The Altimeter Group recently published a report called the Customer Bill of Rights: Software-as-a-Service which caught my attention, as I am a SAAS attorney who works on SAAS agreements (some people call them SAAS license agreements). The report is titled ’39 Best Practices to Improve Client – Vendor Relationships.’ I am not sure that this is the end result of reading the report, but there are interesting points addressed in the report. Also, it appears to me that this report is somewhat (maybe very) slanted in favor of the customer’s perspective, but it is still a must read for SAAS vendors.
The report outlines many issues that — they believe — prospective customers should bring up as part of their negotiation process with SAAS vendors. It is primarily a list (long list too) of things that SAAS vendors should be addressing in their day-to-day business practices and SAAS agreements, to make the prospect feel more comfortable with and trust the vendor. While I agree that it is important to build trust with a prospect before closing a transaction, I look at the usefulness of the report another way.
Instead, I suggest the purpose of reading the report (for SAAS vendors at least) is as follows:
- SAAS vendors should anticipate what their customers and negotiators (whether it is their purchasing department or attorneys) will ask for and expect as part of the buying process.
- SAAS vendors should study their customer’s point of view/perspective, so they can make sure they are addressing the customer concerns in their offerings, marketing collateral and contracts.
- SAAS vendors should know how to address these issues, so they can point their prospects right to the answer, resolution or appropriate response when the issue comes up; this is not a time to have a ‘deer in the headlights’ response as it really is an opportunity to shine.
Take a read and educate your sales teams on these issues, because I am sure that some prospective SAAS customers will use this report as their checklist before making a purchase.