, you'll learn what product and price management is and how a clear roadmap guarantees your product's appeal and pricing match the value customers receive.

We’ll go over:

  • A definition of product and price management
  • A deeper look at both product management and pricing management in SaaS
  • How and why product and price must management integrate
  • Key components of effective product and price management
  • Obstacles you’ll need to overcome in product and price management
  • Tips and best practices for SaaS businesses 

Let’s dive in.

What is product and price management?

Product and price management is the ongoing process companies use to develop, launch, and strategically price their products or services. 

These include understanding market dynamics (competitor offerings, price fluctuations, and customer desires), setting product prices that strike a balance between costs, desired profit margins, and the customer's perception of the product's value; and creating pricing structures (such as subscriptions, one-time fees, or usage-based pricing).

Managing data across systems is critical, as pricing decisions rely on accurate information about market research, sales numbers, costs, and other factors. 

Adaptability is critical

Prices often need to be adjusted as markets, costs, and customer preferences shift.  Companies dedicated to product and price management see results in higher profits, better customer satisfaction, and a greater ability to respond to changing market conditions.

A closer view at product management in SaaS

Product management is a core function within SaaS companies, responsible for guiding the continuous development, refinement, and market positioning of a software product. It involves several key aspects:

  • Deep customer understanding: Product management teams identify customer pain points and understand what value their solution provides. This involves gathering and analyzing feedback through market research, surveys, and user interaction.
  • Strategic vision: They constantly monitor market trends, competitor activity, and technological advancements to ensure the product remains relevant and competitive.
  • Roadmap development: Product management crafts a strategic plan that outlines the product's development priorities, feature sets, and release timelines. This plan carefully considers customer needs, market realities, and available resources.
  • Cross-functional collaboration: Product management involves close work with other departments like engineering, design, marketing, and sales. This aligns everyone on product goals and launch milestones.
  • Iterative approach: Launch isn't the end. Product management is about gathering feedback, analyzing usage patterns, and making data-driven updates to enhance the product's value.

Why it’s so essential for SaaS products

In the SaaS model, the product itself becomes the driving force behind the company's success. Effective product management is essential in this area:

  • Market fit: Ensures the product aligns with genuine market needs and maintains a competitive edge.
  • Solving real problems: Product management makes sure the software provides clear and consistent value by focusing on core customer pain points.
  • Staying adaptable: Enables a SaaS product to evolve along with the ever-changing needs of users and market needs.

Understanding the intricacies of price management in SaaS

Price management in SaaS goes far beyond simply setting a price tag. It's about strategically setting, adjusting, and analyzing your pricing to align with your company's objectives. This process considers several key factors:

  • Value proposition: How much value does your software bring customers? What types of problems does it solve, and how much time or money does it save them? Your price should reflect the value you provide.
  • Competitive landscape: Understanding your competitors' pricing helps you position your product effectively. Pricing can communicate whether you're a premium or budget-friendly solution.
  • Flexible pricing models: SaaS offers options like tiered pricing (different plans for different needs), usage-based pricing (pay as you go), or freemium models (some features are free). The right choice depends on your product and audience.
  • Using data for insight: Analyze how customers respond to your prices. This data will reveal areas where you might need to refine your pricing strategy.

Impact on your SaaS business

Price management directly influences several vital aspects of your business:

  • Customer acquisition: Your pricing tells potential customers what to expect, impacting whether your product fits their budget and perceived needs.
  • Customer retention: Customers are more likely to continue with your product if they feel they're getting value for their money.
  • Revenue: Naturally, effective price management helps optimize your revenue streams.

Why product and price management must integrate

Product features and pricing strategies are deeply intertwined and should influence each other. It's essential to clearly understand how these two areas impact each other.

How features influence pricing

When developing significant new features that deliver increased value to customers, a price increase or the creation of a higher-priced tier might be justified. 

Conversely, if you remove features or reduce functionality, you will likely need to adjust your pricing downward to compensate.

How pricing influences features

The amount you can charge for your product directly impacts your development budget. A lower-priced product may require a focus on essential core features. A premium price can open up investment possibilities for added functionality, giving you a competitive edge.

The importance of aligning these two types of management

It's crucial to make sure product upgrades and new features align with what customers are willing to pay, as well as with the overall pricing landscape of your market. Failing to do so can lead to frustrated customers or missed revenue opportunities.

Customer feedback throughout the development process — from initial ideas to beta testing — is vital to ensuring features are valued and justify their cost within the pricing structure.  

Additionally, it's vital to stay aware of competitor pricing. Overpricing compared to similar products risks losing customers, while consistently undercutting the competition might delay investment for further product improvement.

The best product and price management teams work in tandem. They share data, collaborate on upcoming releases, and ensure that the product's value proposition evolves in alignment with its pricing strategy.

Key components of effective product and price management

Product and price management are complex, multifaceted activities within any organization. To excel in these areas, it's essential to understand and implement strategies around different aspects of your product and its pricing. Let's explore some of the key components:

Product lifecycle management

Successful products don't exist in a vacuum. They're constantly changing and evolving based on customer needs and market conditions. Product lifecycle management helps you confirm that your product stays relevant throughout each stage of its life.

In the introduction phase, your pricing needs to make sense to early adopters. You might use introductory offers or trial periods to gain traction. As the product gains popularity, you can potentially raise prices or introduce tiered options for different customer segments. 

