SaaS Spend Management
Over February and March 2023, we spoke with several founders, CEOs, and executives at SaaS Spend Management vendors. In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast, we discussed the evolution, best practices, and ideas on how to introduce a SaaS Spend Management program with Brad Van Leeuwen, Co-Founder and COO at Cledara. Brad stated that his own experience as an entrepreneur with the challenges associated with SaaS spend was the catalyst to founding Cledara. When a company is small, a manual process such as using the founders' credit card for all expenses is fine, but when you scale to 100+ employees that process does not provide the level of control and capital efficiency required to build a sustainable, durable growth company. Spend management solutions have been around for 20+ years - why is SaaS Spend Management so popular in 2023? First, the technology solutions have evolved significantly, and are much easier to use. Secondly, almost every company requires technology (software) to operate efficiently so the demand for SaaS solutions has exploded. Third, no longer is IT guarding the "data center or servers" so the procurement of software has become a decentralized process. SaaS Spend Management goes far beyond issuing a "corporate credit card" for all purchases, and includes a more proactive identification and then usage monitoring of the most relevant and used SaaS solutions in a company - thus providing centralized visibility and control. When should a company evaluate introducing a SaaS Spend Management solution - early on the focus needs to be 100% focused on developing and selling your product to establish Product Market Fit. Then, as a company evolves to 30 -50 companies, a general spend management tool centered on corporate credit cards is a good place to start. Once a company hits 50 - 100 employees, the SaaS Spend sprawl becomes harder to control and is a good time to consider introducing a corporate SaaS Spend Management solution. One of the key benefits of a SaaS Spend Management solution is that decentralized buyers can now have access to a pre-approved list of solutions. This empowers the employee to engage with the solution category of their choice, and the approved vendors without having to deal with a difficult procurement process. One of the trends in SaaS pricing and billing is the increased use of "Usage-Based Billing". One of the benefits of using a SaaS spend management solution is to have real-time insights into billing trends measured against budget and provide an early warning signal or even stop the use of a specific solution when the costs exceed the budgeted or contracted amount. One other benefit of SaaS Spend Management is to provide a pre-vetted list of vendors and the associated "realized pricing" that should guide a new solution purchase and/or renewal. If you are interested in learning more about how your company could gain increased visibility, control and reduced costs of your SaaS Spend while improving your employee experience in buying new SaaS software - this discussion with Brad Van Leeuwen is a great listen.