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Why do people not convert to paid after your SaaS free trial?  


Did you know that 70% of your free trail users, who had been actively using your SaaS solution for 3 days, would have been 70% more likely to turn into paying customers if only you had tipped your sales representative to give them a persuasive call?

Obviously, analytics is still at the core of any successful SaaS (Software as a Service) sales strategy.

If you have been monitoring your SaaS free trail users, you would agree with Totango that out of the total web visitors (say 1000 people), only about 2% (i.e. 200 leads) sign up for the free trial, and from among those 2%, 15-50% (i.e. 30-100 prospects) become paid customers.

But, you have still around 50-85% leads (100 to 170 prospects) who didn’t convert to paid after your SaaS free trial.

Imagine if you could have converted them too. It will have doubled, tripled your SaaS revenue.

So, let’s find out why those leads ran away saying “no thanks, I will pass”.

In fact, we are not just going to tell you why people say “no” to you after your SaaS free trial but also confide on you the well kept secrets of how you can convert those free trial users into paid customers.

After all, if Beats Music, a $9.99/month subscription based music streaming service, can turn 7 out of every 10 free trial users into paying customers, so can you too. Profit is waiting for you. Let’s grab it.


1. Your SaaS Speed Sucks? I don’t like to wait.

Delay in page response time & SaaS operations will give a bad impression to your free trial users. They expect your SaaS service to be fast and smooth. Without lags. You click something and you get the result. No waiting.

Remember, your prospects are all busy people. As such, even a 1 second delay in page response time can cost you 7% reduction in conversion. In other words, if your daily revenue is $100k, then at the end of the year, a 1 second delay in page response means that you are throwing away $2.5 million. That’s a huge loss.

Solution: Obviously, you will have to speed up your SaaS operations. Get your developers to work on it. And, regarding the webpage loading speed, get some tips from Google Page Speed Insights (it’s free like most Google SaaS solutions).

Here’s a screenshot of Page Speed Insight where we checked’s loading speed – 80 out of 100 is impressive, huh?

2. There’s a bug in your SaaS.

Users rely on your SaaS solution to do their business. As such, you have to provide impeccable service with 100% efficiency. If they find any bugs during the free trial session, your prospects would be less confident on becoming a paid user.

Solution: Do a lot of testing, and get rid of any bugs or any small issues which might create a big problem later on. Also, assure your users of a 24 hour support service.

3. You Got A Complex User Interface.

People are already intimidated by software, and if your SaaS has a complicated user interface that makes the user go scratching their head, they will run away to your competitors for comfort.

Steve Kruger has wrote a book on web usability and human-computer interaction; the book’s title itself reveals how designs should be i.e. “Don’t Make Me Think”.

Solutions: Your SaaS interface should be intuitive and sleek. Here are some ways you can offer a better user experience.

  • Get your UI/UX designer to create a simpler and intuitive user interface. Don’t make it a clutter. Make the important stuff visible.
  • Put up an interactive tour/walkthrough of your SaaS service.
  • Upload quick demo videos on your website to provide better understanding of how your SaaS features work. Users can re-watch these videos whenever they get stuck.
  • Offer a live demonstration of your free trial users (this way you would get to build a good relationship with your prospects and therefore influence the sale… of course, it depends on how persuasive the salesman can be). There are several Screen sharing online tools to help you with that. Like me for example. Skype too offers a screen share feature.

4. Think the price is too high.

When it comes to spending money, people tend to hesitate. Even if your prospect likes your SaaS product, it’s possible that they will seek out alternative solutions just to save a few bucks.

Solution: Build up urgency to buy by providing discounts and limited offers. Provide alternative price models to suit the customer.

5. Not sure of business success with your SaaS service.

The free trial should have given the users a taste of your software. The whole purpose of providing free trials is to let the prospects what they are going to buy (which reminds me to ask you not to limit your software functionality in any way during the free trail; why hide the good features when you can boost your conversion rate by showing all your cards).

Solution: Offer 30 days of Money Back Guarantee to build confidence in your prospects.

6. Lost interest in your SaaS product.

Yeah, it can happen. Your prospects might be handling four different things at a time, and therefore ignore or rather can’t find time to engage with your SaaS product. In either case, you have to pull them back.

Solution: Keep in touch with your free trial users. Employ a strong email strategy to pique their interest with persuasive emails.

Groove handles its email campaign smartly. It sends out a “You’re In” email, with the objective to connect the user with the CEO of the company, and instead of any irritating CTA it informs the users about follow-up emails that they will get in the course of the free trial period, and asks a question on why exactly did they sign up for Grove.

The standard practice is to send out 2-3 articles to your users in the first week of free trial signups, and then stick to “1 email a week” approach. Do analyze your email campaigns, tracking the email open rates and click-through rates such as to identify the interest level of your leads.

