Fixed Fee ETRM/CTRM Pricing For The Win

Molecule bids every ETRM/CTRM opportunity on a fixed fee basis. That is how we bid, every time, unless the customer requires a different price structure.

You might wonder why E/CTRM price structures - and getting a clear understanding of the total cost of ownership - have traditionally been complicated and hard. It's because early market participants have indoctrinated customers to believe fixed-fee pricing is impossible. They continue to win contracts with initial low bids that exclude T&E and do not cap costs (including implementation) because that way the numbers look appealing - at first glance.

Pricing Transparency for E/CTRMs

First, let's look at what our fixed fee includes.

Molecule's pricing includes:

  • Implementation - in about 90 days for main features
  • Feature updates - typically two releases per month, so our customers consistently wake up to modern tech
  • Support - provided by in-house Molecule employees with industry experience

Would we include building a MAJOR new feature you are dying for in that fixed fee? It depends.

We typically strive to meet your current needs and triangulate your requests with what everyone else is asking for. If it fits in our roadmap, you'll get the feature – typically at no cost, when it's ready.

If there's something you need yesterday and want to jump the queue, we'll discuss it with your team. If it makes sense, Molecule can custom-build a solution for you, which will come with a one-time charge. Although this scenario doesn't come up often, we're flexible when it does.

Why Doesn't Every Customer Demand a Fixed Fee Price?

At a glance, the pricing submitted by vendors that refuse to bid on a fixed fee basis can look better.

Let's look at some numbers over the life of a five-year purchase:

  1. Molecule bids $180k/year = $900k over five years for our 100% SaaS, multi-tenant cloud solution. Implementation, feature updates, and support are all included.
  2. A competitor bids $130k/year = $650k over five years, plus a one-time "estimated" implementation fee of $200k, plus support and maintenance at $100k/year.

At first glance, option 2 looks much cheaper. But it doesn't take a math whiz to see that the support and maintenance fees ($650k + $200k + (5 x $100k)) quickly make option 2 the more expensive proposition. In a post-COVID world, saving that $450k - and likely much more - could pay for a new hire or faster computers or bigger bonuses.

But, what if we take the $200k estimate as what it is – a minimum? What if (and this usually happens) the floating implementation fee doubles, triples, or quadruples?

ETRM/CTRM history is filled with legendary examples of uncapped, "estimated" implementation fees ballooning catastrophically. Mansions have probably been built and yachts purchased thanks to implementation fees.  And it's not just cost, but also the headaches accompanying out-of-control implementations. The real total cost of problematic pricing is often found in the rearview mirror.

For example, one of the best inbound leads Molecule has ever received was this (names redacted to protect the innocent):

"I was the business lead on an ETRM project where we swapped out a dated ETRM system called [very old competitor] with a newer one called [.NET competitor]. It was a bloody nightmare and I am scarred for life."

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

Evaluate bids in an apples-to-apples comparison. Dig in and understand what a "one-time implementation fee" could really end up costing. Understand the risks associated with that "no cap" provision.

And, always ask for a fixed fee. Every time. Get it in writing.

Fixed fee: for the win.

Selling Against a Fallacy in ETRM/CTRM Software

What Will I Save by Using Molecule?

ETRM: Build vs. Buy


Selling Against a Fallacy in ETRM/CTRM Software

One of my favorite things about being a Molecule is that we under-promise and over-deliver. Regularly.

When I'm on a demo with a prospect and they ask for a new feature to be delivered by a particular date? Nope, no can do.

WILL we do it? Maybe. But only via a contract and if our CEO 100% knows we can deliver.

We strive to be honest and factual about our ETRM/CTRM software. What we can and can't do.

Working for a company like this is refreshing - I've worked on the other side of this when it comes to company values.

One thing I've never done in my career is bad mouth a competitor. There's no point. We focus on solving our customers' problems better than anyone else. We trust that our team's integrity is evident.

In this post, let's look at software in general. I've sold a lot of it, so I have outside perspective as well.

Timelines and Costs

In every industry there are companies that bend the rules when answering RFPs, promising a new feature, or even mocking up an 'MVP' and calling it a production feature. Lots of companies promise a timeline for implementation or feature development, and then riddle customers with change orders and blast the implementation costs to the moon.

The ETRM/CTRM industry wrote the blueprint for decades-long implementations that balloon costs into the billions.

Product Quality

I want software to work like technology from Minority Report. But other ETRM/CTRM platforms don't. I've seen them.

Building Trust with Customers

How does Molecule combat our customers' fears of a vendor lying to them? Here are some of the big ways, and we challenge you to ask your vendors to do the same.

  1. If we promise a new feature, we'll tie it to a timeline in the contract. And we meet that deadline.
  2. We are open to Proofs-of-Concept. If we don't meet your requirements, you can walk away. Ask a monopoly to do this. Please.
  3. We do not lie in RFPs.
  4. We provide support our customers adore, with live, full-time Molecule employees. Check out what our users say about our support on Molecule's G2 page.

That being said, we are not perfect. We've missed a deadline before. Every now and then we find a bug. We are humans writing code and running a company with the end goal of making our customers' lives better.

Maybe it's to our detriment that we answer RFPs with total honesty. We lose more of them than we win. But we know this for a fact: companies that choose Molecule come to learn that we strive, on a daily basis, to outperform any other ETRM/CTRM they have ever used–or ever will.

