Have you ever been shopping for a car and wished you could drive it for a few weeks to give it a good shakeout before you bought it? After all, it’s a pretty big purchase and you’ll have to live with the consequences of your decision for a while, for better or worse. Nice concept, but you’re more likely to get hit by a meteor than to be able to convince a dealer to let you have a 30-day test drive.
Well, the same test drive concept applies to purchasing a software product. There are typically a lot of options, some of which run on-premise, some in a cloud SaaS platform. Some require a significant setup effort just to get started, others only require a web login.
It is becoming more and more common for software vendors to offer a trial version of their product, and almost a given if you are a SaaS vendor. The biggest reason for this is that buyer behavior is changing in a very big way. It used to be that companies developed a list of vendors they wanted to evaluate, then engaged with them all to educate themselves on the nuances of the various solutions to evaluate the best fit.
Now, prospects are educating themselves before they ever even talk to a vendor. They use web based product information, social media forums, and product evaluation sites such as TrustRadius, to inform themselves about product and vendor capabilities. Trial product usage is also a very important part of the educational process; typically available on a 30-day basis.
By the time the prospect is ready to talk with vendors, they’ve educated themselves, used their products, and are in a much more informed position when they engage in the purchasing process. The end result of this shift is that we are seeing a significant acceleration of the purchasing cycle and the emergence of trial software usage as a fundamental element of a modern software sales cycle.
Careful though, not all trials are created equally. Since trials generate no direct revenue, there is generally little or no vendor software support provided for the trial period. It is very important that the product you are testing out has a good community structure behind it that can provide technical guidance and answers to questions as you go through your trial usage.
At TIBCO, we recognize this shift in buyer behavior, the importance of trial usage, and the need for active user communities. We are dedicated to providing a great trial experience and encourage you to try our collection of integration and API management software available on a trial basis:
—TIBCO Mashery: Create and manage APIs
—TIBCO BusinessWorks Container Edition: Build and choreograph microservices and APIs
—TIBCO Cloud Integration: Integrate your cloud applications
—TIBCO Simplr: Automate your tasks with flows