7. Didn’t realize the full value of your SaaS product.

A large number of free trial users don’t really read through all the features and details of your SaaS product. They just read a few lines about the SaaS product and a little bit from the testimonials, get excited and sign up for the free trial.

What’s more, many free trial users tend to ignore/skip the interactive walkthrough (and some SaaS websites don’t even provide one, assuming that their product is easy to understand).

In this situation, your prospects might fail to realize the true potentiality of your SaaS solution, and therefore has to be reminded about what benefits they can achieve through your SaaS product and what problems of yours does it solve.

But, of course, they wouldn’t take your salesman’s word seriously. So?

Solution: Put on an explainer video on your homepage to quickly educate the visitors on what your SaaS product is about and what problem it solves.

Why would an explainer video be better than words? Because seeing is believing, and explainer videos also build excitement with cool visuals and instill trust in your SaaS product through a good story and presentation.

Moreover, with an explainer video, you can also show your leads the otherwise difficult to explain gestures and SaaS features.

8. Fake leads. You got a tire-kicker or an accidental user.

A large number of your free trial users are not really that interested in purchasing your SaaS product. They are fake leads, and we call them tire-kickers.

Tire-kickers are people who just stumbled upon your SaaS solution and thought that they should check it out.

Likewise, there are some accidental users too, who had signed up for the free trial session thinking that your product could solve their need. They mistook your SaaS solution for something else.

Solution: You can shoo away accidental users by putting up an explainer video on your landing page.

For example, if you visit CaseComplete’s website, you would be greeted with an engaging 90 second explainer video that tells you what exactly CaseComplete is and what problem it solves for you. This way only the people who really have a need for CaseComplete’s service would apply for the 30 days free trial session and, if they liked the experience, they will become paid customers.

Hence, upon watching the short 1-2 minute video overview, visitors would not have any trouble understanding what your SaaS business is all about and what problem it solves. And, therefore only the interested prospects would check in for the free trial.

Of course, the tire-kickers would still sign up for the free trial despite the clear message they got from your explainer video.

But by demanding the credit card details upfront for the free trial signup, you can dissuade 99% of these tire-kickers from signing up for your SaaS free trial session.

Still, there’s a tiny little chance that these tire-kickers may convert into paid customers i.e. if they realize the power of your SaaS. So keep them engaged with automated email strategy.

These tire-kickers and the accidental free trial users might not turn into paid pronto but your objective here is to make them interested enough through an exciting explainer video such that they remember your SaaS product and come back later when they need you

9. User is considering competitor’s SaaS solution.

Of course, any rational businessman would check out for alternatives. They would go to your competitor and see if they offer a better service, especially regarding the user interface and the pricing model.

Solution: Start building trust in your SaaS product, and the easiest way to do so is through press coverage and guest blogging. Also, maintain a company blog.

Hubspot established itself as the number one inbound marketing too partly thanks to its active blog, which generates traffic and trust among prospects.

Having a persuasive explainer video on your homepage can also help convince the user to buy into your SaaS service (especially when your competitor doesn’t possess any explainer video on their landing page… that’s because when the time comes between choosing either you or your competitor’s SaaS solution, having the explainer video on your side will make all the difference).

10. The 30 Days free trial was too long (and too common).

Just because everyone is offering a 30 days free trial doesn’t mean that you should also give the same. It might not work for you.

Solution: Did you know that our human brain observes and keep notes of anything that doesn’t fit or is unusual? It might exactly this reason why I can’t forget Basecamp’s 60 day free trial. It was the first encounter (until Basecamp, I had only heard of 30 days free trial). Plus, the 60 days free trial offer is quite exciting too.


Of course, it doesn’t mean you should also give 60 days free trial. Basecamp offered 60 days because it is a project management tool, and you know how a project can take over a month to finish. Your SaaS solution is different. So, you need a different free trail period to suit your business complexity. For instance, Salesforce offers a 7 day trail for its “Sales Cloud – Contact Manager edition”.

So, run some analysis and collect data on your free trials users. See the usage statistics to understand how many of your trial users lose interest in your service and at what point they decide to become paid customers.

Work out this free trial usage statistic and decide on the length of a trial period that boosts the most conversions.


The bottom line is that you are not selling software but rather you are selling the software experience.

And, don’t just focus only on customer acquisition. Engage with your existing customer base since 70-95% of your total SaaS revenue comes from the monthly renewals and upsells. Avoid churns.

So, if you were to eliminate bugs, improve your SaaS operation speed, offer an intuitive user interface and use other engagement techniques, then you will be able to enjoy a higher free trial to paid conversion rate.


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