Converting SaaS Free Trials to Paid Customers

Converting SaaS Free Trials to Paid Customers

Many SaaS companies offer free trials to hook their customers, however converting SaaS free trials to paid customers is crucial to driving revenue growth. In this post we outline our top five tips for converting SaaS free trials to paid customers.

SaaS Conversion Tip #1: Leverage your CRM to its full potential.

CRMs are robust tools and when used effectively they can make all the difference when you’re focused on driving revenue growth. One attribute of most CRMs that is very underutilized is the lead scoring features. Being able to segment out leads based on job title, company size or industry – assigning these attributes a score and then calculating which leads score the highest will help you prioritize which accounts should be higher-touch through the free trial period and which accounts should be de-prioritized and put on separate nurturing tracks.

Another way to leverage your CRM is by establishing and tracking the most important events or micro-engagements that someone in a free trial is taking. Finding the actions that correlate to conversions and identifying user behavior that indicates high-buyer intent is the quickest path to converting SaaS free trials to paid customers. Doing this will help you understand which events or micro-engagements lead to converting customers and will allow you to view which accounts are most likely to convert and where other accounts are getting hung up. With the knowledge of where an account is hung up, you can push messages to that particular account to get them to take the action that would most likely lead to a conversion from trial to paid.

SAAS CONVERSION TIP #2: Make the value proposition abundantly clear.

Most SaaS tools have lots of features and benefits for their customers. However, having so many awesome features can sometimes dilute where the true value is and distract people in your free trial. You must apply the 80/20 rule = 20% of the features deliver 80% of the value. 

Identify what aspects of your software are acknowledged by your customers as driving the most value. Once identified, set up workflows during the free trial which ensure that each and every user fully understands and fully tests drives the 20%. Don’t dilute their experience by continually flashing new features in front of them, ultimately you’re distracting them from where the core value of your software lives. Once you’ve got everyone using the 20% during each and every trial, then start focusing on the remaining features in order of acknowledged customer value and usage.  

SaaS Conversion Tip #3: Create a sense of urgency.

There are two different types of urgency. 

  • Internal urgency is the motivation the user has on their own when in the free trial. Think: “I need to decide which of these Automation Platforms to recommend in the annual leadership meeting.” 
  • External urgency is what you can introduce to the user that makes them feel like they need to make a decision. Think: “You only have 5 days left in your trial and before your 20% discount code expires.”

There are three major components to getting external urgency to work in your favor:

  1. Set the expectation early. Make sure your free trial has a very explicit end date and frequently remind a user where they are at in the trial period.
  2. Offers. This will take some testing on your part. However, understanding where the pricing threshold is for getting a user to opt in for the first month or year and then actively pushing the offer throughout the free trial will help convert more.
  3. Tone. Don’t be bashful, you’ve built something of value that is worth paying for. Make sure the diction and syntax you’re using inspires confidence.


SaaS Conversion Tip #4: Nurture users with sophisticated drip campaigns.

Most Saas marketers have a series of emails that go out to users while they are in a free trial. The difference between good nurture campaigns and great ones comes down to data and tech. 

Let’s talk about segmenting users. To really get the best results with drip campaigns you need to be able to slice your data and segment out users by level of engagement and lead score (See Tip #1). Once segmented you need to craft optimized emails and create separate nurture campaigns that speak to that particular user’s needs. Writing these different campaigns requires a high degree of empathy and understanding of each segment’s customer journey. Until you can effectively segment your data these tailored messages are virtually impossible to deliver.

Speaking of delivery, the only way to make this scale-able is to leverage more sophisticated technology and tools. Many CRMs have workflow and campaign builders, so if you’re lucky enough to have those at your disposal, spend the time learning how to set them up properly and get to writing your campaigns. For those who don’t have an out of the box solution at their disposal, start exploring the possibilities of building your own no-code workflows using tools like Zapier, AirTable and GlideApps. With these no-code tools can fully automate customized workflows without writing a line of code.   

SaaS Conversion Tip #5: Pre-purchase ON-BOARDING that surprises and delights.

On-boarding pre-purchase – blasphemy! Most SaaS companies expect those in a free trial to discover the value on their own. More sophisticated SaaS companies have developed a series of videos to guide someone through set-up during a free trial. However, conversations are where prospective clients tell you why they’re considering your solution and allows you to help them set up their free trial so it addresses their exact problem and delivers the solution they need

Yes, on-boarding is expensive and time consuming. However, with your data segmented you can focus this white-glove treatment on your top prospects and those showing the highest amount of buyer-intent. It goes back to getting a prospect using the 20% of the features that deliver 80% of the value for them. Ensuring they see how your solution solves their particular problem is where converting SaaS free trials to paid customers begins. Plus, approaching their success in a more human-centric way can really separate your company from the rest of the consideration set.  

Now, let converting SaaS free trials to paid customers begin!


To sum it up, taking a very human-centric approach, leveraging tech and tracking & segmenting data is what we believe will get to more paid customers from free trials. No, it’s not easy to deliver the right content exactly when a user needs it, but by leveraging the five tips above you’ll have a better chance at converting SaaS free trials to paid customers. 

Are you looking for ways to get your SaaS company to grow? Contact us for a free consultation with our SaaS marketing experts and learn how you can maximize your growth potential.


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