"Don't underestimate the power of personalization. By offering customized pricing or package options, you can make your product more attractive to individual customers and increase the likelihood of a successful upgrade"

When you're a SaaS business, upgrades and downgrades are part of the daily routine. You might have a customer who starts with a free trial, and then chooses to upgrade because they want to add more users, or they want access to advanced features. Or you might have a customer who wants to downgrade their plan because they're scaling back and no longer need as many features.

How do you ensure that your customers are getting exactly what they need? And how do you make sure that you're always offering them the right plan for their needs?

To help you out, we've put together this list of six different ways that you can upgrade your customers (and reap the benefits).

Value-Based Upsells

Upselling is a technique of selling a more expensive product or upgraded version of the product that the user is currently using.

One way to upsell your customers in a way that benefits them is by offering add-ons or upgrades to their current plan. These value-based upsells are designed to add more value for your customer. Think about what you can offer that would enhance their experience with the product and make them feel like VIPs. For example, if you run an online course platform, you can offer one-on-one coaching calls with professors and create an additional revenue stream for your SaaS company.

Another way to think about it — adding discounts while charging more can be a great way to make your users upgrade their plans.

Create Multiple Product Tiers

You can create multiple product tiers with different features, price points, and customer segments in mind. For example:

You can create a base tier that is free for life and offers basic features to all users. This provides value to your customers by allowing them to try your SaaS product before they buy it.
You can create a premium tier that includes additional features for power users who are willing to pay more money for these advanced capabilities.
You can also create a middle tier that includes the most essential features at an affordable price point geared toward businesses looking to purchase your solution at scale.

Many SaaS companies use this freemium model, which has proven successful in providing value while also allowing you to upgrade customers who need more functionality from the product.

Scoop Up Similar Tools Into Your Own Software

Don't have to juggle multiple tools.

In addition to getting more bang for their buck by buying a SaaS bundle rather than individual tools, customers will save time by streamlining their workflow. Rather than juggling several different SaaS tools at once (with each having its own user interface and learning curve), they'll need to know just one software suite to do everything they need. They'll also appreciate how simpler it is to log into just one dashboard instead of many different ones throughout the day.

For example, Salesforce Essentials bundles CRM and sales productivity tools together into one package that costs less than $30 per month per user. Another example is Microsoft Teams: Microsoft has bundled its Skype video conferencing software with Word processing and spreadsheet software like Word Online and Excel Online; cloud storage like OneDrive; email; calendar; class collaboration software like PowerPoint Online--really the list goes on and on!

Create a Tiered Onboarding Process

A tiered onboarding process is a strategy for onboarding new customers that splits your new customer's first experience into three distinct phases. The idea is to make the onboarding experience as smooth and pain-free as possible, which will help build your customer's trust in you and gain their loyalty.

Building on what we said earlier about creating a seamless experience, the first phase of a tiered onboarding process is essentially an introduction phase where the first thing right after determining if their solution fits right is to teach them how everything works. The second phase then happens as soon as the user makes sense of the primary feature set and is keen to explore the platform comprehensively. This phase also makes sense when there are multiple options before users can decide on one product/service to sign up with (think different subscription tiers). The third phase comes later during trial usage or at the end of trial usage once the user has committed completely by becoming a recurring customer. This is also the time to subtly introduce the benefits and value of going with an upgraded plan. There are many software products out there that do not use a tiered onboarding process, which means that each time an account is created, there's no preparatory step before moving on to subsequent steps because every user starts from square one and has no idea what kind of support he would receive as far as certain features of his application/product go until he speaks with someone directly about those things.

It's a great practice to personalize and customize the onboarding process and break the whole process down into easier to digest chunks.

Add A Personal Touch To Every Upgrade

The more individualized you can make your customers' experience, the more likely they are to upgrade. When you're reaching out to a potential customer, write a personalized email instead of sending a form letter. Think about what would appeal most to that specific person—for example, if you're talking to an email marketing manager, emphasize how your product will help them with better delivery and open rates in today's privacy-focused world. Often, it helps to add an intriguing hook that makes the reader curious about how you'll solve their problem. If someone hasn't responded within two weeks, follow up with another personalized email and try adding something unexpected. For example, include an image of the custom solution they requested or send them a video where you explain why your solution is best for them. This level of personalization usually results in increased engagement and even upgrades—but make sure not to send too many follow-ups!

Once people have tried your product and become customers, there are lots of other ways to personalize their experience and encourage upgrades:

Create personalized dynamic landing pages on your website so customers can easily find what they need.
Integrate with apps that allow personalization like Intercom or Freshdesk so customers can chat directly with support staff who understand their needs and pain points.
Add personalized reviews from happy customers belonging to the same or similar cohorts onto appropriate upgrade pages on your website so people can see real-life examples of how effective those upgrades were for others like them.

Create Seasonal Deals And Discounts For Premium Features

Create seasonal deals and discounts for premium features. Offering a deal is a great way to get your users to upgrade, but you don't need to offer it to everyone. Be strategic about who you offer the discount or deal to; only offer it to free but recurring and activated users who have engaged with your product. You can also use this strategy during holiday seasons like Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, or New Year's Eve. This will make them feel special – like they were chosen – and increase their chances of converting into paying users.

