Base Product Packaging that Enhances Customer Success

Good packaging is critical to value realization and NRR, and it starts with a good base package.


Joseph Loria

8/7/20233 min read

In a previous post I discussed the importance of product packaging on the SaaS customer experience. Here’s a quick recap:

  • 🪶 Don’t oversell, and therefore overburden, your new customers;

  • 💰 Match your offerings to their timeline of value realization, and watch NRR follow.

But how to start? What’s a good first step to creating a base-level package that spurs value realization and boosts customer lifetime value?

First, a disclaimer. What follows is simply the post-sale perspective on solution packaging. There are lots of inputs into good packaging, including cost of services, market pricing, product strategy and roadmap, average contract value, perceived market value, etc. The key? Be sure you’re collaborating with Product, Marketing, and Sales using the framework below.

Tight & Focused

Now, let’s start with a visualization. Imagine a series of stepping stones marching off into the distance. The one closest to you is clear and obvious and easily reachable. But the farther ahead, the more vague the stones are, and the harder it is to judge distance.

Value realization is like this. Those first few steps, and the resulting value, are typically pretty clear to the customer. Future value is more intangible and vague and therefore carries less weight to the customer – at least in those early days.

  • 📖 Lesson 1: Keep Your Base Package Focused

Two quick examples.

  • First, an employee engagement analytics company. The first steps are focused on getting the initial employee survey out and showing the initial engagement analytics.

  • Now, a podcast marketing platform. The initial focus is on creating, deploying, and promoting the first episode or show.

In both examples, the customer clearly understands those initial steps and the resulting value. So, a good base package includes those features and any associated enablement.

And Don’t Go Too Far!

Now, imagine that employee engagement company also includes in the base package some advanced analytics for team leaders with complex segmentation, or that podcast platform includes advanced options for boosting additional types of long-form content.

Or, as some companies do, imagine a single SKU that gets you the entire platform!

When you give customers highly advanced features intended for more mature companies, two things can happen with such “over-packaging:”

  • 😖 The customer feels overwhelmed by the feature set;

  • 🤬 They feel that they overpaid for “things they don’t need.”

Your initial journey, and the initial value it presents, must be clear and easy to understand – and thus, the resulting base package must match that.

Trying to show them too many stepping stones ahead creates customer exhaustion and buyer’s remorse.

  • 📖 Lesson 2: Don't Include Too Much

But How Much?

Still, you shouldn’t stop at initial value in your base package. Back to the stepping stones analogy, it makes sense to show them a bit of the path ahead.

It’s a good idea to include a few features and a bit of enablement on those next stepping stones. That way, the customer gets the value they expect initially plus a tad extra, and you get to demonstrate to them the next part of their journey.

In that way, value keeps building, which is the power of really good packaging. If the packaging matches the customer’s journey and their ongoing value realization, then they’ll always understand the value of the next upgrade or add-on, and be willing to commit to it.

❓❓ But how much is enough❓❓

With annual subscriptions, simply consider what is possible to be adopted, used, and generate value in those first 6 months or so. If you have a decent time-to-value under 90 days, this gives you at least another 90 days to continue enablement and value delivery, thereby teeing up a package upgrade within that first year.

  • 📖 Lesson 3: Add in Some Extra Value Realization

Assessing Your Base Packaging

Already have packaging? Then ask yourself the following questions to gauge:

  1. Can my customer achieve success and see value from our base package?

  2. Does the base package match their perception of initial value?

  3. Does the base package include just a little more value attainment, but not too much?

  4. Can the base package be 100% implemented successfully in 6 months?

Don’t have packaging yet? Then use this framework to draft an initial base package, then start a discussion with your product and marketing colleagues.

Good packaging is critical to value realization and NRR, and it starts with a good base package.