Decide How to Deliver Your Trial

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the types of free trials available to partners.
  • Compare the drawbacks and benefits of these trial types.
  • Evaluate the most appropriate type of trial for a given product.

Decide Which Kind of Trial to Offer

At Salesforce, we want to help you create the best customer experience possible, and to help you along, we offer you different ways to share your product. The first step for you is to determine what your customers want.

Some of your prospective customers already use Salesforce and can access one or more orgs. If you want to let them play with your product using their existing data, they can install your package on a trial basis right into one of their sandbox or production orgs. We call this an installable trial.

Using existing customer data doesn’t always make sense, though. Some prospects can’t install apps or don’t even have orgs. Or perhaps you have a specific idea for a specific experience, which is easier to demonstrate if you use specific data. Maybe you want to use Wave Analytics or configured Experience Cloud sites, which need to run in their own org. We give you two options for setting up trials that use your prospects' own data:

  • Test Drive, which lets a prospect log in to a preconfigured org and look around using an evaluation account. It’s easy to deploy, but it’s read-only: Users can’t change any data.
  • Trialforce, which creates an entirely new trial org containing the app, populating it with custom sample data. Trialforce requires more preparation, but you can customize it.

These three approaches—installable trials, Test Drive, and Trialforce—let you decide how to put your product into the hands of your prospective customers. You can choose one approach, or mix and match as you see fit.

Let’s take a closer look at each type of trial.

Let Your Customers Play with Their Own Data

For some products, installable trials are a no-brainer. If you’re an ISVforce partner, your products extend existing Salesforce features. They fill a need for Sales, Service, Health, and Financial Services Cloud customers. Why not hand these customers a trial that shows how your solution works with their data?

Let’s see how this works. Alice, who uses Sales Cloud, keeps finding duplicate lead records. She heads over to AppExchange to see whether anyone has made an app that deletes these duplicates.

Your company, Leed-Dee-Dupe, has released an app, Leed-Dee-Duper, that does this. It finds duplicates and eliminates them, merging lead information quickly and intuitively. Obviously, Alice wants Leed-Dee-Duper. She just doesn’t know it yet.

Alice working on a laptop

Searching for “lead de-duplication” on AppExchange, Alice discovers several offerings. Leed-Dee-Duper is there, but how can you get her to choose it? She might not even consider products that she can’t try for free. If you’ve got an installable trial, Alice can immediately try it out with her data.

A Little Effort Makes a Big Impression

Installable trials require minimal setup on your end because they use actual customer data. There’s no sample data to generate or configure—the app uses the same package of metadata that your customers install if they purchase the full version. It’s kind of like selling a house that’s staged with the buyer’s furniture.

An installable app screen with a prospect's data

The trial lasts however long you specify—as short as 24 hours, or as long as you want. The terms depend on the license you use.

If customers buy your product, the trial is converted to the full version in their orgs. If they decide not to purchase, they can uninstall your app or let the license expire. Either way, their data stays intact—minus the duplicates, of course.

An installable trial shows your product in its best light. If your app enhances existing orgs in a way that’s easy to demonstrate with existing customer data, use an installable trial.

You don’t have to be an ISVforce partner to use installable trials. Consider our Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partners. They usually sell to customers outside of Salesforce, but they can use installable trials when they work with prospects who are already Salesforce customers.

Use Test Drive for Turnkey Trials

Test Drive is the easiest way to get a demo of your product to prospective customers without installing anything into their org. A Test Drive is a preconfigured Developer Edition org filled with read-only sample data. It’s completely independent and requires only a web browser on the customer’s end.

Why would you want to demo an app whose data can’t be changed? Often, a read-only trial allows you to avoid a lot of work. If your product uses a complicated external service, Test Drive eliminates the work of configuring it everywhere—it runs the service on its own org.

Sample data for a Test Drive

Let’s say you’re using an external accounting system in a product, and you have a limited number of license seats. The system interacts with other external services to track invoices, account balances, and so on. Figuring out how to deploy this system to every prospect would be a huge headache. It’s much easier to deploy a Test Drive org with everything set up.

You set up a single Test Drive org for each AppExchange listing. A Test Drive org has two users: an administrator and an evaluation user, who cannot change any data. Prospective customers log in as the evaluation user. Since they can’t change anything, they cannot alter the experience of other prospects.

If you can show your product’s stuff without your prospects changing data, Test Drive is the easiest way to deploy a self-contained trial.

Get Personal with Trialforce

Sometimes neither an installable trial nor Test Drive can do the trick. For some products, you want to provide a different experience for different customers. To really dazzle prospects with a customized experience, you want a fully interactive environment. If you’re willing to put in extra work to create the best trial possible, Trialforce is your best bet.

Prospect data in Trialforce

Trialforce lets each of your prospects spin up a ready-made org that hosts their free trial. You can set it up so that all your trial orgs are the same, or you can define different configurations for different experiences. If you have prospects in retail and healthcare, Trialforce allows you to create an experience for each of them. Your retail prospects get to play with sample data for point-of-sale transactions like inventory, sales, and promotions. Your healthcare prospects see sample patients, procedures, and insurance records.

Imagine what your sales team can do if you hand them a Trialforce experience to use in a demo!

Two men in front of a video screen displaying a chart

You can make a customized trial by creating a Trialforce template. The template is a snapshot of an org containing everything you want to use for this version of your trial. It contains your sample data, any branded login screens, and email templates. You can make as many templates as you want—one for each experience for your prospects: one for your healthcare customers, one for retail, and so on.

The biggest difference between Trialforce and the other trial types is the effort you spend creating sample data and configuration. Trialforce is really flexible—you can create one or several preconfigured experiences—whereas Test Drive lets you create only a single version. But that flexibility doesn’t buy you anything if you don’t have good sample data. We show you how to create a compelling template later in this module.

Convert Your Customers Easily

When customers decide to try your product, Trialforce creates a new org and installs the trial and its data there. The org has a preexisting user ID and password that customers use to log in, and from there they can access and modify all of the org's data.

If prospects decide to buy, the Trialforce org becomes their production org, and they can continue using it. If your customers enter their own data into the trial, they’ll want to keep their trial org. Be sure to plan ahead for how to delete the sample data in these cases. If prospects don’t want to use their trial org, you or your newly converted prospect can simply spin up another trial and start fresh.

Trialforce Can Work for You

Trialforce makes a lot of sense for OEM partners selling to brand-new customers. These customers can get started quickly using the sample data in the trial. But ISVforce partners can also benefit from Trialforce in several cases:

  • If business users want to evaluate your product, but can’t install packages, Trialforce lets these users try out the app without administrative privileges in their own org.
  • You can show your existing customers a new product that complements the tools they’re using.
  • If your app requires rich data to showcase its marvelous capabilities—perhaps it’s a project management app—you can use Trialforce to wow your customers with an elaborate Gantt chart.
  • Maybe your product is tricky to set up. It’s amazing once you get it up and running, though. Let Trialforce do the dirty work.

Now that you know more about the kinds of trials available, think about what kind of experience you want to give your prospects. You can use any or all of these trials—whatever makes the most sense for your strategy. And you can customize as much as you want, if you’re willing to do the work.

Enough talk! Let's head to the next unit and see how to set up each kind of trial.


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