I was emailing back and forth with a colleague of mine the other day about whom, within the ISVs business stands to gain the most from offering trial versions of their software. Well, after much discussion, here’re the cliff notes…

Trialware is definitely not new. Offering trialware has long been a powerful and widely used method of product exposure for publishers of all types of software including consumer and business applications, as well as, games and other embedded software.  Beyond making it easy for prospective customers to evaluate and purchase your software, trialware can be a useful tool for many departments within your own organization.

The most obvious internal beneficiary of a trialware offering is your Sales team, right? After all, trialware can help your Sales team to convert prospects into paying customers by allowing hands-on evaluation of your software product’s features and functionality.  Trialware shortens the buying process.

Right. But there are some, perhaps less obvious, uses and departments that benefit from using secure software trials. Consider five additional ways your organization could benefit from trialware:

1. Beta Testing
Using trialware versions of pre-release product allows Development & Testing teams to streamline their product beta test programs.

2. Test New Markets
Product Management and Marketing teams can use trialware to test and gain traction in previously untapped markets by increasing accessibility to your application.

3. Analyst & Trade Media Review
Trialware is also valuable for use in exposing upcoming product capabilities to select customers or industry analysts for feedback. Product Management can create different trial versions for each of your product lines or markets by customizing each to run for a specific number of days, or executions, or with a certain number of enabled features.

4. Promotion
To help promote and gain exposure, Marketing can make trials available online via Electronic Software Delivery (ESD) or on disk, and then promote and distribute at tradeshows, sales calls, or PR and media events via email, direct mail, blogs, and other social media outlets.

5. Super-Distribution Referral Channel
If your trialware is properly secured, you can also encourage users to share with their networks and if you’re lucky, your application may go viral – turning pass-along software copies into a super-distribution referral channel for new demand generation and revenue opportunities.

There’s no question that using secure trials is a great way to gain exposure for your products and the ideas mentioned here are just the beginning.

Download the white paper, “Increasing Reach and Revenue through Secure Software Trialware” for a more in-depth discussion.  Let us know some of the creative ways you’re using software trials in your business.  “Happy Trials to You – Until we meet again…”