The topic of pricing and request for advice on how to price a product comes up on a regular basis. I always like to share the Pardot pricing experience, including lessons learned. Pricing is something that is best treated as yet another experiment in the startup process with the caveat that all things equal, it’s better to start too high and come down.
Here’s the early progression of pricing at Pardot:
- $65 / user / month, minimum three users – At launch in late 2007, we priced the product based on Salesforce.com (how cool is it that Salesforce.com now owns Pardot?!?). The idea was that each marketing user that used the product would pay for a seat. Note: it didn’t do email marketing at the time, so there weren’t any email volume concerns.
- $325 / account / month, unlimited users, unlimited contacts, with an allotment of 10,000 emails, 100,000 page views, and other modules (e.g. 10 landing pages), plus a required $2,500 quick start fee to set everything up. Email overages were billed separately. We quickly raised prices to $500 / month to reflect value and market dynamics.
- $1,000 / account / month with the same characteristics as the previous offering but now a quick start package was included at no additional charge. By getting rid of the quick start fee, we were able to shorten the sales cycle, increase the average recurring revenue, and capture more of the value provided by the software. This was a major breakthrough for the business overall and this was the pricing for 3+ years of the business.
- $1,000 / account / month for up to 30,000 contacts with unlimited emails and additional fees for more contacts. This became the standard in the industry and allowed vendors to capture value based on the size of the database such that accounts would grow as their marketing efforts grew. This change worked well and allowed us to grow the average size of an account.
Pricing should adapt to the market and continually change over time. We didn’t get the pricing right originally, but we kept improving on it and built a great business.
What else? What are your thoughts on Pardot’s pricing progression through the years?