Pricing Integrity and Why We Won't Play the Pricing Games

by Josh Sokol (Creator & CEO of SimpleRisk)

Before starting SimpleRisk, I sat in the CISO chair, on the other side of the negotiating table.  I learned the tricks that vendors played with pricing to get it up and had some tricks of my own that I'd use to get it back down.  Discounts of 50% or more were not uncommon and our procurement team mostly let me do my own thing because they knew they weren't going to be able to touch my pricing.  My team and my peers even used to half-jokingly say that I should do a talk on vendor price negotiations.  And while I still wear the discounts that I negotiated as a badge of honor, there's a part of me that got a bit frustrated with the whole song and dance around pricing negotiations.  Why am I wasting my incredibly valuable time bouncing e-mails back and forth and convincing their executives that we're worth the discount?  Why couldn't the vendor just price it reasonably in the first place? 

How does it make you feel when I tell you that I paid $46k for that new whizbang that you paid $100k for?  Or when I tell you that the vendor of that whizbang told me that they couldn't go any lower on the pricing because they have a contract with the government stating that they'd have to refund them if someone else got a better price?  Is your money really worth any less than mine or am I just better at negotiating?  I'm guessing that it doesn't make you feel all that great.

When I started SimpleRisk, I decided that I wanted to do things a bit differently.  Remember when you were a kid and your parents taught you "The Golden Rule"?  Why would treating others the way you want to be treated be any less acceptable as an adult?  So, fortunately being a privately held company with no outside influence to force me to do otherwise, I decided that we would do away with those pricing games and lead by example.  What that means for our SimpleRisk customers is as follows:

  • Our pricing is published transparently on our website.  You don't have to e-mail us, sign up for a mailing list, or even talk to a sales guy to know what products we offer and the price you'll pay.  You know exactly what you get before ever starting a trial or installing it in your environment.
  • We offer a single discount of 10% off your initial purchase for any customer willing to allow us to place their link and logo on our website.  We do not want to just sell you a product.  We want to be your partner in risk management.  Allowing us to share your name with other potential customers has value to us, and we want to thank you for that. 
  • We make Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance capabilities affordable for everyone.  We've priced our SimpleRisk Extras and SimpleRisk Hosted options at a point where it is far more cost-effective than any other risk management tool out there, and the SimpleRisk Core provides all of the basic GRC capabilities that organizations need, as a free and open source offering.

Our customers mean the world to us at SimpleRisk, and starting out our partnership with one party feeling like they got taken advantage of makes for a rocky starting point.  And if you're looking at using SimpleRisk, it's because you want to focus your time on the things that matter to your business, like managing risk, and time wasted on pricing negotiations is just a lost opportunity.  We hope that you appreciate this radically transparent approach to doing business and look forward to having the opportunity to work with you.