99% of the B2B SaaS companies I talk to don’t segment their free trial users.
This is a shame because we all know our trial users can be very different from one another.
For example, have you heard of accidental users? Those users signed up thinking your products was doing something else and leave soon after realizing their mistake (much more common than what you might think!).
Or what about tire-kickers? Yes, a surprisingly large number of people like to try products with no intention of buying ever (more about it in this great post from Matt Pope).
There are also self-service users. They are actively evaluating your product but don’t want to talk to a human being, especially a sales person.
The enterprise buyer is an interesting profile. She will likely buy an expensive plan and will appreciate to get help from an account executive.
“Sure thing… why should I care now?”
Fair question. Here is what happens when little is done to identify the different types of trials.
1. The overall conversion funnel has little meaning
A SaaS company we work with was worried because their trial-to-paid conversion rate had decreased 30%. Is this because of the new product feature they just released? Or maybe there is an issue with the email drip campaign? The explanation was simpler: A large number of tire-kickers coming from ProductHunt suddenly signed up. Their very low conversion rate crashed the overall conversion rate.
Looking at the trial-to-paid funnels by customer segment is the best way to understand how your product and sales activities affect conversions, regardless of variations in customer signups.
2. You are selling and building the wrong product features
Understanding how your product is used is essential to effectively sell and improve your product.
But looking at overall product usage metrics is misleading. The accidental users and tire-kickers usually make up a large chunk of your customers. Looking at overall usage metrics means that you may well be designing your sales and product strategy to fit your worst customer segments!
When looking at product usage, make sure to focus on your core user segment. The features they care about are the features to sell and improve.
3. You are spending your time and money on the wrong trial users
There are lots of ways in which a lack of segmentation hurts your sales and customer success efforts:
- Tire-kickers take away precious time from sales and customer success. This time could be spent on selling and helping core users.
- Customers with high potential value don’t get extra love. Many sales teams spend huge amounts of time on tiny customers while underserving larger customers.
- Trying to get buyers to use your product and trying to get users to buy is a waste of everybody’s time. In B2B, the buyer is often not a heavy user. For example, a CTO will pull the credit card and pay for an app monitoring software, but he or she will use the software only occasionally. Educating the CTO on the nuances of the alert analysis feature doesn’t help anyone!
- Sales trying to engage self-service users hurts conversions. Some users appreciate having an account representative help them evaluate a product while others want to do their evaluation on their own. Knowing who’s who is critical for both customers and sales teams.
How to get started?
One way, of course, is to use MadKudu (passionate, self-interested plug). Otherwise the key is to start simple. Talk to your best customers to get a qualitative feel of who they are, and look at your customer data to find out what similar characteristics are shared by your best customers. Then put together a simple heuristic to segment your customers and implement this logic in your CRM and analytics solution.
This effort will go a long way to increase your trial-to-paid conversion rates.
Now back to you. Do you have different segments for your trial users? If no, why not? If yes, what are those segments? Who is using them? Continue the conversation on twitter (@madkudu) or email us email@example.com!