How to Increase Your SaaS Free Trial to Paid Conversion

Use analytics to understand what influences users to upgrade, and the optimal set of actions that can push conversion upwards

Where to start when you are looking to improve free trial to paid conversion for your SaaS

Are you looking to increase conversion from free trials to paying customers, or from freemium to paid subscriptions? You’re not sure where to start or which segments to target?

Then this guide will be useful to you. We’ll show you how to use data to help you understand:

  • What influences users’ decision to upgrade to paid, so you can target others accordingly.
  • The impact of paywals and how to use them optimally.
  • The influence of emails on the decision to upgrade.

What framework do we apply to uncover improvement opportunities?

We use product analytics pre-built reports from InnerTrends. The insights derived from the reports will guide you in your quest. Read on.

Identify the impact of finalizing onboarding on the decision to upgrade

A Product Qualified Lead is an account (an individual user or an organization) that experienced the promise of your product (received value from your product) at least once, as part of a free trial, freemium plan, or other types of product usage.

As a PQL has received value from your product, it also means that that account has finalized onboarding, according to the correct definition of onboarding. Essentially, what you do here is look at the relationship between onboarded accounts and the decision to upgrade.

How do you do this? By running this pre-built InnerTrends report on your data: What is the performance of “upgraded to paid” by “accounts”?

📽️ Here’s also a quick video explaining how to look at the relationship between onboarding and the decision to convert from a free trial to a paid subscription 👇:

Identify the minimum set of actions that correlates highly with the decision to upgrade

If you have a trial period, monitor the activity that people perform during the trial and what influences their decision to continue using your product after the trial has ended.

What pre-built InnerTrends report you need to look at: What are the differences in actions between onboarded accounts that return and those that churn?


What insight(s) you’ll get: You’ll know the actions with an impact on retention.

Outcome: You’ll build guides or push people via email campaigns to perform those actions.

Check the impact of paywalls

Do you have paywalls implemented in your product when users try to engage with specific features?

Check the onboarded accounts that hit these paywalls but did not upgrade, as they are your shortest path to higher upgrade rates.

In addition, you can identify the most common paywalls with the lowest upgrade rates. What pre-built InnerTrends report you need to run: “What is the performance of a feature?”, on the paywall feature data collected from your app by InnerTrends.

What insight(s) you’ll get: The features that trigger the most paywall interactions.

Drilling down further on any of them and checking the upgrade rates by using the InnerTrends “What is the performance of a goal?” report will help you quickly identify the features with the highest and lowest upgrade rates.

Measure the influence of emails on the decision to upgrade

What pre-built InnerTrends report you need to look at: How do emails influence accounts to reach a specific goal? and apply it to the “upgrade to paid” goal.


What insight(s) you’ll get: In a single glimpse, you see the impact your emails are having in getting people upgraded. You’ll also receive the granular data on each email campaign so you know which campaigns work well and which do not.

You want to make sure that every email you send has a positive influence: users who open the emails upgrade more often than those who don’t.

Drive more sales with your marketing automation tool using product analytics data

The moment a new onboarded user hits a high engagement level is the moment when that user is very satisfied with your product. If s/he’s not a paying user yet, ask them to upgrade.

You can do all of this by syncing the InnerTrends engagement data directly to your CRM, marketing automation or customer success platform.

What pre-built InnerTrends report you need to look at: Engagement overview.

What insight(s) you’ll get: Know the engagement levels of your accounts as well as engagement level changes that you can act upon.

Outcome: You’ll be able to pinpoint customers that are ready to upgrade to a paid package and trigger automatic campaigns to drive this.

SaaS Free Trial Benchmarks: Is Your Product Hitting The Mark?

Do you know if your product’s free trial is hitting industry benchmarks? If not, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table. This article will help you determine just how much is being potentially lost and make sure you’re picking the right type of trial for your customer acquisition model.

Included: Free Trial Calculator. Read more >

Check out more resources:

Achieve product-market fit using data
Optimize customer onboarding
Improve retention and product usage

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