The-Seven-SaaS-Trial-Leads-You-Need-to-Know-for-SaaS-Revenue-Forecasting
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If you’re a modern SaaS business (you are, aren’t you?), you probably have some sort of revenue forecasting system. And to get any value from that system, you need to know how likely your SaaS trial leads are to convert.

That means plugging values into a spreadsheet with a formula, typically

deal size x likelihood to close

Of the two, deal size is relatively easy to determine. But how do you determine likelihood to close? If you’re like the average modern SaaS business, you might have a conversation with the Account Rep in charge of the account. Surely they’ll know. 

“How are we feeling about Footprint Inc?” you ask the Account Rep. “How likely are they to close?”
Oh, they’ll close. We’ll get them for sure. I can feel it.
“Great! I’ll just put them in the spreadsheet —”
94% — they’re going to close.
“Because they’ve been especially engaged with our key features during their trial?”
No, how would I know that? I can just feel it.
“You can…feel it?”
Yes, I can just feel it. They’re going to close.
“Ok. Is it because they’ve gone through all the Activation steps?”
I told you! I can feel it.
“Ok, Jim if you’re going to give a percent you need a reason.”
No, I don’t.
“Ok, very well. I’ll just ask Product for the account engagement and put them in the spreadsheet based on —”
638.
“638 what?”
They’ll close.
“Jim, that’s not even a percent!”

This is clearly not a sustainable way to determine how likely it is that a trial will convert. Want a better way to forecast revenue? Product Engagement metrics give you singular insights for your revenue forecasting so you don’t have to rely on Jim’s “feelings” anymore. (Sorry, Jim, but who were you kidding? 638?)

The key product engagement metrics to consider for your SaaS revenue forecasting are:

Activation (Rate):

n. A static measurement of how far along a user or account is in their journey toward “first value” or the “aha” moment where they realize how great your product is. 

n. An indicator of how far along someone is to becoming a product qualified lead

Engagement (Score):

n. An over time measurement of how much a user or account is using your product

Communication

n. A measure of responsiveness and proactive outreach that a user or account displays during a free trial period

Most SaaS trials fall into one of seven types, based on their Activation, engagement and communication during their trial period. Have you met all seven? 

Ready to find trials that will convert? Give Sherlock a try.

Types of SaaS Trial Leads


SaaS Trial Lead #1: The Golden Leads

90% Chance of Conversion

If only SaaS revenue forecasting was all Golden Leads

SaaS Trial Leads golden lead description
Don’t we all wish every lead was a Golden Lead?

These people are almost guaranteed to convert. From the beginning, they do everything right. They get set up in the product quickly and stay highly engaged throughout the trial, often bringing in more team members. They’re also extremely open and communicative with your team, clearly describing their goals, taking advice, and asking questions whenever they get stuck. You can’t do better than a Golden SaaS trial lead.

Key engagement indicators:

  • High Activation
  • High Engagement
  • Actively Communicate

How to handle these SaaS trial leads:

Just enjoy the ride with these leads. They’re really committed to making your product work for their use case so do everything you can to help them make it happen. And don’t be afraid to show them important but less obvious features — they’ll be on board to try them! 

SaaS Trial Lead #2: The Silent Successes

75% Chance of Conversion

Don’t be discouraged by silence when SaaS revenue forecasting

SaaS Trial Leads Silent Successes
Just because these SaaS Trial Leads are quiet, doesn’t mean they don’t care

These SaaS trial leads sign up and self-serve their way to value. They don’t respond to any emails or communication attempts from your team, but they maintain high Activation and engagement rates throughout the trial. As much as may seem disinterested, their engagement tells a different story.

Key engagement indicators:

  • High Activation
  • High Engagement
  • Low/No Communication

How to handle these SaaS trial leads:

Firstly, don’t give up hope. Just because they’re not communicating, doesn’t mean they’re not interested. It’s easy to rank the likelihood to close lower for these leads because they don’t talk much, but stay focused on their Activation and engagement and be available if and when they do need help. Then wait and watch them lead themselves to glory. 

SaaS Trial Lead #3: The Contrary Converters

60% Chance of Conversion

Feedback (even if negative) is good for your SaaS revenue forecasting

SaaS Trial Leads Contrary converter
These SaaS Trial Leads complain a lot, but they’re still engaged

These people communicate constantly and consistently throughout their trial — but most of what they have to say is negative. They challenge your features, complain about your on-boarding experience, question how you wrote your help docs, etc. They just don’t seem happy with what you’re doing. Despite all of those complaints, though, these SaaS trial leads keep engaging and implementing. 