Fixed Fee Pricing for the Win

The Molecule Ecosystem

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ETRM in the time of Cholera

In January 2020, being able to to implement an ETRM system remotely was a neat trick. If we had been implementing Molecule for you before March of 2020, we would have had zero qualms about getting on an airplane and flying out to scope a project at your office, which would probably have led to steak dinners with plenty of laughs.

Then came March 2020 and remote ETRM implementations became mandatory. We loved working with you and your team in person - and the steak dinners. But for now, that is all on hold. Needs for modern deal capture are not.  

Modern design, automation, and an app that just works – our team built Molecule on those three principles and strives for them daily. It sounds simple, but it's quite the opposite. To achieve it, we built a true multi-tenant, cloud-based ETRM application. Building in the cloud allowed us to price more transparently and roll out software upgrades much more frequently than our competitors, which is part of how we deliver on our commitment to always provide the best approach that meets customer needs.

But, we're finding additional benefits of our approach. One of the most important that we have uncovered in the past six months is that we can (and almost always do) implement remotely, even for the most complex of customers.

We never saw this as a feature. This was always our preferred approach, but we didn't talk about it in sales meetings because, frankly, customers didn't much care; so neither did we.

So, maybe we should call these Molecule's benefits:

  • $0 implementations
  • $0 software updates
  • Support included in your fixed fee
  • Remote implementation in ~90 days

We started working from home quite early compared to some, and we're going to continue to work from home for the rest of the year. We have a goal. We want to live; the idea is that we can continue building an application that replaces and outshines our legacy competitors. No matter what year it is, you should NEVER be headed to a budget meeting with a $35 million plan to upgrade an on-prem ETRM. Ever.

We can get you up and running even while you're remote, and in as little as 90 days.

Modern design, automation, reliability, pricing transparency, and fast, remote implementation.

The Sky is Falling. Get Skinny

As oil prices approach 18-year lows, companies around the globe are already beginning to feel the squeeze. Everyone we talk to points to corporate spending freezes and cost-cutting.

Bob Ronin, previously SVP at Fidelity Investments, writes on that one of his top tips for reducing IT cost is to move to the cloud. "Storage and hardware no longer need to be on-site and the cost of renting can be much lower than the cost of owning as resources are only used when needed."

If history is a predictor of what to expect during the current dip in the economy, we'll see an immediate spending freeze followed by drastic moves to cut costs. The difference during this COVID crisis is that many of us are working from home and scrambling to make sense of what's to come.

So, what can you do now?

  1. Challenge the way you have been doing business and identify opportunities to update your processes and technology so that they better match today’s business environment.
  2. If any of your large expenses are IT platforms, determine whether you can replace them with cloud-based software. Working from home provides a great opportunity to do high-concentration tasks, like evaluating tools.
  3. Gather pricing, deal length, and contract terms for the products you currently use.
  4. Regroup internally for feedback and round-table idea sharing.
  5. Be ready to move swiftly when asked to make a change.

If you believe your department will be asked to cut costs in the coming months, now is the best time to prepare. Evaluate your options while you have an extra hour or two (since we temporarily do not have a commute).

If your company trades commodities and uses an expensive on-premise legacy system for deal-capture and risk management, we're ready to help. As ETRMs go, we deliver value by providing fairly-priced, modern software that automates your life, without the implementation & transition costs you usually see in our industry. Further, in these unpredictable times, a system backed by a team that's always remote, can provide support and reliability that nobody else can.

The sky may be falling, but Molecule is still working, as are many other companies across various industries that can help you get lean before it’s even time to migrate back to the office.

Stay healthy and safe. We're here if we can ever be of help.

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Celebrating National Read A Book Day

We love tech at Molecule. We love to create it, show it, and read about it. But, because we are actual human beings, we read about lots of other stuff, too. One of the most recommended podcasts around our office is LeVar Burton Reads, in which LeVar reads you a short story – just like he used to do on Reading Rainbow.

Along those lines, September 6th is National Read A Book Day. Sometimes finding a good book to read can take quite a bit of searching, so we surveyed our team and came up with some suggestions in case you want to celebrate.

Here are our top picks:

Megan Farley

I feel like I should recommend something of substance, but I'm going with Caverns & Creatures because it made me cry from laughing so hard. Or Off To Be The Wizard....again, because it made me cry from laughing so hard — or Will Save The Galaxy For Food.

Sameer Soleja

Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie — it’s a magical book (imagine Alice in Wonderland, but with flying carpets). It’s a quick and inspirational read, and Rushdie’s language — English, but with a little Bombay lilt — reminds me of my mom.

Richard Reedstrom

The Outsider by Stephen King is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read recently. It embodies everything I love about Stephen King, and the book gives a fulfilling end to the Mercedes Killer trilogy. I also just started 1984 by George Orwell. It's been years since I read it, and it's interesting to re-read from a different perspective.

Bala Raghavan

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is a funny, geeky guide that answers the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

Syed Sohaib

Confessions of an Economic Hitman is not my favorite book, but I definitely recommend it. It's a very interesting take on global historical events and corruption.

Luke Kramer

Rhinoceros Success: the Secret to Charging Full Speed toward Every Opportunity. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “we become the product of three things: the people we associate with, the books we read, and the media we listen to.”

Personally, my go-to is anything from The Dark Tower series. However, the latest book I read was The Nix by Nathan Hill. It kept my attention much like Freedom (Jonathan Franzen) did and with a similar tone. When I finished The Nix, I wished there was more to read.

We hope you find a book you like on National Read A Book Day - from this list, or anywhere you like to find a good read. I like several books from this list, "but you don't have to take my word for it."