8 Things You Must Know Before Negotiating SaaS Agreements

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min read time
January 2, 2024
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Software-as-a-service (SaaS) agreements have become pivotal for organizations seeking efficient and scalable solutions in the modern business landscape.

Approximately 91% of organizations believe that adopting SaaS will facilitate the integration of new technologies and enhance their revenue streams.

With the continuous demand for procuring SaaS applications, negotiating SaaS agreements requires a strategic approach to ensure your organization meets its technological needs and navigates potential pitfalls.

SaaS negotiations provide the advantage of tailoring terms to specific business needs, ensuring optimal customization and functionality.

Negotiating a SaaS agreement offers an opportunity for cost-effective pricing, clear service level agreements, and discussions on data security and privacy, fostering a mutually beneficial and transparent relationship between the SaaS provider and the customer.

This article is a must-read if you want to know all the essential things about negotiating SaaS agreements.

Keep reading!

Why is negotiating SaaS agreements essential?

Negotiating SaaS agreements is a pivotal practice that offers multifaceted benefits to organizations. SaaS agreement negotiation is a strategic endeavor beyond mere cost savings, contributing to SaaS partnerships' long-term success, adaptability, and efficiency.

Primarily, it optimizes cost by customizing pricing plans to specific needs, ensuring that businesses pay for services that align with their budget constraints.

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Additionally, negotiation empowers enterprises to customize SaaS offerings, ensuring the software aligns precisely with their unique requirements.

Organizations need to look into this matter and make the right purchases. According to reports, despite companies utilizing an average of over 300 SaaS applications, 53% of SaaS licenses remain unused.

However, organizations can strategically address and reduce SaaS wastage, positively impacting revenue.

Establishing clear service level agreements and performance metrics ensures that the SaaS provider delivers services at agreed-upon levels, promoting reliability and quality.

  • Addressing data security and privacy concerns through negotiation establishes robust standards, safeguards sensitive information, and mitigates risks.
  • Negotiating contractual terms and conditions clarifies responsibilities, reduces the potential for legal issues, and fosters a transparent and stable business relationship.
  • The negotiation process facilitates the creation of clear exit strategies, providing organizations with a structured transition plan if needed.

Check out this podcast as Terry Larock, Procurement and Negotiation expert, talks about the intricacies of SaaS vendor negotiations:

Various types of agreements associated with SaaS

  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Standards for SaaS service, covering response times, uptime guarantees, support, and penalties for non-compliance.
  • Subscription Agreements: Specify SaaS terms, including features, pricing, seat allocations, payment terms, and subscription duration.
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): Protect sensitive data shared during SaaS subscriptions, ensuring confidentiality.
  • Data Processing Agreements: Outline responsibilities for handling customer data, and ensuring compliance with data protection regulations.
  • Master Services Agreement (MSA): Defines the overall relationship and terms for SaaS subscriptions.
  • End User License Agreement (EULA): Details end-user rights, software ownership, permissions, and confidentiality protection.

Things you need to know before SaaS agreement negotiation

Before negotiating SaaS agreements, you must know the following details,

1. A clear understanding of your requirements and budget

Before proceeding with the SaaS negotiations, you must understand what your organization needs from the software and what budget you are working with. First, closely examine your required features, like user access controls or integration capabilities.

Also, consider how much you can afford, including subscription fees and potential customization costs, and perform a TCO analysis. The key here is to ensure that the software meets your needs and fits within your budget.

This way, you can avoid overspending and ensure you get the best value for your investment. According to reports, negotiating contracts with SaaS vendors can save organizations $349 million.

This understanding gives you a solid foundation for negotiations, helping you communicate your needs clearly and ensuring the final SaaS solution aligns functionally and financially with your organization's goals.

2. Grasp insights on the vendor before entering negotiations

When selecting a SaaS vendor, you can't overlook doing your vendor research. Take the time to evaluate the vendor's reputation, track record, and customer testimonials. This process will give you valuable insights into the vendor's capabilities and reliability.

This analysis lets you decide whether they are a suitable partner for your organization. This diligence in researching the vendor lays the foundation for a successful, long-term partnership, ensuring that the chosen SaaS provider aligns with your expectations and can effectively meet your organization's needs.

3. Key clauses to negotiate in the SaaS agreement

When negotiating SaaS agreements, you must pay attention to the Service Level Agreement (SLA) clauses. This document spells out what the vendor is responsible for, like ensuring the service is good, how often it's available, how quickly issues get fixed, and what happens if things don't go as planned.

Take a good look at the SLA, and if needed, get advice from legal experts to ensure it's fair and keeps your data safe and in line with the rules.

Focus on details like service standards, responsibility limits, how the agreement can be ended, rules about following the law, data safety, privacy, promises, and keeping things confidential.

Check out this table for a clear idea of the SaaS Agreement Clauses:

Image showing a table of agreement clauses

If you want more details about the SaaS agreement clauses, read this blog.

4. Alternative vendors

Before negotiating SaaS agreements, conducting a competitive analysis and shortlisting potential alternatives is vital. These alternatives serve as negotiation leverage, providing confidence during negotiations. A lack of other options may lead to vendor lock-in, hindering flexibility in adapting to changing organizational needs.

The global landscape is home to more than 72,000 SaaS companies, as reported by Vainu. In the United States alone, there are over 17,000 SaaS companies, according to data from Statista.

Exploring alternatives allows you to compare offerings, pricing structures, and service levels. This knowledge empowers you during negotiations and ensures that you select a SaaS provider that aligns closely with your organization's needs and objectives.

Keeping a keen eye on alternative vendors fosters a strategic approach, encouraging the best possible terms and value for your investment in the ever-evolving software solutions landscape.

