You might already be familiar with Asana – the new-ish Project Management product that makes MS Project feel like an abacus, and even one-ups Basecamp.

But their approach to project management software isn’t the only thing new about Asana. Their SaaS pricing is new as well (or at a minimum “different” than the norm):

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 3.01.53 PM

Notice something odd?

Take a minute if you need…

Saying No to Bulk Discounts

The vast majority of SaaS products use a straightforward pricing approach: the more you buy the less it costs. Similar to any commodity you buy at the store – like good old toilet paper – when you buy in quantity you start getting bulk discounts.

And this is what we do at Less Meeting – starting at $12/user and reducing to $4.50/user:

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 9.29.25 AM

Asana says no to bulk discounts.

Asana starts off at $3.33/user (it’s actually even free for very small teams) and gradually INCREASES to $8.00/user.

SaaS Pricing 101: Price == Customer’s Value

How does Asana get away with this (if you want to call it that)?

I posed this question recently and got a great answer from Jason Lemkin, as well as the Asana team itself. It’s really a simple answer – Asana follows the #1 rule in SaaS pricing – they align their pricing to the value customers get from their service.

Most products that sell true solutions to business get more expensive the more you buy.

The reason is that the bigger the enterprise, the more complex the problems you solve, the richer the solution you provide … the more you can charge.

To be clear, Asana and Jason aren’t saying that every SaaS company should start adopting a reverse discount pricing model. BUT, if you’re selling a full solution that increases in value then you absolutely should be doing this.

What does increased value mean?

  • Additional features
  • More of something (esp. in transaction pricing models)
  • Company wide adoption

In Asana’s case they understand that the value of one person using Asana alone is vastly different than the collaboration and productivity gains you get when you roll out Asana to your entire company.