SaaS 101: 15 Day Trials Suck

If you are starting a SaaS business and will offer a trial period for your application, be aware that the length of your trial period has real consequences that go beyond trial-to-paid conversation rates.

Here’s the issue, every trial in your account database will have 3 states:

  • Created in prior calendar month, converted in current calendar month.
  • Created in current calendar month, converted in current calendar month.
  • Created in current calendar month, will convert in next calendar month.

To contrast, a system built around a 30 day trial period has two states:

  • Created in prior calendar month, convert in current calendar month.
  • Created in current calendar month, convert in next calendar month.

Got that? 15 day trials create complex calendar math that needs to be built into every function that touches the trial process, like revenue forecasts, churn calculation, trial conversion %, etc.

This is not totally foolproof because of that pesky 28 day February so from a programmatic perspective you still have to build logic into the rules but from an operational business standpoint the 30 day trial period greatly reduces the complexity of forecasting around the day to day trial performance.

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