Many SaaS and Internet service companies offer free trials or freemium services. Accordingly, in the product database, there are users in various stages: trial, freemium, and paid.

What happens, more often than not, is that the nurturing of these users is done by the product team, not the marketing team. And that isn't just a problem that's isolated to just small or unsophisticated companies. Even large companies with an extensive marketing technology stack and a mature product still operate with such a disjointed process.

We'll discuss in this article why this is an issue, what's the root cause, and how to fix it.

Why Nurturing of Free Trial and Freemium Users Is Important—and Should Be Done by Marketing

Marketing spends money and effort to convince a prospect that the company's product is useful and unique. Having a prospect commit the time and resources to take part in a free trial or freemium offering is a significant step in the buyer's journey. These middle-of-the-funnel prospects are highly valuable and must continue to be nurtured to ensure a high conversion rate into paid customers.

On the other hand, the ability to renew and upsell customers is critical to the success of any SaaS business. Thus, in recent years, Customer Success has evolved into a major function within SaaS companies. Sales and Marketing no longer stop when a prospect becomes a paid customer. In fact, there is a strong argument for not even using the term "closed" to describe the event when the prospect becomes a paid customer. A more descriptive term is "committed."

Therefore, to maximize success, Marketing should continue nurturing paid customers to ensure they expand usage; and, at the appropriate times, Marketing should execute upsell campaigns, especially when users run up against paywall boundaries (for example, features not available at the current level of subscription).

Nurturing users is a critical part of moving buyers along their journey, and nurturing must be handled by Marketing to ensure consistency in execution with all the advanced engagement technology at its disposal.

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image of Ed King

Ed King is the founder and CEO of Openprise, a data orchestration SaaS company. He has over 20 years of experience in enterprise software.

Twitter: @ekwking

LinkedIn: Ed King