Dear SaaStr: My Startup Doesn’t Have a Free Trial or Freemium Option. We require payment right away. Should we change this?

Free trials and freemium options work well — if you can support them well.

Ask yourself:

  • Can someone deploy your app in minutes?
  • If they can, does it work well self-deployed? Or does it need a ton of data in it to work well and show value?
  • If it needs a ton of data, can a “demo org” adequately convey that value?
  • Would you yourself want a free trial first, before buying?
  • Would it add value to some of your customers, and increase conversions, if they could try on their own before they bought?

If the answer is yes to these questions, definitely at least try a free trial.

You’ll find as you get bigger, and deal sizes go up, fewer and fewer customers will do the work for a real free trial in enterprise deals at least. So it may matter less as time goes on.

One side benefit you get is a better product. It’s harder to build an enterprise-grade product so intuitive, it can be used in seconds. If you can pull that off, you have a competitive and strategic advantage.

So my general advice is — at least try.  Try if the team is willing and able.

(Not necessarily a freemium version, though. Freemium is a business model. Free trial is a way to experience a product. They are very different (but can overlap).

(easy image from here)

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