For many years now we've offered a self-serve 30-day trial for our SaaS product. About 20% of trial signups are good quality. The rest often have poor data, are difficult to get in touch with, or are foreign companies attempting to copy our features for their own projects.
Should we put a better filter on who we let through the door?
We're considering reviewing each trial to verify contact information and make sure we have a good product-customer fit prior to approving the 30-day trial.
It seems these could be the benefits:
1. Improve the quality of active trials
- Helps focus sales team efforts on quality leads only
- Gives us earlier contact with the prospect so we can qualify and collect more information
2. Gives the product more of an exclusive feel / build a bit of anticipation because of a slight waiting period.
3. Makes it more difficult for competitors to get access and copy the results of all our R & D.
4. Makes us less of an open door target for hackers
I'd love to hear your opinion or experience!
In theory, sure. In practice, to do this you'd need to find a mostly foolproof way of knowing who was "good" when they signed up*. Will the team reviewing be able to KNOW who is likely to be good? if not, you're just providing friction for signups.
This is a perfect thing to test. I'd use cohort analysis to follow a group you let in vs the control and see if the team does a better job than average at filtering out the "bad."
The Test would also then tell you if that friction point was hurting you overall, even if the team was unable to manually discern who the best customers are.
Another option: just review all the signups manually anyway and disable the ones you don't like. No need to reveal it.
*To do this, you'll need to find out what your good customers have in common. (the same industry? title? company growth phase?). This is called segmentation. Once you understand that you can then market to get to more of the good.
What would happen if...
> you banned certain country IPs?
> you had a pre-qualifying opt-in requirement, where a visitor had to affirm that Yes, they were in one or more of the specific situations your SaaS provides a solution for?
> you made each potential trial user have to call and have a 2-minute qualifying conversation with your staff?
One or more of these will give you a better-qualified trial user pool.
I see this frequently in my marketing coaching: the person is afraid that without being "open" to all and sundry, they're somehow going to be turning off and turning away tons and tons of business.
How's business now?
What do you have to lose?
What do you have to GAIN from a pool of much-better qualified prospects?
Look at how the SaaS market generally does what it does...and the results they're getting. Do you like those results? If not, maybe you should be behaving differently.
Give the free 30-day Trial Signup, but require a credit card number or a valid address within the area that you are marketing to. If you think this will turn away a substantial number of customers, then you just answered your own question...don't worry about the poachers because it is cost effective and you are gaining a market share. There is not such thing as protectionism when it comes to business.
Best of Luck,
From the Trenches to the Towers Marketing
I will be glad to help as my time permits.