Key engagement indicators:

  • Medium Activation
  • Medium Engagement
  • Actively Communicate

How to handle these SaaS trial leads:

Support these SaaS trial leads happily through their grumpiness. When they frown, you smile. Listen to them and make them feel heard. If they find value in the product, they will convert. And they might even become one of your biggest advocates!

SaaS Trial Lead #4: The Positive Procrastinators

30% Chance of Conversion

Actions speak louder than words when it comes to SaaS revenue forecasting

SaaS Trial Leads Positive procrastinator
Don’t get caught up trying to give these SaaS Trial Leads everything they want

These SaaS trial leads may seem like some of the most promising. They say all the right things and seem excited in a too-good-to-be-true sort of way. These trials always have some excuse for why they can’t make progress on their trial. They never get set up with your product, and their sweet nothings may feel nice but are meaningless in the end.

Key engagement indicators:

  • Low Activation
  • Low Engagement
  • Actively Communicate

How to handle these SaaS trial leads:

The biggest thing to remember with these SaaS trial leads is that talk is cheap. Be firm with them. Make them commit to an action plan. Make them commit to becoming Activated with your product. If they can’t or they won’t follow through, don’t waste your time. 

SaaS Trial Lead #5: The Fizzlers

10% Chance of Conversion

When SaaS revenue forecasting, keep in mind: early excitement doesn’t always lead to lasting results

SaaS Trial Leads fizzler
These SaaS Trial Leads start hot and then burn out

These leads are the most disappointing of all in many ways. They start out so excited (much like the Golden Lead), becoming Activated quickly and constantly remarking how all of your features feel made for them. But then something changes — their engagement tails off, and they’re gone.

Key engagement indicators:

  • High Activation
  • Low Engagement
  • Low/No Communication

How to handle these SaaS trial leads:

Keep these SaaS trial leads on your marketing lists. (As far as SaaS revenue forecasting, they’re not going to close during their trial). They were clearly excited about something you had to offer, but it may have been a matter of bad timing. No one knows what the future holds!

SaaS Trial Lead #6: The Incompatible Ignoramus

5% Chance of Conversion

Bad leads are bad leads — no need to categorize them otherwise when SaaS revenue forecasting

SaaS Trial Leads incompatible ignoramusSaaS Trial Leads incompatible ignoramus
Is it even fair to call these SaaS trial leads?

These SaaS trial leads are just bad. There’s nothing else to it. They don’t have the resources or motivation to get your product implemented, but they interact with your team, taking up valuable time. They insist they want to make things work, but who are we kidding? 

Key engagement indicators:

  • Low Activation
  • Low Engagement
  • Actively Communicate

How to handle these SaaS trial leads:

Smile and move on. Be grateful for the initial interest and efforts of these leads, but don’t waste time. They may, at some point in the future, have the resources or feature needs. They may come back. But in the meantime, you don’t need them signing up and spreading bad vibes about your product in the marketplace.

SaaS Trial Lead #7: The Heartbreakers

5% Chance of Conversion

Sometimes SaaS revenue forecasting requires that you let go of a hollow dream

SaaS Trial Leads heartbreaker
Don’t let these SaaS Trial Leads turn into a morale black hole

Like their namesake, these leads are everything you want but can’t have. They’re well-known logos that would make your brand shine. Just saying their name gives you goosebumps. But the problem is they never actually use the product after signing up and are generally unresponsive to Sales outreach.

Key engagement indicators:

  • Low Activation
  • Low Engagement
  • Low/No Communication

How to handle these SaaS trial leads:

Just. Let. Go. Be happy that such a great SaaS trial lead showed enough interest to sign up but don’t dwell on them. Likely, the wrong person started the trial and they just aren’t engaging with your features. It might be worth it for your Sales team to spend some time mapping this account and trying to find the right buyer, but not too much time.

SaaS revenue forecasting is all about product engagement

Chances are, by this point, you’ve realized that SaaS revenue forecasting is all about looking at engagement. Is the SaaS trial lead engaged during the trial period? If so, they’re more likely to convert. If not? There are more fish in the sea.

Need a tool to separate the Heartbreakers from the Golden Leads? Try Sherlock free for 17 days.

What do you think? Did we miss any SaaS trial lead personas? Send us an email at marketing@sherlockscore.com and let us know.