Your product is awesome. It’s so awesome that you’ve decided to offer a Web-based trial to allow users to sample the functionality (or a subset of the functionality) without committing to purchase. As a solution provider, you’re auditioning. If the features and functionality match what your prospect is looking for, there is a high likelihood that the free trial could convert to a purchase.

Trial downloads can be considered to be stronger buying indicators than other, more passive content consumption. As with any online behavior monitoring, it’s wise to consider integrating certain aspects of your online trial with your marketing automation platform to better understand how patterns in trial adoption lead to better, faster qualification.

When creating demand with a trial, you have an opportunity to influence how your new user experiences the trial. You can also control how your users’ interaction with the trial might change how a receiving function follows up with that prospect. Take the following steps to integrate aspects of your Web-based trial with marketing automation:

  • Influence how users experience the trial. Leverage marketing automation to align a series of automated outbound messages to drive trial adoption. Frequently asked questions, tips and tricks, and other helpful bits of information can help users set up, use and understand the trial functionality faster. In addition, when the trial is integrated with marketing automation, level of adoption can be used as a segmentation criterion to create more relevant trial messaging. Gauge use by log-in frequency or different trial module configurations, and align helpful, usage-specific information to each scenario. Use what you know about trial subscribers to segment further: Job function, role, title and industry are useful data points for designing relevant trial communications.
  • Align followup with level of use. The receiving sales function should be able to easily see prospects’ level of trial adoption. When the trial is integrated with marketing automation, alerts for high or low adoption can be sent directly to a sales rep or services professional, or used as criteria in a scoring or prioritization program. Users who enthusiastically adopt the trial may receive an earlier sales call for possible conversion to purchase, whereas users who are struggling with the trial might benefit from a proactive outreach from services or support. Either way, it’s smart to monitor trial adoption and have processes teed up to handle different outcomes.

Remember, not every bit of information from the trial needs to be integrated with marketing automation. Keeping the trial integration lean will minimize the opportunity for error. Pick a few select fields or data points that can be used for segmentation, routing or followup. You can always add additional fields or data to the integration later as your need for visibility increases.

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