Doing Research About SaaS Tools

SaaS Lifetime Deals - Make Objective Purchase Decisions

As an entrepreneur, small business owner or solopreneur, we are often attracted to "lifetime" SaaS deals that offer use of a software product indefinitely for a one-time fee. These deals can seem tempting, especially when we have excess funds available or feel pressured to make a quick decision. However, lifetime SaaS purchases require careful, rational consideration to ensure it is the right long-term choice for your business. Here are some tips for making objective purchase decisions:

Focus on Actual Requirements

Evaluate if and how well the SaaS tool aligns with your current and foreseeable business needs. Make a list of must-have features based on your workflows and processes. Avoid overbuying capabilities you likely won't use. The tool should automate and integrate core tasks to help you work smarter.

Consider the Dependency Risks

Before committing, rationally assess your potential business dependency on the SaaS tool. If it will deeply integrate with and automate core processes like CRM, ERP or workflows, its failure could significantly disrupt operations.

While the lifetime deal may be financially attractive, you must weigh the risks of the vendor going rogue, getting acquired, or discontinuing support. If the tool becomes an essential pillar of your business, this poses major continuity and reputational risks.

Conduct a thorough impact analysis - both short and long-term - if support ends abruptly. Have a backup plan ready to migrate or replace the tool if needed. Avoid over-relying on any software that can suddenly go away, even with lifetime deals. Objectively evaluate your tolerance for that dependency risk.

Conduct Due Diligence

Research the SaaS company's funding sources, financial health, leadership team, user feedback and progress delivering on their roadmap. Evaluate if the tool meets criteria like data security, privacy, uptime guarantees and responsive customer support. Seek impartial user reviews to uncover potential issues. A good 10-step due-diligence checklist or SaaS Buying Guide can be found here, but you can create your own similar or better list.

Beware Unethical Vendor Tactics

Sadly, some SaaS startups take unethical actions that hurt lifetime deal buyers. As greed sets in, they may deny major new features, spin off improved products, make add-ons mandatory, or get acquired and discontinue inclusion of early supporters.

Predatory investors often pressure startups to shed "unprofitable" lifetime users. And marketplaces like AppSumo favor vendor interests over protecting buyers if exploitation occurs.

Be alert for signs like improved capabilities only for paying users, obstacles to use, broken promises, and policy changes after acquisition. Do extra diligence to ensure the provider shows a commitment to integrity with customers.

Scrutinize the Vendor's Motivations

Take time to assess the values and incentives of the SaaS provider offering lifetime deals. Some founders have a sincere long-term vision and commitment to customers. Others may view buyers as merely short-term means to build traction and flip for quick profit.

Look for red flags like a sole focus on sales over substance, disregard for lifetime users after deals expire, pivoting away from the original product, and investors pushing unethical decisions. A vendor committed to integrity will be transparent about their motivations and show concern for customers' needs.

While you can't fully know a vendor's intentions,Rational evaluation of their actions, communications and incentives can help determine if they seem trustworthy or just opportunistic. This avoids making overly optimistic assumptions that may lead to disappointment later.

Beware Marketplace Deal Risks

Lifetime SaaS deals are often sold on large marketplaces like AppSumo, PitchGround, etc. While their big discounts may be enticing, these middlemen have different motivations than you or the SaaS provider. They make profits from margins on mass sales, not long-term tool viability. The marketplaces take no responsibility if the vendor shuts down, loses funding, or pivots in a completely different direction—leaving you without support. Do extra due diligence before purchasing lifetime deals from these channels, as their incentives are for quick sales over promoting sustainable software. I wrote about those large marketplace risks and concerns here.

Be Data Driven

Look for metrics and transparent communication from the provider. Seek measurable evidence that features are being quickly developed and product improvements are being made. However, more output doesn't always mean better quality. Watch for signs of unsustainable growth.

Consider Ongoing Value

Unlike perpetual licenses, lifetime SaaS deals can lose value over time if not actively maintained and improved by the provider. Evaluate the company's incentives to keep delivering a product you want to use long-term. Are they focused on customer success and retention?

Avoid Emotional Decisions

It can be tempting to buy based on FOMO, liking the founders or superficial attributes. However, these subjective factors don't necessarily indicate the tool will continue meeting your needs. Focus your criteria on rational factors tied to your business goals.

Make a List, Then Sleep on It

Write down your objective criteria and rank the SaaS tool on meeting each one. Taking time to reflect allows you to step back and think critically. Don't feel pressured to make an instant decision in the "limited-time" sale environment.

Final Words

Using these tips can help you make rational, data-driven SaaS purchase decisions for your business. Avoiding subjective perceptions and emotions keeps your choice focused on maximum long-term value. Do thorough diligence and evaluate if the tool comprehensively fits your needs before making a major financial commitment.