Discount Marketing for B2B SaaS Founders

This is the eighth chapter of the B2B SaaS Marketing Playbook

“Price is what you pay and value is what you get.”

Action Items

1. Offer an Annual Plan


Annual Plan

Many B2B SaaS businesses offer annual plans. This allows customers to save money while companies recognize revenue earlier. The sunk-cost effect also helps with user retention. (Pricing)


Annual Plans

Annual plans help Airtable boost user retention and recognize revenue earlier while annual subscribers can save money. (Page)

2. Provide Free Credits


AWS Credits

AWS credits are used as an alternative to offering service discounts. These credits include expiration dates like other promotional programs. (Page)


Notion Credits

Notion offers credits to incentivize certain user actions. This gamification technique seems to focus on actions that boost user retention. (Credits)

User quests include:

  • Referrals
  • Migrating from Evernote
  • Logging in from a web browser
  • Using the web clipper for chrome
  • Using the web clipper for mobile

3. Offer an Early-Stage Discount


Early-Stage Discount

Intercom lowers sign up friction for early-stage startups with introductory pricing.

The service is able to grow with companies by offering lower pricing for a year. This also contributes to vendor lock-in with high switching costs. (Intercom Early-Stage Plan)

4. Offer Comparison Pricing


Comparison Pricing

Basecamp offers a unique pricing frame. They compare the Basecamp price to others by focusing on value, number of users and comparable tools. (Basecamp Pricing)

5. Offer a Discounted Trial


Trial for $7

Ahrefs is one of the few B2B SaaS companies offering a paid trial.

By charing a small amount, Ahrefs collects payment information and qualifies leads. Unless the trial is canceled, users automatically convert to the monthly plan.

Discounted trials can remove some of the friction around collecting payment information faced by companies offering free trials. (Pricing)


Incentivized Behavior

Notion incentivizes behavior by offering discounts.

Credits are used to incentivize use across multiple platforms including mobile and web. These ‘quests’ seem to be correlated with higher retention.

Verifying Payment

Discounts are used to remove friction around collecting user payment information.

Ahrefs charges $7 for a discounted trial instead of $99 for a full month.

By lowering the barrier of entry, Ahrefs collects payment information, qualifies leads and increases the likelihood that trial users will convert.

Intercom also lowers the barrier to entry by offering a discounted plan to early-stage startups.

Discounted plans can establish habitual use before exposing customers to the full price of a service.

Annual Plans

Annual plans are becoming more common in the B2B SaaS space.

These plans tend to offer a discount while boosting user retention and allowing companies to recognize revenue earlier.

The Book

This is the eighth chapter of the B2B SaaS Marketing Playbook