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Should MSPs Offer Thirty Day Trials?

We had an interesting conversation with one of our clients recently and Chris penned a response which I thought was very much worth sharing with the greater community. The question of the hour is offering trials to your prospects in order to convert them over to clients. Here are Chris’ thoughts on the matter (with a few minor edits to make it read as a blog post instead of an email 🙂 ):

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Do away with 30 day trials. I do not believe that 30 day trials are of any benefit. The reality is a couple of things, a) the client’s network needs a great deal of work, and you are going to have to spend some time up front cleaning this all up. It makes no sense to do this for free, and then have them cancel when the work is done. b) It is very difficult for clients to see, understand, and appreciate what we do. What they see is that their network is running smoothly. If their network was already doing OK, even though you and I know they have un-patched machines, old 3rd party software, and no reliable backups, how will they effectively assess our performance in a 30 day period?

The better option is to have a 30-day out. Get them to commit to your services, and make sure they understand that you are in this for the long haul, but if they don’t feel you are doing a good job, then they can fire you with 30 days notice.

Do network Assessments, not trials. Use Kaseya to collect information using our Audit scripts, and show them how bad off they are. Use this information to get the deal, and THEN go in and clean up their mess.

Plan these assessments for the beginning or at least first half of the month, so you can remove them before the 25th cut off (this is important if you are on our Hosted Kaseya servers, if you’re on Saas then it doesn’t matter as much). If you have a client that needs to go beyond, think of this as a marketing expense. In the early days of our business, we bought 5000 Kaseya licenses, even though we didn’t have a need for them all. We used the excess to do Assessments, or load them on clients that weren’t yet Managed Services customers. I am not suggesting you commit to thousands of extra licenses, but if you have 20 extra license out there doing assessments for you, at $4 a license, that is less than a hundred dollars marketing expense. FYI – Kaseya pro-rates these licenses and doesn’t give you any for free. That is something that we have always tried to do as a service to our partners, but within our “Bill on the 25th ” guidelines.

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Chris raises some good points. One thing I would mention was that he was addressing a partner of ours which is hosted on our “Hosted Kaseya” platform. There are some differences between this platform and Saas, and billing is one of the major ones. If you’d like to know more about what keeps these two apart then simply contact us and we’ll give you more information.

Another thing I usually mention when speaking with partners is that on Saas it is probably worth having 10-20 extra licenses sitting around for marketing purposes. Chris mentions it briefly in the above, but I can’t underscore it enough. Extra licenses means you can quickly and easily launch a network assessment of new clients — sometimes without even having to speak with them. It also means you’ll have a license or two sitting around for the odd PC repair job you need to perform (I know, we’re all MSPs here, right? 🙂 ).

Network assessments are very effective in displaying value to your prospects without spending all that time cleaning up. I know that sometimes it is easy to try and offer a free trial, but it is usually equally as easy to ask them for 1 month’s work for pay. “Lets just try it out for a month and see if we’re a fit.” This is often just as effective as offering a free trial, and usually weeds out the people who weren’t going to purchase from you anyway.

Something to chew on. What are your thoughts on offering free trials? Do you do this? Has it worked for you? Any interesting stories to tell? Let us know in the comments below!

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