Pros and Cons of Free Product Trials

We’ve been offering free trials of our software for years and have come to understand some of the pros and cons of doing so. 

Pros to Offering Free Trials

  • Helps assess how serious of a prospect you have
  • Provides an opportunity for the prospect to interact with other members of your team (services, support, etc) and show them how great of a company you have
  • Sets prospect expectations of what the product does and aligns interests with the company, proving that it is a good fit
  • Provides a sense of urgency as the free trial will expire at a certain date

Cons to Offering Free Trials

  • Usually more labor intensive, especially for more complex products as services and support teams need to be involved
  • Can lengthen the sales cycle as the prospect might have to get other people from his/her organization involved, and actually do real installation work
  • Some prospects will keep asking for free trial extensions, which can create an adverse situation with the sales person that wants to solidify the deal or walk away

A couple other items of note:

  • The free trial is really a proof of concept project, and should be referred to as such
  • Before doing the trial, clear success guidelines must be set up and agreed to by the prospect (e.g. in the proof of concept, we will show x,y, and z working resulting in some benefit, and culminating in the prospect signing a contract)

In almost all cases, I recommend offering free trials (proofs of concept).

More Benefits of Daily Check-ins

As you might know, I’m a big fan of daily check-ins. After spending some more time doing them (we’ve been doing them for 16 months with the leadership team), I’ve realized there are several additional benefits I didn’t consider before. Here are some more benefits that come to mind:

  • Having everyone stand up and talk in front of their colleagues gets the energy level up
  • Since it is at the start of the day, everyone says hello or good morning, helping promote the team camaraderie
  • As you’ve already talked with your team that morning, if an issue comes up later in the day related to one of your priorities, it doesn’t take as much time to get them up to speed on something you need help with

I highly recommend doing daily check-ins across your company.