Kelly Singsank, Director of Product Marketing at m3ter chats about the benefits of usage-based pricing (UBP) and how this can drive growth for B2B SaaS companies:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat, Kelly. Please tell us about yourself and a bit more about your role at m3ter.
Thanks for having me! A bit about my background – I grew up in California just outside of San Francisco, and after graduating from university I started my first job in Sales at Oracle. This was my start in technology and I eventually found my way into Product Marketing.
From there I joined a startup, RelateIQ, which was then acquired by Salesforce. I had a great 6 years at Salesforce, in both San Francisco and London, and led the Product Marketing team for the UK & Ireland before taking the leap back into the startup world at m3ter, a tool that makes it easy for SaaS companies to deploy and manage usage-based pricing.
After meeting the m3ter team, I had an instant pull to the people, the growth opportunities, and the product. The culture the co-founders have built is supportive, fun and challenging. It’s exciting to be part of building something incredible from the beginning. And the product is leading a category that is new and will change pricing for SaaS businesses forever.
We’d love to hear about the platform and its journey – what’s in store now that it’s out of stealth mode?
m3ter launched from stealth in February with $17.5M in seed funding. The co-founders are repeat entrepreneurs who had previously built and sold a company to AWS. They had experienced the exact problem m3ter is now solving for – when your product is priced based on how much your customers actually use (rather than a flat license fee), it’s incredibly challenging to accurately and efficiently bill for this. With m3ter, we help SaaS companies to intelligently deploy and manage usage-based pricing (UBP).
We’re growing quickly – we doubled our team in less than a year and are experiencing high demand for the product. We already have multiple customers across cloud infrastructure, payments, fraud detection and ID verification – all sectors where a usage-based model is a natural fit, but is difficult to implement without the technology to support it.
Looking ahead, we’ll keep growing our team, figure out new ways to meet global demand and support our customers, and continue to build a great product, including doubling down on data science-driven analytics.
Why do you feel usage-based pricing will gain more traction in the marketplace, and how is this trend already evolving in today’s ecosystem?
UBP is already rocketing in popularity amongst B2B SaaS companies. And while it’s not a new model (it has been in telecommunications for years), software companies are quickly realising that traditional per-seat pricing is not the best way to maximise revenue or attract new customers. According to a 2022 study of 600 SaaS companies by OpenView Partners, 45% said they used UBP, up from 34% the previous year. Of the remaining 55%, 11% are planning to test it in the next 6 to 12 months, and another 23% plan to do so from 2023. This pricing model is here to stay.
UBP is attractive because, by charging customers only for what they consume, it allows easier adoption, costless upsell, better margin control, and greater customer satisfaction. And SaaS businesses that have implemented UBP are experiencing 30% year-on-year growth vs. 22% for other pricing models (OpenView data). In a tech downturn, that’s important – pricing remains a powerful lever for continued growth in an otherwise difficult market.
How can better pricing change the game for product / service providers?
Never has there been a more important time for pricing. In today’s economic climate, CFOs are being asked to make their companies profitable, rather than focusing on growth at any cost. Pricing is one of the most obvious levers they have at their disposal, but it’s historically been misunderstood and underinvested in. If companies start committing to iterating their pricing regularly, it could have a big impact on revenue.
And pricing doesn’t have to be usage-based. At m3ter, we believe the future model is hybrid – a combination of subscription licences and product usage. The advantages of UBP are proven, and have shown to significantly increase Net Dollar Retention (NDR). Knowing how much your customers are costing you will also be vital over the next few years as companies look to manage margins more carefully.
That being said, implementing a pricing change is challenging, because almost no company has the tool in place to iterate and experiment without it being painful and expensive to implement. This is where m3ter can help.
When it comes to growing market share for a new startup in tech: what are some of the challenges you often see, and some best practices you feel teams at this stage need to focus on more?
My experience is primarily in marketing, so I’ll share some of my thoughts from this angle.
- Focus on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) – It can be easy to see many areas of opportunity with your product – which is great – but targeting too many at once will create serious challenges in who you’re building for, messaging to, selling to, and supporting. Start with a clear, focused ICP. Land that market first, and then systematically move onto the next area/industry/customer. Otherwise, by trying to serve everyone, you risk serving no one well.
- Have the right message in the market – Nailing your message is no easy feat, and it’s important to be agile and iterative with it. Always be testing. Talk to customers, do research, A/B test your website. Make sure you’re aware of macroeconomic trends and the impact it has on how you message to the market.
- Build your startup marketing programme one step at a time – Know where to focus and what channels drive the greatest results for your business. Invest in fewer channels and strategies first, and do them really well. Once you learn what works well, add something else into your strategy. For example, at m3ter, we’re laser focused on defining the category, building helpful content, and landing how we GTM (product messaging, releases, building partnerships, sales motion). In the future we’re looking to build a lead generation motion.
What are you most looking forward to for 2023?
While we’re entering what looks like will be a challenging year for the global economy, I’m optimistic and excited about the opportunity we have at m3ter to help customers navigate this time and capture their true value through better pricing.
I personally have a lot to learn in this new role, and can’t wait for what is to come.
m3ter is a metering and pricing engine that makes it easy for SaaS companies to deploy, manage and optimize usage-based pricing. The company was founded in London by Griffin Parry and John Griffin, repeat founders who previously built and sold their backend-as-a-service business for video games, GameSparks, to AWS. Investors include Kindred Capital, Union Square Ventures and Insight Partners.
Kelly Singsank, Director of Product Marketing at m3ter
Kelly is the marketing lead for m3ter, a tool that helps companies capture their true value by deploying and managing usage-based pricing. Prior to joining m3ter in 2022, Kelly was at Salesforce for 6 years working across San Francisco and London, and most recently led the Product Marketing team for the UK and Ireland. She has also worked across a breadth of roles including sales, customer success and product marketing at RelateIQ (a startup acquired by Salesforce) and Oracle.
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