We never negotiate legal terms. Here is why.

em Odoo News

by
Fabien Pinckaers (fp)

People think Odoo's success is merely due to our product. In reality, our product is just the consequence; the cause is good execution, supported by strong company culture. At first, it was a matter of survival; because of our open-source business model, we had to sell our product for a fraction of the price of the market  What started as a necessity became one of our key competitive advantages.

Our priority is to improve the value customers get for their money. Everything else is time wasted and should be reduced to the bare minimum. So, we have limited hierarchies, have hardly any meetings, no controlling department, no purchasing process, no legal department, no outbound sales, no technical sales, no budget by departments, very few KPIs, etc. Our time is better spent improving our product and services.



Most software vendors who have to deal with large companies are organized to maximize revenues: complex pricing policies that are negotiated case-by-case, pre-sales teams to increase the number of meetings, technical sales teams to answer to RFPs, upsell techniques hidden in complex pricing strategies, legal departments to negotiate contract terms, etc... At Odoo, we do the opposite; we focus on decreasing these overhead activities. Spending less time in these non-valuable activities will translate to fewer costs which ultimately allows us to keep our prices low.

As an example, we have:

  • Clear and transparent pricing: no extra, no surprises, everything is included

  • Public pricing: you don't need to call a sales rep to get the price, our discounts are public and their conditions are clear

  • A way to schedule a meeting within 24 hours with an advisor in three clicks

  • A way for the customer to evaluate the software itself, before buying

  • Simple and fair contracts

Large companies have a purchasing department to negotiate the price, and a legal department dedicated to negotiating contract terms: liability clauses, warranties, SLAs, confidentiality clauses, governing law, etc. If you start discussing the terms, you can spend days of work for no real value. So, we never negotiate contract terms. We have thousands of customers, and they all have the same contract.

As a result, we have only one way to do support, one way to renew customers, and one way to manage subscriptions. We don’t need a legal department, support operators never have to perform differently according to the customer, and customer success teams never have to read contracts at renewal anniversaries, etc. Our teams don’t have to manage exceptions. They can focus on improving our services.

To make it work, we designed a fair contract, written with the interest of the customer and the vendor in mind. We did that to save time, both for our customers and for us. We know some legal departments might get frustrated by our approach, but it's worth avoiding the complexity creeping in. If you don't actively fight for simplicity, complexity will win… and that sucks.

If we refuse to negotiate contract terms, it’s not because we are rude or hard negotiators. It is simply the way Odoo works: a result of our strong focus on lowering prices and focusing on improving the value.

We hope this blog helps everyone understand.
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