What do you think of removing Trial version of a Saas?

We started as a product company but have shifted to mostly SaaS in the last few years.

I’m looking at the conversion rates for Download > Install >Run and they are quite low. Also our product can be complicated to use. (It’s for speech therapy and typical folks using it don’t even fully understand what their needs are much less which software to use - we have 19+ different programs).

So… I’m considering not providing a trial version, and instead just offer a money back guarantee on the first month.
(I’ve already started providing a free onboarding session to help folks.).

1 Like

What’s the goal of removing the free trial? You mention a low conversion rate, is it alarmingly low? You also mention that the product is complicated, could the conversion rate be improved by better onboarding?

I think better onboarding would help. It is unclear whether that can be done with something automatic. it’s not just the software that’s complicated. This is for speech therapy and so even choosing the correct program is problematic.

So part of my goal would be to force people through the live onboarding. I.e., I don’t even want them LOOKING at the software until they have me holding their hand. I’m concerned that seeing it and getting overwhelmed is worse than not seeing it at all.

I"m currently tracking the Conversions to “run twice” ( download, install, run, run again). So far it looks pretty abysmal.

Are there any costs associated with the free trial?

But based on what you’ve said, it sounds like switching out ‘free trial’ for ‘request a demo’ sounds like it could work well for your application.

1 Like

No real costs to free trial except that a potential user may be get frustrated and go away, whereas with a demo they might have engaged with it. (I have had that happen before).

So my thought would be to make sure you collect some conversion metrics on the free trial to paid account (sounds like you already have) and then remove the free trial and collect conversion metrics without it (and having the money back offer in it’s place).

I don’t know if you have a large enough volume of visitors to test this with, but if so, that’ll give you some clarity…

1 Like

Sorry for late answer (returning to the forum only after weekly summary emails), but here’s an idea: do you have a live-chat support on your website? That would count as holding hand a little - people could consult there and then, if they are unsure what to choose.

Did you think about webinars or any video marketing with explaining the stuff in video, and then sending those trials that information, maybe someone would convert?

In general, did you engage with those that didn’t convert from trial? Maybe you should email/call them and talk to a few, and then get clearer picture of the reasons why?

I have a tradition in our startup - it is a tool for web-developers - to email each and every new user after a day of their registration, asking how they liked the tool, what is unclear etc. (yes, emailing MANUALLY with almost no text scripted, cause their usage is individual). This thing gave amazing results and so many insights of WHY people do what they do, why they don’t convert etc.

Hello @Clay_Nichols,

So your problem is the “activation” (whatever you decide is an activation for you).

I would consider removing the trial version to speed up the conversion to customer, but I don’t think it would help with the activation.

A better on boarding process would help there, but, maybe before the on boarding process, you could remove the signup process and leave only a “request demo” feature. So you can guide the new users through your app with the basic, until you are certain that they know how to use it. Once you have more info about what the usually ask, or what they don’t usually get, you can build a better on boarding process.



That’s a GREAT idea.
Users still have an option for a demo but WE CONTROL that process and make sure they give it a “fair test” so to speak.

@ http://www.infocaptor.com , we had free trial and would receive thousands of signups. At one point we even had Google login so it would be just few clicks and free signup. The conversion rate was too low.

We removed the free trial and now it is just login after you paid. It works very well now. The rate of usage is pretty high.

When we had the free signups, people would signup and then check for few seconds and never come back. So for this purpose we made a public facing demo of our visual analyzer where users can play with existing data sets or load directly from their desktops. The good thing about this setup is there is no data touching our servers.

We also provide a complete install of our cloud application to be run on desktop or server so if there is any need they can fully evaluate for free.

So removing the free trial made sense for us. If some client wants to really test out cloud we do occasionally create temp accounts for them.


1 Like

I just added a live demo page on my website. Trial sign ups have decreased but engaged trials have increased. The demo seems to be weeding out people how just sign up and do nothing. It a little early to tell how effective it is but the early eyeball test looks promising.

1 Like

There might be a way for you to have your cake and eat it too.

What I’m hearing is that when they download it and run it (which they appear to be doing - this is a good thing) that they are overwhelmed and/or don’t know how to make it work for them. (If I’ve misunderstood, please let me know.)

I like the recommendation by @brbordallo to offer a “Request a Demo” feature - I think this is an easy short-term “fix”.

As a more long-term solution, maybe consider adding guided tutorials into the software itself based around specific outcomes they want as a result of using the software.

You’d start about by saying “What is it you’d like to do?” and provide some common goals users have for using the software.

Once they pick a scenario, you walk them through either a video demo or an interactive tutorial to show them how to go about achieving their goal.

You can choose to require them to go through an entire set of tutorials before using the software, or let them pick and choose what they want to learn and then dismiss the tutorial modal.

I would keep this information available not just after installation but also through a drop-down menu or something called “Show Me How” or something like that so that if there’s something that comes up later, they can learn how to do it.

You could also have a “Did You Know…” modal on startup with new tips and tricks they could learn from.

Hope this helps some, just trying to brainstorm off the top of my head.


I think that’s a good idea once I know more of what they are having trouble with.

It’s not even they don’t know how to use it (that’s part of it). It’s that they don’t know what difficulty level to use. You’d think it would be obvious (“hey, the patient is getting everything right easily, try something harder” or “he can’t do this, try something easier”).

That’s something I’ll add to the program. A little Clippy the paperclip dressed in a dr’s white lab coat asking “Hey, it looks like you’re having trouble there, do you want to do something easier ?? huh? huh?” . Something along those lines but much less anoying and interuptive.

1 Like

Just for shits and giggles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2YcOV5C2x4

Excellent suggestion. I’m thinking about doing this as well, as so far we’ve had a better success rate with customers signing up after demo calls (rather than going straight into trials). Will see how it goes.