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Speaking at the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Lecture Series sponsored by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Tien Tzuo, Founder and CEO of Zuora and former Chief Strategy Officer at Salesforce.com explains why Salesforce.com adopted the free software sales model. His discussion of the debate and perspective from his former employer, Oracle, is worth checking out.
For many enterprise software companies this is a very difficult subject as the control of the sales cycle is tantamount. Opponents argue that free software trials potentially derail sales cycles and give them less control.
Tien argues that the actual experience of using the applications is more important than restricting information. This is a fascinating look into how salesforce.com made the decision for their well-known free trial strategy and great lessons learned for SaaS start-ups.