Top 100 SaaS Pricing Champion Vendors

A listing of software vendors exhibiting best-in-class pricing practices in 2023

For modern organizations, SaaS has become integral, not only for growth, but also for survival. But while this dependency on cloud-based software has fuelled an industry worth $197 billion, the subsequent expansion of the average company’s SaaS stack often poses a challenge for those tasked with procuring these tools.

One of the main reasons for this is the widespread lack of pricing transparency. With 55% of software vendors obscuring their costs, the industry largely remains shrouded in mystery.

While this typically works to the vendor’s advantage, the same can’t be said for the consumer. SaaS buyers are often required to engage in numerous sales conversations just to determine accurate price points. And without any frame of reference for what other companies are being quoted, the majority are left overpaying for their tools by an average of 26% – and often by substantially more.

This is even more of a problem for those renewing software. There is often a perceived difficulty in switching platforms, which often swings the pendulum further in the vendor’s favor. The average annual price increase for a SaaS contract is 12%, and 89% of vendors include auto-renewal clauses. Considering that the average 1,000-employee company maintains 177 active software subscriptions, it’s clear to see how easily SaaS spend can surge.

Vertice is on a mission to help businesses take control of their spend, providing SaaS buyers with the leverage they need to secure fair prices. This starts with shining a light on the SaaS vendors that are already showing best-in-class approaches to pricing.

The Top 100 SaaS Pricing Champions list has been curated based on a combination of our data and expertise, taking into account factors including pricing transparency, parity and simplicity, as well as our experience on a vendor’s ability to communicate effectively and work collaboratively with customers to deliver the best possible value. Vendors have been arranged by category to provide a more concentrated view of their scores across these metrics in relation to their peers.

The average annual price increase for a SaaS contract is 12%, and 89% of vendors include auto-renewal clauses.
Vertice Pricing Ratings

Using extensive pricing data from the Vertice database, we have developed three distinct pricing ratings for each vendor. These ratings culminate into the Vertice Pricing Clarity score, a metric aimed at providing business leaders with insight into how a vendor’s pricing practices compare with those of their peers.

These metrics do not represent how expensive or inexpensive each vendor’s pricing is, as any verdict for that type of ranking requires narrow comparisons of like-for-like offerings.

What these metrics do indicate is how easy a vendor’s pricing to understand, whether they’re transparent or more secretive about their actual prices, and how consistent they are in their pricing from customer to customer.

Simplicity
Rating based on how easy and intuitive a vendor’s pricing model is to understand. Parameters: low number of tiers, fixed for longer terms, minimal overages

Transparency
Rating based on the availability of a vendor’s published pricing structures, such as whether pricing is published clearly and explicitly on a vendor’s website. Parameters: based directly on usage, no hidden add-ons, no additional fees, professional services, opaque setup fees

Parity
Rating based on how consistent pricing is across similar customer profiles. Parameters: low pricing variability even across verticals, regions, currencies and company size, standardized and low variance

 

The ranges for these metrics are all relative to each category, as there is a high degree of variance in pricing practices across categories. In other words, the source data these metrics stem from could be the exact same for a vendor from Category A as they are for a vendor in Category B, but their pricing scores could be completely different as the standard for what’s considered high in Category A could be low in Category B, or vice versa.

The same logic applies to the average discount percentages we include in our vendor listings, which indicates how rigid or flexible a vendor is when it comes to their list prices and the prices customers actually pay. A 12% discount off the list price of a sales tool could mean something very different from a 12% discount off the list price of an engineering tool, but the only way to draw any real conclusions on whether you’re getting a good deal on that sales tool would be to find out if you could get better value from another sales vendor.

To learn more about any vendor’s pricing scores, click through the companies listed in this report and check out our full list of vendors here.

Things to note

    1. The ranking is grouped by category

      To meaningfully analyze a vendor’s approach to pricing, it’s vital to compare it to its peers. Pricing practices vary substantially between categories, so comparing an HR vendor with a Sales vendor might not always yield much insight. For example, the vendor with the highest Pricing Clarity Score featured in this report is Factorial, an HR software with a rating of 95. To put that number into perspective, the average Pricing Clarity Score for all HR SaaS tools in our database is 58. For a more general, cross-category benchmark — a Pricing Clarity Score of 70 or higher is typically a good indicator that a vendor has a good pricing practice track record in relation to its peers, as the average scores for the categories featured in this report span from 49 – 66.

