Whatever business you are in, you want your potential customers to become intrigued about you. What do you do? What are you offering? And most importantly, how can you help them to solve some problems? These are some of the basic questions that your potential customer will definitely have when they come across a product that you are offering.
Even though it’s preferable to keep them curious, at the end of this journey you have to provide the end goal that they were expecting in the first place. Therefore, how to use curiosity so that it benefits both you and the potential buyer? The answer is using a free trial. However, a free trial is a topic of vigorous debate, mainly because of the pros and cons in terms of free trial length. They say “the shorter, the better”. In this post, we’ll try to see if that really is the case.
The first thing that we need to address is what is considered a short or a long free trial period? According to some studies, such as the one done by Close.io, “99% of B2B SaaS products should limit the trial to 14 days, max”. In most cases, everything that goes into that time frame is considered a short free trial.
If you ask the proponents of the short free trial period, these would probably be some of their arguments:
When keeping a trial short you actually increase the possibilities that your potential customers will take the time to get to know the product/service that you are offering.
It has a clear psychological effect—they know they’ve got little time to check everything out, so they’re more motivated to actually do it and not postpone it.
This is an important point because it urges customers to take it more seriously – often clients tend to subscribe for a free trial but start using it a few days before it expires because they usually forget about it due to such a long time frame available. That way, you are rushing the potential customer to make a faster decision of buying.
When you set a shorter time available for completing a trial, the potential sales process will happen faster. That way you are financially supporting the trial period for a shorter time, and on the other hand, if this process doesn’t end up with converting a trial client into a paid one, you still didn’t spend too much money on them. Another benefit would be that your support team doesn’t spend too much time on a client that potentially may never become a paid one.
If you do a bit of investigation, you can see that the majority of the companies are deciding on having a short free trial period mainly for the reasons mentioned above.
“We don’t want to rush clients into making a decision – we nourish a long-lasting relationship with them.” – Misha Krunic, Founder and CEO of Price2Spy.
Everyone in the business world has the same goal – make a profit. However, it’s not always just about the goal itself, but as well about the journey. The fact that short trials provide a faster conversion from the trial into paid clients is indisputably true. But, when it comes to maintaining a long-term relationship with the clients, it doesn’t need to be the case.
In Price2Spy we seriously take the phrase “customer comes first” so we like to put ourselves in their position. Why rushing someone into making a decision that requires money and will affect their business?
If you put enough time and devotion into explaining how the product/service that you are offering works, there are actually very slim chances that someone wouldn’t buy it. In the end, it all comes to providing a solution to their problem.
We believe that the good product/service will speak for itself – there is no need to rush anything if you are sure that you are providing something beneficial.
In the case of SaaS companies, the free trial length is especially important. Potential customers need time to test all the offered features. In Price2Spy’s case where plenty of features are offered, we are aware that a few days just are not enough to go through each and every one of them.
Also, potential clients sometimes have very complex requirements, so when Price2Spy offers them a solution, it might require some time for everyone from the company to get involved and decide if the solution is acceptable or not. In order to do so, we always insist on providing a client with detailed insight into all our features, possibilities, and associated costs.
When it comes to costs, a very important point to stress out is the payment methods that companies are offering. In Price2Spy, we don’t bind our clients with any contracts – they’re welcome to pay month by month. Therefore, they aren’t forced into a long-term relationship. Even so, when they become more familiarized with our services and features through our free trial, many of them decide to pay for 1, 2, or even 3 whole years in advance!
When clients have enough time to test the solutions that you’re offering (and become aware of the benefits of using them) then customer retention comes as a natural trail of events.
Sometimes there really is no need for having a long free trial period, but when you are providing a technical product/service it is always nice to give clients enough time to test it. That way you are not only increasing the number of potential customers who will start a free trial to see if the product matches their needs but as well increasing the odds of turning them into paid clients in the long run.
Price2Spy’s team has understood this very well, so our users have the possibility to test our software during a 30-day free trial. Providing profit and finding new customers is important, but what comes as even more important is what kind of customer experience they will have.
What are your experiences with the free trial length? If you’ve tried different free trial durations, we would like to know your results! Share them in the comments below.