Top 5

Having trouble converting the majority of your free trial users into paid customers? According to Totango, it’s probably more common than you think. Their 2012 survey of the subscription business industry found that best in class SaaS leaders have around a 25% lead-to-customer conversion rate, a figure that’s significantly higher for trials that require a credit card.

Totango Trial Conversions


Just because the 30-day trial is over doesn’t mean you need to stop marketing, though it’s prudent to be sharp about who you approach and how:

1. Conduct a Survey

Send a survey to leads who did not convert to identify what factors affected their decision to not become paid customers. Was it price? Up time? Was the interface not user-friendly enough, or was the software just not the best fit for their needs? Identifying which factors have the most-significant impact on their decision can allow your sales team to determine which leads are salvageable and further qualify contacts. Be sure to ask if they chose a competitors’ product and why.

Keep the questions brief; Survey Monkey research has found that abandonment rates soar when you’re asking more than 3-10 questions or requiring more than 7-8 minutes of your leads’ time.

2. Do a Phone Interview

Use your sales representatives to contact highly-qualified leads by phone for further surveying about why they didn’t opt to upgrade. Inquire again whether they choose a competitor’s service and why.

B2B Marketing expert Howard J. Sewell recommends selectively contacting former leads by phone, due to the high cost associated with sales calls. You could opt to call a sample or the most-engaged segment of your former leads based on behavioral segmentation to keep costs low.

3. Ask Permission to Continue Marketing

At the end of your telephone or online surveys, ask permission to keep your contacts on your mailing list. If they’ve chosen not to respond to either attempt, send this segment of your email list a clear link to “manage their communications” by opting out of your email list. Contacts that choose to opt-out of future communications are not the best focus for your sales team.

4. Don’t Spam Them

Keep in touch with former leads, and send regular updates on any changes to your product or pricing, as well as information on any special deals you may run in the future. Don’t be pushy, rude or presumptuous on social media.

Distribution marketer Danielle Morrill recently gained for sharing screen caps of a Twitter conversation with a SaaS she chose not to utilize over privacy concerns. It’s never prudent to act personally hurt or indignant on social media, particularly when your former lead has significant digital influence. Remember “Customer is Still KING“. Ross of Beta Punch apologized later through this blog post.

5. Use Behavioral Segmentation

Did you have any above-average leads who demonstrated strong levels of engagement during the trial period? Totango has found that 50% of paying SaaS customers log in less than once a month. Highly-qualified leads who logged-in frequently could be the low-hanging fruit after the 30-day trial period.

Using behavioral segmentation data to determine who liked and utilized the product can help increase your chances of turning salvage into sales.