    2. Some vendors have been grouped across categories to expand representation  

      Most vendors in our database are linked to more than one category, which enables us to track varied product offerings and the different departmental needs each vendor fills. To account for this wide-ranging degree of crossover, the Business Ops and Product groups consist of many vendors with different main category labels, and we’ve also combined Dev Ops and Engineering tools into one group. These custom arrangements were set up to make this list as inclusive as possible while still providing practical peer comparisons among vendors.

    3. Pricing Clarity is not about how expensive or inexpensive a vendor is

      The ranking is about how a vendor compares with its peers on the transparency, availability, and consistency of its pricing structure. It is not determined by the actual price a vendor charges.

    4. A vendor with a low Pricing Clarity Score might be more likely to raise prices

      Beyond the Pricing Clarity Score and the three key metrics it’s based on, we’re beginning to see correlations between these metrics and other aspects of vendor pricing practices. A recent analysis of annual SaaS pricing increases revealed that vendors with opaque, variable and/or complicated pricing structures are also the most likely to implement year-over-year price increases. In this ranking, finance, sales and productivity are the vendor categories with the lowest average Pricing Clarity scores, indicating that vendors in these groups may be more likely to up their costs on an annual basis. This is something to keep in mind for any customer that has upcoming contract renewals or new purchases with vendors in these categories.

When reviewing upcoming SaaS renewals or new purchases, the more insight you can gain about a vendor’s pricing habits, the better. Customers should approach SaaS contracts with a vendor’s track record in mind — if they raised their prices every year for the last four years, there’s a good chance they won’t let up now.

Finance, sales and productivity are the vendor categories with the lowest average Pricing Clarity scores, indicating that vendors in these groups may be more likely to up their costs on an annual basis. This is something to keep in mind for any customer that has upcoming contract renewals or new purchases with vendors in these categories.

Top 100

Business Ops

Category Pricing Clarity Score

The average Pricing Clarity rating across the Business Operations software category is 55, putting it ahead of only Marketing and (49) and Sales (49) among the vendor groups in this report. The average discount off list prices for Business Ops tools is 17%, indicating that vendors in this group tend to be more rigid in pricing negotiations compared with other software tools.

Of the 13 vendors in this group that made our top 100 list, 12 of them have Pricing Clarity Scores above 70. Our highest-rated vendor in this group is Fracttal, a Spanish cloud-based maintenance and asset management software solution, with a Pricing Clarity Score of 87, putting it at #3 overall.


 

Customer Support

Category Pricing Clarity Score

Of the three Customer Support software vendors that made our top 100 list, the standout is UserGuiding with a Pricing Clarity Score of 83, putting it at #3 overall. Customer Support software vendors do, however, have a slightly higher average discount off list prices (19%) compared with Business Ops (17%), but this is still a few paces behind the leaders in this metric, Sales (25%) and IT & Security (22%).

Of the three Customer Support software vendors that made our top 100 list, the standout is UserGuiding with a Pricing Clarity Score of 83, putting it at #3 overall.

Pricing Clarity
Average Discount

 

Dev Ops & Engineering

Combined Category Pricing Clarity Score

All eight vendors listed within this group score well above their category averages, with the average Pricing Clarity Score for Dev Ops vendors at 59 and Engineering vendors at 63. Standout vendors here include GitHub (76), a code hosting platform, and LaunchDarkly, a feature management platform (75).

With an average discount of 18% off list prices, Dev Ops vendors tend to be less flexible in pricing negotiations than the other software categories included in this list, with the exception of Business Ops vendors (17%). Discounting for Engineering tools (20%) is right on par with the average for all categories featured in this report.


 

Finance

Category Pricing Clarity Score

Of all the software categories featured in this report, Finance has the highest average Pricing Clarity rating (66), indicating that vendors in this sector often show best-in-class approaches when it comes to their pricing transparency, parity and simplicity. Finance software providers also tend to be reasonably flexible with their discounting, with an average discount of 20% off list prices.

All six Finance vendors listed in this report have a Pricing Clarity rating of 70 or higher. Holded, a business management software platform, ranks second overall with a Pricing Clarity Score of 94.

Pricing Clarity
Average Discount

 

HR

Category Pricing Clarity Score

Despite having an industry-wide Pricing Clarity rating of 58, 12 HR software providers made it into our top 100 list, with four ranking in the top 10. Factorial, a Spanish HRIS platform, ranks first overall with a Pricing Clarity Score of 95.

Breaking down the key metrics across this category, HR holds the highest average pricing transparency rating (67) among the vendor groups featured in this report. However, the average pricing parity rating for this group is at the lower end (44), indicating that there are high degrees of variance in the actual prices customers pay for HR tools.


