Posts Tagged: trial

Like many of our competitors, we offer a no obligation “free trial” of our room and resource scheduling software.

Back in 2017 we increased the length of the free trial periods of our MIDAS room booking system from 14 days to 30.

Six years on, and we were curious to revisit this and try to understand if this is still the most suitable duration to offer for a software trial.

To that end, we began by researching what our competitors currently offer in this regard.

We analyzed 64 online software vendors who develop room booking / scheduling / appointment systems.

The results were quite surprising!

Length of Software Free Trial Periods
Length of Software Free Trial Periods

Nealy 44% of vendors we looked at didn’t offer any form of “free trial”!

Of those who did, the most common length of free trial offered was 30 days, with 18 businesses offering this. 30 days is also the length of free trial that we currently offer for MIDAS.

The second most common length of free trial was 14 days – which is what we previously used to offer for MIDAS. A total of 10 out of the 64 software vendors analyzed offered a 14 day (two week) free trial.

Of the remaining vendors we looked at, the shortest free trial period offered was just 3 days. The longest on offer was 90 days.

What is the best duration to offer for a free software trial?

The best duration for a free software trial largely depends on the complexity and capabilities of the booking system being evaluated. As we found, some software vendors offer trials that last just a few days, while others offer trials that last for several months.

Now some more “basic” scheduling systems may be easy for prospective customers to evaluate within a few days.

Others may require more time to fully test and evaluate all the product’s features and capabilities.

This is primarily the reason why we previously increased our free trial period from 14 to 30 days.

We were finding that some prospective customers were reaching the end of their 14 day trial and were then requesting a 1-2 week extension so they could complete their evaluation. In most cases, we were generally able to extend 14 day trials upon request. However, over time as we added more features and functionality to our booking software, we decided that there was quite a lot to evaluate and digest in just 14 days.

We certainly didn’t want prospective customers to feel “rushed” into evaluating our product.

That’s why we increased our free trial period length to 30 days, to allow extra time for users to get a good feel for what MIDAS is all about.

Since we did this, we’ve had far fewer requests for extensions to free trial periods.

Would an even longer free trial period not be better?

Looking at our our own data, we don’t believe so. On average, those prospective customers who evaluate a free MIDAS trial make their decision within 21 days of the start of their trial period.

That’s why we still feel that offering a 30 day trial is still the best length.

Some vendors offer considerably longer trial periods. One of the reasons for very lengthy trial periods may be because purchasing their solution ties you in to a long and potentially expensive contract, and so potential customers want to take extra time to evaluate their potential long-term commitment.

However, there are potential drawbacks to offering longer trial periods (a couple of our competitors offer 90 day trials for instance);

  1. Firstly, people have limited attention spans and may not be willing to to commit to a long trial period. If a prospective customer can’t get a good “feel” for your product within 30 days, it’s unlikely that they will. (or it’s likely that the software is far too complex for them to be able to readily get to grips with)
  2. Secondly, the computing resources needed. These days, it’s fair to say that the majority of room booking, scheduling, and appointment systems are online. The days of stand-alone, downloadable software packages have all but gone. Therefore, for each free software trial, that system has to be “hosted” somewhere, at a cost to the vendor. A free trial that lasts for 90 days will cost a vendor three times as much as a trial that lasts for 30 days.

What about those vendors who don’t offer ANY free trial?

Going back to our analysis of 64 software vendors, 28 of them (44%) didn’t offer any “free trial” period.

We did however find that 22 (79%) of these vendors instead encouraged prospective customers to “Book a demo” with a sales representative to schedule a live “guided demo” presentation of their software.

Software vendors not offering a Free Trial, but a scheduled "Guided Demo" instead
Software vendors not offering a Free Trial, but a scheduled “Guided Demo” instead

For completeness, we also found that 11 out of the 63 vendors offered both a free trial and a “guided demo” option.

Is a “guided demo” better than a free software trial?

Free software trials and guided demos can both be effective ways to showcase a product to potential customers and help them evaluate whether a product is a good fit for their needs.

Free trials allow potential customers to try out the software at their own pace and in their own time. It allows prospective customers to experience the software firsthand, which can be more effective than just watching a demo.

Guided demos, on the other hand, can be a good way to answer questions and address any concerns potential customers might have about the software.

Ultimately, both free software trials and guided demos can be effective tools for showcasing software to potential customers and helping them decide whether it’s suitable for their particular needs.

Do prospective customers want to see a “guided demo”?

A recent poll on Reddit, revealed that of the 444 people who voted, 300 would want to see a software demo on their first interaction with the vendor. 133 people would want to see a demo after 2-3 interactions, and 11 people wanted a demo after 4 interactions.

Looking at the poll’s comments though, many people want to evaluate software without any interaction with the vendor.

One person commented that “Sales-led demos only exist to give the sales people leverage in the interaction.

Another commented “Software selection is a part of my job description — if I can’t see a demo without needing to put a meeting on my calendar, it’s an automatic no-go.

Whilst another commented “Users should be able to signup for [a] free trial without having to talk to sales“.

We’re in agreement with these sentiments and feel that a “free trial” a customer can explore at their own pace is far better than “guided sales demos”.

In summary…

For prospective customers who insist on a “guided demo”, we can accommodate, however here at MIDAS we prefer to actively promote our FREE 30 day room booking system trial.

We believe that trying a fully-functional copy of our software free for 30 days yourself – with no credit card required, and with obligation to buy – is the best way to get to know our software and to explore its extensive capabilities.

…and our responsive sales team are always happy to answer any questions you have on our software before, during, or after your free trial.

Happy New Year!!

It’s the start of a brand-new year, 2017, and so usually it’s around this time that many businesses quietly put up their prices…

Well, not here at MIDAS!! As you may know, we’re a UK based business, and not only have we held our 2016 prices for UK customers going into 2017, but given the short term fluctuations in value of the British Pound since the UK’s decision to leave the EU back in June, our prices for non-UK customers today are actually around 14-20% LOWER than they were at this time last year!

So there’s really never been a better time to get MIDAS! Make it your new year’s resolution to get your organization’s scheduling and room bookings back on track in 2017 with MIDAS!

What’s more, in 2017 we’re extending private trial periods of our software. Most who first explore a private trial of MIDAS and go on to purchase determine that MIDAS is right for them within their two-week private trial period (in addition of course to our public demo of MIDAS – which has no time limit). However, we appreciate that due to the extensive range of capabilities of our software, some customers prefer a little longer to be able to fully explore the features that MIDAS has to offer.

That’s why in 2017 we’re increasing the length of the trial periods we offer from 14 to 30 days!

If you’re considering MIDAS as an alternative to your current room/resource scheduling system, you can activate a free no-obligation 30 day trial here.

2016 marked our 10th anniversary, and we hope to bring you more exciting updates to MIDAS throughout 2017!

We hope 2017 is a prosperous year for you and your business, and we’d love to get MIDAS working for your organization and make your life easier in 2017 and beyond…