Negotiating SaaS renewals is much harder and more time-consuming than it needs to be. In fact, many of our customers say that their IT teams spend more than 50% of their time on vendor negotiations alone. From buying to tracking to surveying to negotiating to provisioning – SaaS renewals can be exhausting. Now multiply this effort by the hundreds of SaaS applications in use, and it quickly becomes all-consuming.
Even with these countless hours sunk into vendor negotiations, we still hear horror stories of blind auto-renewals or unforeseen true-ups. These are the scenarios that keep IT and Finance leaders up at night.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Your IT budget is precious, and your time even more so. Here are four ways your team can spend less time and save more money on your next renewal.
1. Use a SaaS renewal calendar: never miss an auto-renewal again
A renewal calendar enables easy visualization of upcoming renewals so that you know exactly what’s coming up and when. This helps you prep and prioritize accordingly without surprises:
- $250k contract coming up in 90 days? You know that’s going to be a heavy lift, so let’s start getting ready for that today and look at detailed engagement data and usage levels by feature tier.
- $15k contract coming up in 30 days? Let’s not waste too much time over-preparing for that one, and just gather the basic engagement data and pricing.
Tracking the right windows for negotiation, including with upcoming auto-renewals, is critical for preventing ugly surprises.
“With Productiv’s calendaring feature, what’s been amazing is getting that 30, 60, 90 day view of what’s coming… so I can better prepare myself with very deep analytics of the usage patterns before I talk to the vendor. And I think that’s really one of the big keys for us, is understanding what our true use case is to better shape the conversation and then keep Finance aware that these things are coming.”
Jim Fazzone, VP of IT, HashiCorp.
2. Centralize all your SaaS contract data in one place
Quick – how many different Salesforce license tiers do you have? What are you paying for each tier? How many licenses within each tier are actually being used? What are the cancellation terms?
In order to answer those seemingly simple questions, you probably would have had to check in lots of different places. This data is likely spread across several PDF contracts, a bunch of messy spreadsheets, and an uncustomizable admin dashboard.
Having all your contract data centralized in an easy-to-read, easy-to-consume place ensures that you don’t waste time digging around for all the right details in order to prepare for your next vendor negotiation. Everything sits at your fingertips with one click, even those pesky and often forgotten auto-renewal and early termination clauses.
A centralized system of record coupled with renewal planning drives stronger collaboration across IT, Finance, Procurement, and Line-of-Business owners. Renewal planning is a deeply collaborative process that involves several functional owners – a single source of truth brings everyone together in one place and on one timeline. Drive better conversations and make stronger collective decisions off of the same source of data.
“Historically, we’ve been managing our apps through spreadsheets, shared calendars, Google drive documents…Finance will have one version of this spreadsheet, IT will have another version, and then the business owners and the budget owners will have a different version. You’ve also got contract repositories that aren’t unified, cohesive, or centralized. We have a centralized view with Productiv, which allows us to make global decisions. There’s a real cohesive workflow for us now.”
Ashraf Monzur, VP of Global IT, Cheetah Digital
3. Understand SaaS usage down to the feature level
Imagine if at your next renewal you had more data than your vendor. Come to the negotiation table with all the information you truly need. Understand deep usage patterns, down to the feature- and activity-level, by team and by location. For example:
- Which teams and users are creating and editing Box documents, rather than simply viewing documents?
- Which Salesforce features that you’re paying for are actually getting used?
- Which teams are using overlapping tools like Slack and Teams?
This feature-level data allows you to make precise, data-driven decisions about which license tiers you need for which users and teams. Be armed with the information that you really need to negotiate effectively.
“The visibility and insight that Productiv provides into how our applications are being used enables our Procurement and IT teams to partner closer than ever before and is changing the way we adopt and manage technologies within our organization. Productiv provides us with the insights we need to reduce license waste and improves our team’s productivity since we no longer need to manually track our portfolio and renewals.”
Sheel Patel, Head of Strategic Sourcing & Procurement, Okta
4. Rightsize your renewal based on what’s best for your organization
After you spend hours collecting all the right data from various data sources, how do you then make sense of it all?
An intelligent recommendation engine tells you exactly where you can save money — whether by reallocating existing licenses, downgrading license tiers, or getting rid of some licenses altogether — as well as where you should upgrade or add licenses to improve collaboration and increase productivity. Never be forced to make an “educated guess” again: leverage recommendations based off of millions of data points from actual empirical usage patterns.
“We had a large six-figure sales productivity tool contract that was coming up for renewal and we really leveraged Productiv in a deep sense, when we looked at their usage, we looked at how many of our different users were actually using the tool. It took us seconds to get to this data. It’s all in our dashboard. And we were able to really truly have a much more meaningful conversation with our vendor than we would have if we didn’t have Productiv. We actually ended up saving 30%.”
Praniti Lakhwara, CIO, Apttus
If you prepare for and rightsize your next SaaS renewal with these best practices…
- Renewal calendars
- Centralized contract data
- Feature-level engagement data
- Data-driven recommendations
…you are likely to save more than 30%, like many Productiv customers have already.
Productiv serves as your system of record for all things SaaS, and enables you to focus IT time and budget where it really matters. Learn more by requesting a demo of Productiv’s leading enterprise SaaS Management Platform today.