 

IT & Security

Category Pricing Clarity Score

The average Pricing Clarity rating across the IT & Security software category is 63, putting it ahead of most other categories included in this report. Of the 16 vendors from this group that made our top 100 list, 10 of them have Pricing Clarity Scores above 70. Standouts include Kandji, an Apple device management and security platform, with a Pricing Clarity Score of 78 (#11 overall), WP Engine, a managed WordPress Platform (75) and McAfee, a major security software provider (74).

The average discount off list prices for IT & Security tools is 22%, putting this group behind only Sales (25%).


 

Marketing

Category Pricing Clarity Score

With a Pricing Clarity rating of only 49, the Marketing software category is tied with Sales for the lowest among the vendor groups listed in this report. However, there are many high-end outliers in this category, with 20 Marketing vendors making our top 100 list and all but one of them having a Pricing Clarity Score of 70 or higher (Wistia, 69). Standout vendors include the AI-assisted writing tool, Grammarly (76) and Celtra, a creative automation platform (75).

Although the two groups have the same Pricing Clarity rating, Marketing is behind Sales in terms of average discounting (19% vs. 25%). Both groups rate similarly low in pricing parity, with Marketing at 43 and Sales at 40, indicating lower degrees of pricing consistency among vendors in these categories. Marketing also ranks lowest among all groups featured in pricing simplicity (45), which suggests that many marketing vendors have overly complex or confusing pricing models.


 

Product

Category Pricing Clarity Score

The Product software category has the second highest average Pricing Clarity rating (65) of all groups featured within this report. Of the 11 Product vendors that made our top 100 list, 10 had Pricing Clarity scores of 70 or higher. This includes Figma (79), a collaborative interface design tool that scored 79 (#9 overall).

Compared to the Sales, Finance and IT & Security software categories, Product vendors tend to be less flexible with discounts, with a 19% average discount off list prices.


 

Sales

Category Pricing Clarity Score

With an average Pricing Clarity score of 49, the Sales software category has one of the lowest ratings of all vendor groups featured in this report. Eight vendors from this category have, however, made it into our top 100 list, with standouts including Seamless (73), Lusha (72), Proposify (72) and Validity (72).

When it comes to average discounts, Sales vendors are the most generous of all groups featured in this report, with an average discount possibility of 25%.


 

Strategies for saving

Managing spiraling SaaS costs can be a challenge, even when armed with the most comprehensive data. Finance, procurement, IT and departmental leaders all struggle to gain insights into the purchasing process.

To break it down into a simpler perspective, the amount of control a business has over any SaaS agreement depends on how much control it has over two key factors: time and leverage. Leverage can come from all kinds of places, such as pricing intelligence, awareness of a vendor’s sales cycles and overall business health, or insights into the competition.

Even just knowing what options are at your disposal with a particular vendor can help generate leverage. For example, around 89% of vendors alter their pricing based on the length of contract that a customer is willing to commit to. Being aware of the minutiae of each vendor’s pricing practices can go a long way at the negotiation table.

Negotiating contract terms with leverage

The goal is to create as much leverage as possible, and this often means taking a step back and thinking about the bigger picture. Finance teams need to take three key elements into consideration for a negotiation strategy to be effective.

Flexibility

Do you expect to switch tools in the foreseeable future? If you predict that you will likely need to switch tools as your business grows, it might be worth considering a contract with shorter terms so that you are not stuck paying for tools that will no longer serve your business in the long run.

Scalability

Is the product scalable enough to meet future needs? Determine whether or not the vendor can scale its services to your specific needs as your business grows. If the product is scalable, choosing a multi-year contract will help maximize the overall discount.

Price Certainty

How much do you value price certainty? It is almost inevitable that prices will increase in the future. If you want to lock in a discounted price for the duration of a multi-year contract, a long-term contract would be the best option.

Ultimately, the message for finance leaders is simple. To create an operationally efficient organization in a period of lean financial planning will require an intelligent, scrutinizing look at every corner of the business. With SaaS, it means not only running an effective process for managing the different tools and whether they are well utilized, but also securing better visibility into the nature of SaaS purchasing.

Getting accurate, industry-wide pricing data and the expertise to leverage it will be a fundamental differentiator between the organizations able to reduce their total software spend by $100,000s and those that can’t. CFOs have a responsibility to practice smart SaaS buying and establish this across the enterprise. Solutions like Vertice are designed to support finance leaders and typically save customers over 20% on their global SaaS spend.

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