3 Questions to Ask Before Offering a Free Trial

Posted by Steph Shuff on 4 Jan, 2018

should you offer a free trial

Free trials are an enticing option for software companies, particularly those just getting started, to consider as part of a marketing and sales strategy to attract new customers. However, software trials are not always the best path for your business or product.

If your sales or marketing teams are considering offering a free trial of your product, consider the following questions before taking the next step.

 free trial intuitive

Is your product intuitive?

One mistake that companies make when offering a free trial is that they underestimate the learning curve required to adopt their tool or technology. This is especially important if the product on offer is attempting to create a new market or change the way your target customers do business.

Complicated products that offer free trials can often do more harm than good: in the best case scenario, your confused customers will be a major drain on your customer support team; in the worst case scenario, your confused customers will get frustrated and give up on your product altogether.

If your product team isn’t sure how intuitive the product will be, offer free trials for a small group of new customers. Be sure to take note of how many times they ask for help, and how long it takes them to become proficient users. If you want to create a new market and still want to offer a new product, be sure to invest upfront in high-quality training, onboarding, and support materials to ease the burden on your support staff.

 free trial tiered

Are your services tiered?

Another mistake that many companies make in the initial phases of a free trial is in giving everything away for free. Before offering a free trial, make sure there is enough incentive for your free customers to upgrade to the full or paid version.

Perhaps you offer a free trial below a certain number of users, or, you offer a free trial that has limited features. In either of these scenarios, you can ensure that your customers use of your product will scale as their business grows. Be careful to select the right features for your free trial, or run the risk of attracting lots of new customers that never want to upgrade.

Finally, carefully consider any inclination to offer time-based trials. Only offer time-based trials if you are certain that your customers will want to stay customers once their trial is over.

 free trial sales team ready

Is your sales team ready?

The final thing you’ll want to do before offering a free trial is ensure that your sales and marketing teams are set up for efficiency. If your staff lacks the tools and training to take advantage of the leads that come in through your free trial, you might as well throw handfuls of money out the window instead.

Providing your team with the proper tools and training to time their outreach properly and personalize their messages for each individual user will ensure that they are able to build rapport and create lasting relationships that translate into converted customers.


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