When I first began hiring salespeople, I just assumed pay along with commissions and bonuses would be enough for them to want to do well in their job.

With my first few hires, though, it became clear very quickly that this wasn’t always the case–my employees weren’t motivated by base salary or commission structure alone so we had a lot of turnover at first because they were bored out of their minds on every call without any excitement whatsoever about closing deals.

Nowadays when someone tells me they’re going into recruiting or HR instead of doing something else more interesting like marketing designing clothes etc., it’s usually not an issue as long as you can make a decent wage plus commission-based compensation package work for all parties involved (I’m still sure there are some exceptions).


1. The One-Call Close

Our sales model is one call close. Last month we did 170 demos across three Account Executives, 97 of them closed on the first call. We’ll probably pick up another 10-20% this month but most will come from that first phone conversation.

That’s an average of 57% for my first call.

what is trial close in sales process

 

There was a time when I thought that the success of this model would be temporary.

We have a lot more features now that our solution is two to three times as complex. We can’t fully explain all the features in one call, so we tried breaking out discovery and demo into separate calls.

Here are the three reasons why we went back to one-call close model.

  • A good salesperson understands the prospect’s situation from their perspective. This is an important part of establishing a connection and creating urgency.
  • Even if the AE does all of that discovery, it’s just one person. One way or another, they have to come up with an understanding of what happened. An SDRBDR can take great notes and will only be able to communicate 20-30% of everything happening on a call—they won’t know anything about how the prospect is feeling.
  • With the discovery call, we had to add lead>discovery>demo>trial. This means that there’s a percentage of people who will fall out because they don’t want an extra step in their process.

They stopped using the one-call close model and instead focused on simplicity.

Lots of good Sales Development Representatives will tell their team to sell the meeting with the Account Executive, not just promote a product.

Sales people have a similar mindset as account executives. They need to build rapport and momentum for the prospect before they can be trained on every feature.

2. The Free Trial 

A lot of sales organizations feel that free trials and pilots are a crutch for weak salespeople.

I don’t know if it works for everyone, but free trials are the only reason this whole thing has worked.

It is not a good idea to sell something, then tell the customer they have to sign up before even trying it.

If they push back, tell them that time with the AE is their chance to see if the product will work for them.

When I’m on the other side of the table as a buyer, evaluating SaaS products for my team.

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I don’t like it. I hate feeling forced to try out a product after being told how great it is.

Don’t discourage free trials, paint them as crutches for the weak salesperson or make your prospects beg.

Article: When I first began hiring salespeople, I just assumed pay along with commissions and bonuses would be enough motivation.

We actually encourage our prospects to try out the product for free before committing. We also offer a quarterly payment plan rather than paying yearly upfront.

Pricing is a topic that I think we should address. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Cool. {{explains pricing}}

We want you to try this for yourself before making any decisions. Our trials are usually seven days long, but I’m extending your trial period because we want you to be able to see if it will work for you.

We’re confident that our clients will still have some worries, so we offer a plan where they can pay for three months before committing to an entire year. Once the first 90 days has passed and you feel more comfortable with your decision, it is possible to switch over.

It’s really fortunate that we get to use this close because of how amazing our product is.

The three reasons for this are:

  • A study was done by Outreach, looking at emails. It showed that high-pressure sales techniques were significantly less effective than the more logical ones.
  • Giving a trial makes you sound confident, and it shows that your product will do what you say it does. It’s less threatening to the prospect when they have an option with lower commitment.
  • The close script above is actually high-commitment. There are three big things happening with it. First, the prospect’s first billing date has already been set to a specific day; our company standard is 7 days but in this scenario I have extended that period by one more day or sometimes two weeks out of the month (random). Second, we never say “I’ll let you do a 30-day trial instead of seven days.” Why? Because they probably don’t feel ready yet and will ask if their start up can be postponed until next month which would not work. Lastly thirdly, at some point during any sales process there needs to be an element of urgency because without it people just won’t buy.

I am using this close with urgency, but it is low pressure. The second the customer uses my product or service, they are already on a trial period.

We watch our trial>active conversion ratios pretty closely and they usually sit anywhere from 80-90%. This was not the case when we did trials without credit cards. We’ve found that people are much less likely to convert if there is no commitment, so all of our trials have a card with an automatic billing date.

Three activities that can help you reduce your sales cycle and boost conversion

If you do try this, I hope it helps. We sell to small businesses but if anything, this could work with bigger deals too.

When I was looking for a new job, these are the things that helped me get it.

Experiment with a free trial

It’s a good idea to make it variable in length, with some reps getting seven days and others having longer time periods. You should also be careful about when the billing date is set for these trials. The conversion rates will probably be higher than you think.

Reduce the sales cycle by allowing salespeople to conduct free trials

It’s much easier to sell a product if you talk about it on the first call. You don’t need to do extensive research beforehand.

Reduce the length of the sales cycle by enabling free trials for the salespeople you hire

We are working on improving our sales hiring practices. It’s difficult to discern the difference between trial, active conversion ratio, and clients making their 90-day payment.

Finally, one of my favorite Linkedin follows had a great mindset to have around sales cycles: “If you don’t know the answer but are willing and able to find it out, I’ll invest in your future.”

what is trial close in sales process

 

Does your sales cycle take a long time? Or do you make it go on for too long?

 

 

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 what is trial close in sales process

 

Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.