5. The pricing plan aligns with your objectives

When engaging with a SaaS vendor, evaluate the pricing plan in alignment with your organizational objectives and usage patterns.

A flexible pricing model ensures that you only pay for the services you need, optimizing costs and maximizing the value derived from the SaaS solution.

When you carefully assess whether the proposed pricing structure caters to your specific needs and goals, consider factors such as the features offered, scalability options, and how well the plan aligns with your anticipated usage.

In addition, be ready to find a middle ground that works for both sides. Being flexible and finding compromises help create a positive and lasting partnership.

Image of a table showing pricing models

6. Latest price benchmarks

Understanding benchmarks and market prices is crucial when negotiating SaaS agreements, especially in the dynamic landscape of SaaS offerings.

Here are some key points to emphasize:

  • Negotiating Leverage: Benchmarks provide valuable insight into what others pay for similar SaaS products. With this information, you gain negotiating leverage to secure competitive rates and terms.
  • Preventing Overspending: Knowledge of benchmarks aids in making informed and cost-effective decisions. It empowers you to evaluate the value proposition of SaaS offerings and make choices that align with your organization's budget and objectives.
  • Competitive Rates: Awareness of market benchmarks allows you to negotiate rates that align with industry standards. It ensures your organization receives the best value for its acquiring SaaS services.
  • Fair Pricing Structures: The SaaS landscape constantly evolves, and pricing models may change. Industry benchmarks help assess whether proposed rates align with current market trends.

7. Negotiation best practices

The goal is to create a fair and balanced agreement that meets the needs of both your organization and the SaaS provider, leading to a positive and long-lasting partnership. When negotiating for SaaS services, follow some simple but effective rules.

  • First, clearly state what's most important for your organization's success.
  • Make sure the SaaS provider knows exactly what you need.
  • Keep communication open and honest throughout the negotiation so everyone understands each other's expectations.

Organizations can navigate SaaS agreements smoothly by sticking to these simple negotiation practices, ensuring both parties benefit.

Be mindful of the best practices in vendor negotiations to navigate the process without hassles. Jumping into negotiations head-on without a plan will lead to over-purchasing and features that don’t align with your needs.

Ensure that you have a sound knowledge of the negotiation best practices before entering the process.

8. Getting expert assistance

Realizing the importance of getting expert help is key when negotiating SaaS agreements. People within your organization, like legal and procurement experts, have special knowledge that helps you understand complicated contract terms.

Their advice helps create a strong negotiation plan, ensuring your organization's interests are respected.

Using the skills of these experts helps organizations feel more confident navigating through the details of SaaS agreements. Ultimately, it often leads to better terms and a successful partnership.

If you need expert assistance, why not check out Cloudagle's expert buying features? If you want to know more, keep reading!

How CloudEagle can help you with SaaS Negotiation?

Image of CloudEagle's Logo

CloudEagle simplifies negotiating SaaS agreements by addressing time constraints and challenges. The tool revolves around assisted buying, where the team of SaaS buying experts offers valuable expertise. It ensures businesses save time and secure the right products at optimal prices.

As your dedicated procurement partner, CloudEagle simplifies the complexities of vendor negotiations, especially when time is critical.

The team of experts is your reliable ally, providing comprehensive assistance—from evaluating fair pricing to efficiently closing deals—through our assisted buying services.

CloudEagle boasts a track record of saving over 1000 hours in negotiations for organizations, resulting in millions in savings.

CloudEagle’s Assisted Buying Feature

Many procurement teams lack the time and resources for effectively negotiating SaaS agreements, and CloudEagle steps in with a team of experienced SaaS buying experts to fill that void.

Image of CloudEagle's Assisted buying feature

CloudEagle professionals bring decades of negotiating experience to advocate for your organization, ensuring mutually beneficial agreements with vendors.

  • Analysis of Business Requirements: CloudEagle's experts analyze your business's requirements to determine the optimal number of licenses within your budget. This customized approach ensures you purchase the right amount of licenses for your needs, preventing overspending or acquiring insufficient resources.
  • Leveraging Price Benchmarking Data: From years of negotiation experience we have the latest pricing benchmarks. Our experts will leverage these benchmarks to ensure you purchase the right product at the right price.
  • Comprehensive Coverage Across All Vendors: If your organization struggles with pricing or needs help negotiating with time-consuming vendors, CloudEagle is here for you. Just call them, and the team of experts will support you through the procurement process—from fair pricing discussions to sealing the deal.
  • Fast-track RFP with Ready-to-Use Templates: When you are confused about what to ask your vendors or frustrated with gathering inputs for RFPs from different departments, the CloudEagle platform has a solution. With ready-to-use templates, you can effortlessly generate RFPs tailored to your business and SaaS requirements in just a few clicks.

Image of CloudEagle's negotiation module

  • Negotiate Your Way to Cost Savings with App Usage Insights: Negotiating the right deal is crucial after selecting a vendor. Consider critical factors like the number of licenses, subscription duration, plan specifics, and usage requirements to craft a robust negotiation strategy.

Leverage internal usage data and peer pricing information to maximize your budget with real-time insights. It ensures you secure the best value for your investment.


Effective SaaS agreement negotiation is integral to the success of modern businesses. As organizations increasingly rely on SaaS solutions for their technological needs, understanding the nuances of these agreements becomes paramount.

CloudEagle's team can take over the entire negotiation process for organizations looking for a hands-off approach. Leveraging benchmarks and negotiating discounts, they ensure the procurement of the right products at favorable prices.

You can schedule a demo with CloudEagle's Assisted Buying Expert Team for a detailed understanding of leveraging the platform's expert negotiations and enhancing your organization's resources.

Written by
Joel Platini
Content Writer and Marketer, CloudEagle
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