One of the most important things for people looking for software for their business, ministry, or organization, is comparing prices. Searching for church management software is not different. However, many times it becomes very difficult to compare the pricing of programs, and we believe this can be easily fixed, if the vendors are willing.
Here are the pricing mistakes that many church software companies are making. Maybe some of them will read this article and take it to heart. Maybe they will consider the excellent examples set by their secular counterparts such as QuickBooks and Salesforce.com.
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1. Pricing not readily available on site
Why is it that some of the leading church software makers do not even have prices listed on their site? This is mind boggling. After much deliberation, I can only come up with two legitimate reasons to hide pricing from prospective customers.
- The pricing is so high that the only way you will reveal the price is in the middle or end of a high pressure sales pitch by a very convincing sales person.
- The pricing is so confusing and complicated that the only way you can communicate the price is through a long, drawn out explanation by a very convincing sales person.
Feeling nickel and dimed? Watch this video …
2. Pricing is super complicated
If I ask for the price of software and the first thing out of the sales persons mouth is “well that depends” I know that I can finish that sentence for him with the phrase “how much do you have to spend”.
Pricing is NOT complicated. Making your overpriced product seem affordable IS complicated.
Complicated pricing structures usually originate in the financial and executive offices who then instruct the Marketing Team to make it work, who then in turn dump the whole thing on the sales team. Let’s save everyone a lot of time. If you can’t explain the pricing clearly on one page of your website, then it’s too complicated.
3. The Pricing Model and Value don’t match up.
As much as I love them, many church software programs seem to be a little over priced. Hey, even the “free” and “open source” BVCMS is overpriced as they charge $1.00 per congregant to host their SaaS application (which does not add up to “free” by the way). Now I’m not totally opposed to a business model that purely targets mega-churches, but it does frustrate the smaller churches a bit.
Many church software companies seem to be missing the reality that churches are non-profits, most don’t have a lot of money, and all need real value for their dollar. I have spoken with churches of less than 300 people that are spending over a few hundred dollars per month for their software. I don’t know how the sales person justified this to that church, but it does cause some concern. In my opinion, a church of that size spending that much is either irresponsible or misinformed.
4. Pricing is for large churches only.
This mistake builds off of the third mistake. The truth is, of the 350,000 that are still open, the average church in the United States is made up of less than 100 people. Take out the couple thousand mega churches that are tracking tens of thousands of people and the average drops down to somewhere between 25 and 50 people.
So the barrier for entry becomes so large that these small churches are forced to use spreadsheets or poor quality software, hoping one day to “make it big”!
Probably the biggest complaint that I hear about from churches is required monthly maintenance fees. This is because you can pay all this money for church software, and then you have to pay fees to keep the program running bug-free. Hey, if there is a bug in Windows, or an update is released, I don’t need to pay some enormous monthly fee to make sure I can get that update. Usually just a little message shows up asking me if I want to download the update to fix a bug that I didn’t even know existed, and I click “yes”. Church software companies might want to think about getting rid of the accessive fees..
KNOW THE PRICE? Help the rest of us out!
If you use a church software program (like Church Community Builder, Fellowship One, ACS, etc) that doesn’t have their pricing clearly portrayed on their website, please comment below with the following:
1. weekly attendance of your church
2. number of staff and volunteer users of the application
3. how much you paid up front for the program
4. how much you pay monthly for any services