Many MSP owners admit that the hardest part in sales is getting an opportunity in the first place.
This is because most companies that are worth a dime are working with a competitor.
So, how do we get those individuals to give us a chance?
This is where the SaaS industry has lessons for us, because the good software companies are experts in growth, fast acquisition, and some of their tactics can help MSPs get more at-bats.
In this article, I’m going to get into the tactic SaaS has become famous for:
The free trial.
We’ll dive into benchmark conversion rates, a new kind of free trial you can offer (not an “IT assessment”), and lastly, tips on how to promote it.
Applying Lessons from SaaS Free Trials
First off, let’s get on the same page about what the definition of free trials. According to Pierre Lechelle it means the following:
If we repurpose we’d change “Saas” to “MSP” sales funnel, where users discover your service through any means, use your services only afterward they may sign a managed services contract with you.
Okay, and how about conversion benchmarks?
According to many Saas experts, the average free trial conversion rate is 25%.
Maybe this sounds good, but if you’re a glass is half empty person, you see 3 out of 4 are walking out of your MSP after eating free cheese.
Both perspectives are valid, so let’s focus on what we can all agree on: reducing the walkouts!
Only for the “Best Fit” Companies
Of all the tips I came across to increase customer conversions from trials, by far the most common recommendation was to target the right people.
So, let’s think about this for an MSP.
If your ideal client is a company within an hour driving from your office, has 20 to 80 employees and doesn’t have an internal IT department, well then, let’s only let allow those types of companies get the premium free-trial experience.
You can filter the good from the bad by creating a landing page for sign-ups with a form that asks all the critical qualifying questions on it.
Simple? Yep, that’s exactly the point.
Get to ‘Wow’ Quickly
Think about the times you’ve tried something without paying. Maybe it was Netflix or for work a free trial of a software solution like HubSpot’s CRM.
Did you buy it afterwards? If you did, I bet you can remember what aspect during the free trial made an impression.
Bottom line is that if you can’t deliver at least a ‘9 out of 10’ star experience, or a 10 out of 10, then you’re risking letting potential clients walk away disappointed and unimpressed.
Unique ‘Free Trials’ MSPs can Offer
The good old “free IT assessment” is a bad word in this article. It’s not unique, and good prospects are probably viewing this is another sales pitch.
But trust me there are plenty of good options here.
Let’s think about cyber security. Everyone is concerned about it and the incumbent IT provider may be falling short.
Offer “Edutainment” Security Training
A serious problem with most security awareness training is that it’s usually boring.
Not only is it boring, it’s done once a year and so the lessons are quickly forgotten a few days later and there’s no recurring testing.
A hard part that rarely gets discussed is also the fact that phishing simulators take a person, whether that’s in the client’s organizations or the MSP, to implement!
So, what if you offered a free trial that is the opposite of boring, and that could leave a wow impression?
Hook is one vendor but there are many who are disrupting the security space to fix all these problems. Try to find innovative players like these because not only are they offering something that sounds and works differently, they often come with white label marketing collateral you can repurpose!
Getting the Word Out
Let’s face the hard truth: most MSP websites aren’t getting lots of traffic from qualified prospects.
And since fixing that problem is beyond the scope of this article, let’s talk about simple ways we can spread the word about free trials through other means.
Our services team members are customer-facing and they of course send lots of emails to clients, so a very simple option is to update the email signatures to include a link to a landing page of free trials.
So remember, before you edit signatures, we need a landing page on our website that describes the free trial!
Remember, a good landing page should focus on the benefits of the trial, and it must have a long-form that enables you to qualify the prospects better.
Okay, back to the email signature idea...
Add the landing page link to everyone’s email signatures! One of my favorite tools for making sleek email signatures is HubSpot’s free email signature generator tool.
Direct mail is so hot right now!
Two reasons this means of marketing is great for free trials. First of all, you can target the right kinds of companies. In fact, you may not even need a landing page if you mail them because the newsletter itself explains the benefits, right?
Second reason newsletters are awesome is because they won’t get caught up in spam filters.
Let’s face it -- nowadays, we’re getting 100X more emails from strangers than actual mail from strangers. And this means our newsletter has a higher likelihood of getting opened.