Nobody will argue that people like "FREE STUFF!"
However, when is free not actually free? Coming from the MSP space we understand that you want and need to test, trial, kick the tires, take the car for a test drive, and ultimately determine if the marketing is actually true. Every company regardless of what they are offering have different ways for you to accomplish this goal. Some provide proof of concepts, some provide "Not for Resale" or NFR accounts, some provide discounted internal use systems, and so on....
Is the NFR Forever?
When you get pitched the NFR (Not-for-Resale) account, system, software the question you should ask is "How long does this NFR stay free?" If you get an NFR offer and then you never transact, resell, or generally build orders/sales for that company then it's very likely your NFR will eventually go away. In this case, the NFR ultimately becomes a timed trial account in the end.
Do i have to meet certain criteria to maintain my nfr offer?
If the NFR is a timed trial, then what does it take to keep my trial going? Let's say you start researching a new vendor or technology, and you genuinely want to start testing this new tech. You want to use this tech internally first to see how it works, get used to it, and make sure it works well before offering this to your end customers. Alas, you get busy, other things take priority, and they testing gets shelved for a while. All of a sudden, your system stops working and turmoil takes place. Not a great story, right? You need to ask the question what you need to do to keep the "internal use" account running. Likely, you need to generate a certain amount of business to keep it going. It's better to ask up front then to be surprised when your company goes down unexpectedly.
Timed Trial, Proof of Concept, Kick the Tires
Most companies will offer you a legitimate full featured trial to really get a good idea of what is going on. Some give you the keys and expect you to figure it out on your own, others want to give you a guided experience through the tech. Either way, trials DO NOT last forever. If you are not ready to get your hands dirty or legitimately ran into a timing issue, say something. Don't just disappear! I know that sounds like common sense, but so many people disappear on trial accounts that they intend to use internally and then the lights eventually go out. Communication is important during this stage.
If the NFR is not forever, what can you do for me internally?
So you went through the trial of the tech and you like it! Great. "Now what can you do for me?" is the next question that pops up. The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors. Most tech companies want you to "have some skin in the game," before they do something for you. This is typical. If you have some business to put on the table in exchange for a break or discount, then you need to actually follow through if you expect your "discount or internal offer" to come through. There are so many examples of the "I have a lot of business I can bring to you" statement and then nothing ever follows. If you do make that statement, it may be contingent for your "special offer" not to fall through.
Please ask the questions up front and read the fine print when you raise your hand and take the "free" offer because "there is no such thing as a free lunch" and at some point your free account won't be free. Not every sales person or business development rep is up front about these things for whatever reason. Do yourself a favor and unless you are "IRON CLAD" on your NFR, Demo Account, Internal Use Account then DO NOT run your production systems on these types of accounts or else a bad situation can come out of it and let's face it nobody wants to deal with fires if they can help it!