Offer discounts on upgrades during a user's free trial period. Another option is offering a discount when someone signs up for your free trial, but only if they upgrade before their free trial ends. This helps motivate people who might be on the fence about upgrading because they'll know there's a limited time window, and if they don't act now, they'll lose out on the discount forever! People are more likely to take action when there's an incentive involved and urgency around something important like money being at stake. Don't forget to show those customers what’s in it for them by creating urgency within your messaging!

SaaS businesses can find new ways to increase revenue by creating multiple product tiers, providing discounts and free trials, adding personal touches, and more.

At the end of the day, there are a million ways you can upgrade your SaaS customers. But which ones will work for you? Which ones are worth the effort?

We've covered a few options but haven't exhausted all the possibilities. What else is there out there? How far do you have to go to make your customer happy?

These are all questions that you should be asking yourself when it comes to upgrading your customers. And we'd love to help.


1. What are the benefits of upgrading my SaaS customers to a higher tier?

Upgrading your SaaS customers to a higher tier can provide several benefits, including:

  • Increased revenue: Upgrading customers to a higher tier means they are paying more for your product, which can significantly increase your revenue.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: Higher-tier customers typically have access to more features and better support, which can improve their overall satisfaction with your product.
  • Reduced churn: By offering more value to your customers, they are more likely to stick around and continue using your product over the long term.
  • Competitive advantage: If your competitors do not offer similar upgrade options, you can stand out by providing more value to your customers.

2. How do I determine which customers are the most likely to upgrade?

To determine which customers are most likely to upgrade, you can look at several factors, such as:

  • Usage patterns: Customers actively using your product and engaging with its features are more likely to upgrade.
  • Feedback: If customers have provided positive feedback or requested additional features, they may be more inclined to upgrade to access those features.
  • Company size: Larger companies may be more willing to pay for higher-tier plans, while smaller businesses may prefer lower-cost options.
  • Industry: Certain industries may require more robust features and thus be more willing to upgrade.

3. What are some effective strategies for promoting upgrades to my SaaS customers?

Some effective strategies for promoting upgrades to your SaaS customers include:

  • Personalized emails: Send targeted emails to customers interested in upgrading, highlighting the additional features and benefits they would receive.
  • In-app messaging: Display messages within your product to customers eligible for an upgrade, providing information on the benefits and how to upgrade.
  • Limited-time offers: Offer time-limited discounts or other incentives to encourage customers to upgrade.
  • Feature gating: Restrict access to certain features to higher-tier customers, creating a desire to upgrade to access those features.

4. How do I decide which features to include in each tier of my SaaS product?

When deciding which features to include in each tier of your SaaS product, you should consider the value each feature provides your customers and the cost of development and maintenance. You can use customer feedback and usage data to determine which features are most important to your users and which are most likely to drive upgrades. It can also be helpful to analyze your competitors' offerings to ensure you provide unique and valuable features to your customers.

5. What should I do if a customer is hesitant to upgrade?

If a customer hesitates to upgrade, you should try to understand their concerns and provide additional information to address them. This may involve providing more details on the additional features and benefits they would receive, offering a free trial or demo of the higher-tier plan, or providing additional support to address any concerns they may have. It can also be helpful to ask for feedback on what prevents the customer from upgrading, as this can help you improve your upgrade process and offerings.

6. How often should I review and update my SaaS pricing and tier structure?

You should review and update your SaaS pricing and tier structure periodically based on factors such as customer feedback, market changes, and the performance of your existing plans. It can be helpful to conduct regular surveys or focus groups with your customers to understand their needs and preferences and to analyze your competitors' offerings to ensure you remain competitive. Depending on the size of your business and the complexity of your pricing structure, this may be done annually, quarterly, or even more frequently.

7. How can I track the success of my efforts to upgrade customers?

To track the success of your efforts to upgrade customers, you can use several metrics, such as:

  • Conversion rate: Measure the percentage of eligible customers who upgrade to a higher tier.
  • Revenue: Track the revenue generated from upgraded customers to determine the impact of your upgrade efforts on your overall revenue.
  • Churn: Monitor churn rates for upgraded customers to ensure that the upgrade is not leading to increased churn.
  • Customer satisfaction: Survey upgraded customers to determine their level of satisfaction with the new plan and features.

By tracking these metrics, you can identify areas for improvement and adjust your upgrade strategies accordingly.

8. Can I offer discounts or other incentives to encourage customers to upgrade?

Yes, offering discounts or other incentives can be an effective way to encourage customers to upgrade. However, it is important to ensure that any discounts or incentives do not negatively impact your revenue or profitability in the long term. You can consider offering time-limited discounts, special promotions for new features, or bundled packages that provide additional value to customers who upgrade.

9. What should I do if a customer decides to downgrade after upgrading?

If a customer decides to downgrade after upgrading, you should try to understand their reasons for downgrading and address any concerns they may have. This may involve offering additional support or training, providing more information on the benefits of the higher-tier plan, or exploring other options that may better meet their needs. It is also important to monitor the reasons why customers are downgrading and make any necessary changes to your pricing or plan offerings.

10. How can I prevent customer churn after an upgrade?

To prevent customer churn after an upgrade, you should focus on ensuring that the upgraded customer is receiving value from the new plan and features. This may involve providing additional support or training to help the customer make the most of the new features, offering regular check-ins to ensure their needs are being met, and providing ongoing updates and improvements to the product. It is also important to monitor churn rates for upgraded customers and make any necessary changes to your upgrade process or offerings to minimize churn.