1. Thanks. Interesting article. I’m not a big fan of free limited-time trials in any case. I like the fremium model where you have a basic free level and then upgrade paths to levels that require a monthly service fee or subscription. A limited-time trial for software makes sense, theoretically, but in practice, I’ve seen that it doesn’t help engagement and sometimes hurts it.

    • Thanks for the comments Doug… Interesting perspective to say the least.

      Yes, most of the time the Free Trial process does hurt engagement… but that isn’t the fault of the “Free Trial”… it’s the fault of the vendor and how they implemented it.

      I have actually seen myself that many Freemium (or seemingly 100% Free) offerings do a much better job at engaging the user than Premium offerings with Free Trials…

      …the big question is whether “engaging users” leads to “acquiring customers” and in my experience that isn’t the case… conversions from free to paid in a Freemium offering in B2B are still quite low, while I’ve seen – and helped – many SaaS and Web App vendors implement their Free Trial strategy the right way and get a massive boost in free-to-paid conversions.

      Free-forever still comes with a lot of psychological baggage that the vendor has to work around… so be sure to consider the difference between user and customer engagement.

      Great points though, Doug… thanks for commenting.

      • Agree with Doug and you. The problem isn’t the trial but the engagement of the prospect to make a decisions. The fact that they completed a call to action doesn’t meant the are qualified or ‘engaged’.

        Regarding the trial period. I can’t get a meeting with a senior executive in 14 days…let alone try out software. I am pretty sure that I personally have not purchased any complex software with simply a 14 day trial. A simple…use it once and I get it tool. Yes. But nothing significant from a business or process stand point.

        • Good point, Michael… remember, a Free Trial can be used as part of a higher-touch/human-touch-required sales process.

          So if you offer a 14 day trial (probably considered too short of a trial in your prospect’s mind for a complex product anyway), that would be something you offer after you’ve had some outreach and connection with the senior exec.

          The great thing is, because you’ve already connected with them before they start the trial, you can do some very interesting things if you design and engineer the trial itself as a real part of the sales process.

          For instance, if you take advantage of the technologies available to hook the prospect’s actions into your CRM, you don’t have to wait 14 or 30 or 60 days until the end of the trial to close the sale; you can see that they’ve reached certain milestones in real-enough time and reach out to close the deal immediately; right when they’ve said their ready with their actions.

          Good stuff… thanks for being part of the conversation.

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