So many software companies happily demo me their product but never offer me access to it so I can use it myself. I find the biggest concern sales leaders have about offering a free product trial is the assumption it would devalue the high price that was trying to be charged. I don’t understand that way of thinking and believe if you’re obsessed about the price you can charge you’re not thinking about how best to help your customer with their decision to buy. My obsession is to always do everything I can to show my prospects the value of our product and service and I’m always excited to let them get their hands on our product.
Here are 5 things you should consider doing when implementing a free trial of your product.
Set a time period for the trial
Once you’ve understood the timeframe your prospect is working towards for a decision, then I’d suggest offering the free trial in line with it. So if they’re looking to have sign off in 6 weeks then say “I’m going to give you access to your trial site for the next 6 weeks to support you and your team in your decision and it will expire on the 30th April” This is much better than offering ’30 day access’ as a blanket offer for everyone, the trial period needs to benefit your customer and their buying process. Setting the trial period to end on the ‘decision date’ is a nice way of keeping you and your sales prospect focused on it.
Get notified when they are using it
There are many benefits to getting notified when your prospect has logged into their trial site. If you can see how often they have engaged with your product it could be an indicator of their likelihood to buy (tracking trial usage with closed won opps can tell you that). If your prospect is logged in, you know they’re thinking of you so you can be really effective with your touch points and if you’re able to see what parts of your product they are engaging with and what parts they aren’t, you can tailor your call appropriately.
Make it obvious to internal support staff a sales prospect is trialing the product
You want to make sure that your sales prospect has the best experience so if you have a customer service team make sure they can easily see who is a ‘trialist’ vs who is a ‘customer’. We’ve done that by labeling our trial site the ‘VIP site’. I’m not suggesting that they’re provided with an extra special service but by making them aware, your customer support team may engage with your prospect in a slightly different way. They may give more attention to details on answering questions knowing that they are just beginning to learn about your product or they may even acknowledge that they’re a prospect and say “I understand you’re thinking about buying our product for your company, if there’s any way I can help you understand our service in more detail please let me know”. I’m sure there are some nice touches you can think of that your support team could do to help make your prospect feel valued.
Get a team of people on the trial
You need to get as many champions on board in the sales process as possible. So think past your immediate sales prospect and encourage as many other stakeholders to get involved as possible. Don’t forget to give them a demo first, you want them having a basic understanding of the product to get the most from the trial. Sometimes it’s not always easy to schedule a call with every stakeholder so why not create an intro video that will give other members of the team enough of an insight so they’re excited to take a deeper dive.
Make sure their trial is accompanied by a great email campaign
The more your sales prospect engages with your product the more they’ll be able to see the value it will offer to the organization. But your prospect is busy, so they’ll need reminding. To get the best engagement you’ll want to remind them of the benefits of your product with a great email campaign that entices them back to the product each week.
Above all else, the free trial could be your biggest competitive advantage. Whether your prospect engages in your trial or not, just by offering it will increase the level of trust your prospect has in your product. And if your competitors aren’t doing it, well then it could also be one of your biggest advantages in the sales process.
I hope this helps