Supercharge your Salesforce experience with Trialforce – Part 1

As an Independent Software Vendor (ISV), you’ve built an amazing solution on the Salesforce1 Platform and are ready to sell it to the world, but how would you go about it?

By: William Yeh & Sebastiano Costanzo

in/yehwilliam | twitter: @wwilliam89

in/sebastianocostanzo | twitter: @cisebi

 

As an Independent Software Vendor (ISV), you’ve built an amazing solution on the Salesforce1 Platform and are ready to sell it to the world, but how would you go about it?

Today, we are used to trying everything before we buy. We do it when we buy an ice cream, we do it on mobile app stores, and we do it with Software as a Service delivered in the cloud. Trialforce is the technology that allows Salesforce ISVs to quickly implement their customers’ trial experience.

This Trialforce blog series will walk you through different pieces of technologies and best practices that can assist you in creating the best trial experience for your end-users.

Topics we will cover in this blog series:

1. Introduction

2. Trial Lifecycle Management

3. Best Practices

4. Advanced topics

 

Part 1. What is Trialforce?

What does Trialforce do and is it for me?

Salesforce uses Trialforce to distribute free trials of our own products to our potential customers. Our ISV partners also get access to Trialforce, which enables you to provide a free trial of a Salesforce instance that comes with your solution pre-configured.

Let’s start with the very first milestone of providing a trial, creating “Trialforce Templates”.

A “Trialforce template” is like a virtual machine image that is used as a template for creating new instances of a Salesforce1 environment. Imagine you, the ISV, are giving prospects a taste of your solution, which is limited in size and duration, just like an ice cream shop gives customers a sample of their flavors before they buy. Through a trial, prospects get pretty much the same experience of the final product, and hopefully, if they like it, they will buy the full product without restrictions.

Bear with me, but here are a few pieces of providing trials via a template that you need to know before we discuss trials further.

 

Trialforce Source Organizations

A Source Organization, or TSO, is where you can create templates for a trial; continuing with the ice-cream analogy, it is the ice cream machine that you can program to deliver a particular recipe of ice cream or, in Trialforce speak, the template to prepare trials of your product. To allow the creation of templates, Source Orgs have a special feature enabled: they can be “cloned”; they are Trialforce-enabled, so to speak.

That’s a part of Salesforce’s secret sauce that we can share with our ISVs: the ability to create Salesforce instances on-demand according to a particular template. Source organizations can be configured and customized to define your customers’ trial experience and generate new templates/recipes.

Every time a new configuration is made in the TSO, you can create a template, and recreate the same trial experience over and over again. This is all done with a simple click of a button, much simpler than making ice cream recipes, if you ask me.

There is one last piece of equipment that you need to produce TSOs.

Enter the Trialforce Management Organization.

 

Trialforce Management Organization

A Trialforce Management Organization (TMO) is a Salesforce organization that allows you to create Source Orgs. In the ice cream machine analogy, we give you an ice cream machine factory to produce your own machines and configure them as needed to produce ice cream. Again, this is all done with the click of a button in the TMO!

Also, one helpful feature of the TMO is the ability to brand the trial experience with regards to emails and login pages and internet domain. All the emails sent from the trial will come from your company, not Salesforce, and the login page can be customized for your product.

These branding features are applied to all the templates generated from the TMO.

For more detail on the above concepts and further documentation, please refer to the ISVForce guide here: http://www.salesforce.com/us/developer/docs/packagingGuide/Content/trialforce_conceptual_overview.htm

Let’s walk through the process to set up trials, as illustrated below.

First, get the TMO, the factory of Source Orgs.

Then, using the TMO, create one or more Source Orgs to prepare your trial experience.

Finally, once the Source org has been configured, create templates and trials for your customers.

Easy but powerful!


 

Ok I have Trialforce setup, what’s next?

These are some questions we get all the time.

How do I setup the Source org?

The Trialforce Source org is just like an Enterprise Edition org. Once you login, you may start installing your managed package as well as loading sample data. One thing to consider is that most data and configuration in this Source org will be copied into the template. You will want to configure as much as possible so your trial user can focus on what makes your application great instead of dealing with configuration. Providing plenty of sample data helps provide a more realistic experience of what your solution offers.

Is my trial template a one-off? Or can I update the trial experience?

This is the best part of Trialforce: you can create new versions of your trial template and update the experience for your prospects.

So definitely, yes, you can! We will discuss the details in a future post, but all you need is the ID of the template generated by the Source Org and you can spin up your new trial experience.

What if I support different industries/verticals, in which case one template does not fit all? What if I want to provide multiple flavors of trials? What if I built more than one product or product configuration and need to provide a trial for each of them?

You can have one trial experience for each different scenarios by creating multiple Source Orgs and generate a separate trial experience and template with each, as shown above.

A customer has a trial; how do we give them a production environment? Do we need to throw away the trial environment and generate the actual production environment?

No, you don’t need to create a new environment, you can just make the trial a production environment {convert the trial into a production…}, an active org. We will walk through how to do this conversion in the next post where we discuss the lifecycle of a trial.

 

Conclusion

In this first blog about Trialforce, we have walked you through the concepts needed to understand the different moving parts of this great technology. Next, we will discuss how to manage the trials generated and make sure that you and your customers get the most out of them.

 

Published
May 8, 2015

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Supercharge your Salesforce experience with Trialforce – Part 1