Free Trials: Do they see the benefit?20 Jun 2020
“Do they see the benefit?” is what my business coach always asks me when we’re going down the list of where prospects are in the sales process. It’s all about structuring a sales process that helps the customer see that the benefits far outweigh the costs. Pricing less than customer value is a good thing! My customers are nonprofit job training programs and public schools, so I have an especially uphill battle.
We sell an automated mock interviewing tool called Talk Hiring to career readiness programs. When we were in our free pilot stage, we asked how prospective customers wanted to evaluate Talk Hiring, and three aspects kept popping up.
- Are people using this tool?
- Do they like using the tool?
- Are they improving their interviewing skills?
Once I figured out that this is often how Talk Hiring was being evaluated, it made it really clear how we should structure our free trials. We need a free trial process that has the following characteristics:
- Long enough for students, teachers, and administrators to really use Talk Hiring.
- Short enough that prospects maintain their motivation to move along in the sales process.
- Structured in a way that the above interviewing metrics can be very positive.
What we settled on
- We offer usage-based free trials that incentivize usage and rapid rollout. In each free trial, an organization can do 50 mock interviews on Talk Hiring for free. But, if they use up their 50 mock interviews within the first 45 days of their free trial, they get another 50 for free (100 total). Free trials expire after 6 months.
- Prospects are incentivized to roll out Talk Hiring quickly because of our 45-day cutoff. And if they’re not rolling it out, the 45-day cutoff is a great thing to remind prospects of via email. “If you do at least x mock interviews in the next y days, you’ll get another 50 mock interviews for free.”
- In a standard usage-based trial, the metric of usage (in this case, mock interviews) would be viewed as a scarce resource. But in our case, we’re getting prospects in the mindset of viewing mock interviews as the opposite.
- Having a time cutoff is important just so that free trials don’t linger forever. 6 months is long enough to give prospects a few different opportunities to try to roll out the tool, but not so long that free trials can linger forever.
- Any and all staff at prospective organizations that want dashboard access can get dashboard access during free trials. Our dashboards are structured to track the real-time data to answer the 3 ways that most prospects evaluate our tool (ex. do they use the tool, do they like using it, are they improving their interviewing skills). Dashboard below:
To give a little more context, I felt like it would be helpful to give you some background on how I structure my sales process.
- Initial contact. About 40% of my prospects come from referrals (thanks Apollo — https://www.apollo.io/), another 40% come from cold emails, and the other 20% come from events, social media, and other smaller sources.
- Try to start a free trial as quickly as possible. Some programs want to talk with me first, others don’t want to. The only step required from them to start a free trial is to e-sign a free trial agreement (thanks Contractbook — https://contractbook.com/).
- Once the agreement is signed, do an onboarding meeting to outline best practices for rollout, walk through the tool, talk through the goals of the trial, etc. Write up the notes in a shared Google Doc that can be referenced throughout the trial.
- Track usage during the trial (thanks Metabase — https://www.metabase.com/), and give nudges along the way.
- Once the trial is over, shut off their account and see if they want to purchase. The details of what happens in step five is definitely worthy of another blog post!
- If they want to purchase, send over a paid contract agreement via Contractbook and an invoice via Stripe.