Free Trial? Or Request A Demo?

We recently made the decision to drop the "free trial" call-to-action from our site in favor of a "request a demo" call-to-action.  A few reasons why:

  • We're a sales-driven company, not a marketing-driven company.  In other words, we expect to qualify, demo, and close accounts over the phone.  We don't expect customers to sign up without speaking to a rep - though it has happened quite a few times!  
  • Our pricing starts at $149 per month, which prices us out of the e-commerce model.  We recently launched a $499 per month offering and we plan to launch another up-market product in the near future.  So we're migrating away from the "free trial" market.
  • Free trials customers often don't have the best experience with our application.  We're targeting SMBs with a focus on those that know what they're doing - so our app is a bit more complex than that of our low-end competitors.  Free trials can sometimes leave customers confused, whereas demos let us frame the value, explain the app, and get the customer up and running more quickly.
  • Requesting a demo is pretty strong interest indication and requires the prospect to clear a higher hurdle that a free trial - so our lead volume might drop, but lead quality might increase.  Not a bad trade off if you ask me!
  • Free trials attract all kinds of ne'er do wells - spammers, competitors, hackers, etc.  A simple qualifying step keeps these goofballs out of your app and precludes lots of headaches. 

Thoughts?  We're watching the results very closely - will be interesting to see how the change plays out.