Price competition can be fierce during maturity. To stay competitive, you will probably need to adjust pricing or bundle in additional value. 

In the final stage of your product’s lifecycle, you might consider lowering prices, cutting features, or finding new niche markets to keep the product alive (or decide it's time to retire it altogether).

Value-based pricing

This strategy centers on understanding your product's perceived value in your customers' eyes. Your product's price shouldn't merely be the cost of making and selling it plus a bit of profit. You need to consider what it saves them in time and money. 

Market research is a key part of this. Understanding what customers would pay for an alternative solution and what competitors charge for similar problems helps you determine how valuable your product is. Value-based pricing gives you more flexibility to charge higher prices if you're truly solving a big pain point for customers.

Dynamic pricing strategies

Dynamic pricing allows you to adjust prices based on real-time factors. You could use time-based pricing (surge pricing used by ride-share apps or seasonal discounts in retail), where you adjust prices based on demand. 

You can also employ market-driven pricing, where you react quickly to competitor price shifts or broader economic changes to stay competitive.  

Lastly, dynamic pricing allows for customer segmentation, meaning you might charge different prices to different types of customers based on their size, usage patterns, or the value they derive from your product.

Remember: Implementing dynamic pricing often requires specialized software and detailed data analysis. However, even small shifts in pricing can make a big difference to your bottom line.

The biggest challenges in product and price management

Even the best product and price management teams encounter obstacles. Here are some common ones:

  • The balancing act of features vs. customer needs: It's easy to get excited about building new features, but if they don't solve real problems for your customers or they make the product overly complex, you risk losing them. Tight feedback loops and clear prioritization linked to customer problems are vital in balancing this.
  • Competitive pressures: The SaaS market moves fast. If a competitor releases a new feature that blows yours out of the water or if they undercut your prices, you need to be able to react. This requires constant market monitoring and a willingness to adapt your plans.
  • Changing prices without losing trust: Price increases are necessary at times, but customers don't like surprises. Clear communication, transparency, and potentially grandfathering existing customers at older rates can help soften the blow.
  • Managing data and making it actionable: Good pricing decisions rely on accurate data about costs, customer behavior, and the competitive landscape. This data often exists in different systems — or even spreadsheets. Making sure it's centralized and usable is a big challenge for many businesses.
  • Finding the suitable pricing model: Should you go with a simple monthly subscription, usage-based pricing, or a tiered system? Each model has pros and cons, and suitability depends on your product and audience. Experimentation may be needed to find the best fit for your business.

Tips and best practices for SaaS businesses

Integrating product management and price management can be pretty complex for SaaS businesses. Here are some best practices you can follow to guide your strategy:

  • Encourage constant cross-collaboration: Break down silos between product and price management, or business teams. Regular meetings involving product managers, pricing specialists, and other stakeholders like sales and marketing ensure every team is aligned.
  • Let customer data lead the way: Surveys, interviews, and usage analytics put a spotlight on what customers truly value and what they're willing to pay. Make gathering and analyzing customer data continuous, not a one-time project.
  • Experiment with A/B testing: Before rolling out significant changes, test different pricing options or packaging with a small segment of your customers. This will provide insight into how the market is likely to react to your changes.
  • Be transparent above all: If you need to adjust pricing, communicate those changes clearly and in advance, explaining the reasoning behind them. Surprises erode customer loyalty.
  • Keep an eye on the competition: Monitoring competitor prices, feature sets, and market positioning is essential. This data informs your own pricing decisions and helps you differentiate your product advantageously.
  • Revisit pricing regularly: Your costs change, your product evolves, and the market shifts. Your pricing needs to evolve alongside these factors. Schedule regular reviews (e.g., quarterly) of your pricing structure to make necessary adjustments.

Next steps

Now, you have a solid understanding of product and price management in SaaS. You know that finding suitable pricing models, evolving your offerings, and staying agile is key to success. 

However, implementing these dynamic strategies while still having a cohesive product roadmap can be complex, especially as your business grows. One of the first hurdles you'll likely encounter is aligning your billing to support your product and pricing blueprint. 

Manual processes and legacy systems may not be able to keep up with frequent changes, leading to billing errors, revenue leakage, and a frustrating customer experience.

Thankfully, specialized billing solutions like Orb can ease these burdens and become a powerful extension of your product and price management strategy.

Orb offers a complete suite of tools designed to simplify the complexities of product and price management by seamlessly handling the billing side of the equation. 

Here's how Orb supports your evolving needs:

  • Flexible pricing models and increased agility: Orb supports usage-based, tiered, and hybrid pricing models, allowing you to experiment with confidence, launch new products and pricing faster, and adapt to changing market conditions.

  • Real-time usage data for data-driven decisions: Orb easily ingests detailed usage data, enabling real-time tracking of customer behavior. This allows you to make informed pricing and packaging choices backed by complex data.

  • Plan versioning, migrations, and reduced errors: Orb's plan versioning allows you to test new pricing iterations and seamlessly migrate customers without disruptions or billing errors, minimizing revenue leakage and ensuring a smooth customer experience.

  • Customizable workflows and insightful reporting: Orb's customizable workflows and detailed reporting provide insights on which pricing models are performing best, helping you identify areas for optimization and growth, and reduce operational overhead.

Learn how Orb can help you easily solve your product and price management.

May 22, 2024

Ready to solve billing?

Contact us to learn how you can revamp your billing infrastructure today.

Let's talk.

Thank you! We'll be in touch shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.