Reining In SaaS purchases
When Jason Rubinstein joined Deepgram as VP of Finance, he quickly moved to build a more defined purchasing process. At the time, there was little central oversight for software purchases.
Finding details on existing contracts typically required combing through emails. Meanwhile, deployed software often auto-renewed before anyone could assess the purchase, much less negotiate on pricing.
Initially, asking all buyers to request purchases through him gave Rubinstein a clear view and greater control over spending. But it also put much of the work on him – and could leave him the bottleneck.
“For forecasting, we wanted to understand what we're buying and what expenses we would incur,” he said. “We also wanted to hold buyers accountable to getting a fair price and running a competitive bidding process, none of which I have the bandwidth to do.”
Negotiation wasn’t the best use of his time or anyone else’s at the fast-growing company. A remote-first company headquartered in San Francisco, Deepgram discovers and develops category-defining foundational AI models for speech and language intelligence. Deepgram's APIs are used by a diverse range of customers, from individual developers to established organizations like NASA and Citi, to power automatic speech recognition with end-to-end deep learning models and generative AI with domain-specific models.
“Everyone is too busy to manage purchasing on top of their jobs – and most of them probably don't feel comfortable negotiating or pushing aggressively,” Rubinstein says. “They also might find it uncomfortable negotiating with sales reps they know well, so I was the neutral party.”
Rapid value with Vendr
Looking for ways to overhaul the purchasing process, Rubinstein immediately saw the payback potential in the SaaS buying platform, Vendr.
The timing couldn’t have been better. In November, the company faced an ambitious list of purchases and renewals to close before the year’s end. Vendr brought rich insight into historical pricing for hundreds of solutions via its database of billions in SaaS deals.
The Vendr team took the lead on every deal, driving them from start to finish. Out of the gate, Vendr negotiations ultimately saved tens of thousands of dollars on several renewals for Salesforce, Domo, and Zendesk.
Meanwhile, Vendr helped discover software already in Deepgram’s stack and bring it into the platform. Then, they could use Vendr as the primary source of truth for all SaaS solutions. Vendr also proactively evaluated contracts to spot opportunities to save at renewal time.
Insights and guidance through every step
At the same time, Vendr aided in standardizing the buying process. When buyers are ready to purchase or renew, they submit an intake form that kicks off a chain of events and approvals. That ensures every box is checked along the way.
As Deepgram rolled out Vendr, Rubinstein socialized the buying platform internally, educating buyers on the process and the potential time and cost savings.
The Vendr team researches pricing, negotiating, and seeing deals through to close, taking that burden off Rubinstein.
“The daily value of Vendr comes from being able to outsource the quoting process,” he said. “And then, if we want to move forward, the outsourced ability to quote, negotiate, and just roll up those pricing summaries is great.”
Vendr helps them weigh their options to choose the best fit for the best price.
For example, when purchasing Zoom, Vendr identified that a higher tier wouldn’t be worth the additional cost compared to individual accounts, based on Deepgram’s usage.
“The top things I try to spend my time on are financial forecasting, improving unit economics, and achieving efficient revenue growth for the company. If Vendr’s involved, it saves me time to focus on those key areas, and I don't need to track down internal buyers to ask if they’ve done their homework.”
$366K saved over two years
Deepgram tracks $1.3 million in managed SaaS spend in Vendr. Now, Rubinstein or his colleagues can find contract details in minutes.
“Vendr is the only system of record that allows you to view supplier communications, current contracts, and upcoming renewals without needing to maintain hundreds of spreadsheets,” Rubinstein said.
Since teaming with Vendr, Deepgram has saved an estimated $366,000 on purchases and renewals over two years.
As just one example, the company realized 40% savings on a new purchase of Postal. Savings stemmed, in part, from Vendr Cash, which allows the company to redeem accumulated credit for savings off the price of new purchases.
Deepgram’s investment in Vendr drove a more than four times return on investment while also delivering immeasurable time-savings. Rubinstein no longer serves as the shepherd for every deal, giving him back much-needed time to focus on other objectives.
“The top things I try to spend my time on are financial forecasting, improving unit economics, and achieving efficient revenue growth for the company,” he said. “If Vendr’s involved, it saves me time to focus on those key areas, and I don't need to track down internal buyers to ask if they’ve done their homework.”
Deepgram teamed with Vendr for step-by-step support through SaaS purchases, freeing Finance and the rest of the company to focus on strategic activiti
- Shifts the buying process from finance to Vendr, ensuring a proactive, data-driven approach to every purchase and renewal.
- Gives Deepgram a primary source of truth for $1.3 million in managed spend and makes contract details available in minutes.
- Ensures negotiations are based on rich historical SaaS data to facilitate the best fit for the best price.
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