How to Win at Product Adoption

By February 15, 2021Blog

The feature you dropped last week was stunning.

It solved a market problem you wanted to solve a year ago. And that user interface? Intuitive … modern … so much better than the previous UI.

BUT when you launched it, it landed with a thud instead of a swish. It doinked off the upright. It … well, you get it.

There’s a common misperception that if you build it they will come. They often won’t — even existing customers, who may be prone to using your product in a certain way. That’s where customer success, and some good marketing, will help.

Want to win the product adoption game? It starts with onboarding.

1. Improving the onboarding experience

The onboarding struggle is real: 70% of B2B SaaS companies want to develop a better onboarding system.

You have two basic approaches when it comes to onboarding: High-tech and high-touch.

  • High-tech workflows involve a lot of self-service tools that allow customers to mostly manage things on their own. That’s great for tech-savvy folks. Everyone else is probably going to struggle, though.
  • High-touch workflows, which as you might expect, create great relationships but require a lot of hand-holding.

You’ll probably find you need to combine them to help every user learn what your products can do for them. This hybrid approach is what we recommend for most SaaS companies.

2. Sending the right message at the right time

Existing customers often aren’t going to jump on a new feature or product launch just because it’s there. You need to show them why your new solution, or feature, is better than what they already have.

Take advantage of every channel in your customer success and marketing arsenal. Here are just a few:

  • Email — You can segment users and prospects who will benefit from the new feature. Make sure you follow up.
  • In-app — If you use a customer success platform, you can target messages, write tool tips or even build an interactive product tour.
  • Website – Consider a place on your site that talks about new features. Say, a blog?

The great thing about in-app messaging is that you can send a message when you know they’ll see it. You can’t say that about email, social media or even the phone.

3. Tracking product adoption rates

Customer success teams are so laser-focused on retention and churn rates that it’s easy to lose sight of other important key performance indicators (KPIs). Expand your reporting strategy to cover the product adoption metrics that will give you the right amount of insight:

  • Product adoption rate: Obvious, yes, but tracking product or feature adoption starts here.
  • User activity metrics: Look at KPIs like the total number of active users, first-time users and unique users.
  • Time to first key action: Long delays between signup and that first key action should set off alarm bells that something’s not right with the onboarding experience.

Dig deep into every aspect of product adoption to really understand what’s happening. Your customer success managers can zero in on user experience issues, user onboarding bottlenecks or other adoption hurdles if they have all of these insights right at their fingertips.

4. Analyzing user behavior

Understanding why customers behave the way they do shouldn’t be some big mystery. But a lot of companies — even big brands — struggle to really grasp what motivates people.

A 2018 Collinson survey, for example, found that 64% of businesses with more than $300 million of annual revenue can’t say why some customers are more loyal than others.

One way you can avoid falling in that group is to carve up user activity data. When you do that, you can compare behavior across different segments like early adopters, long-time customers and churned users.

  • Do active and retained customers tend to follow a different user journey?
  • Who runs into user onboarding or user experience roadblocks?

The important thing to keep in mind is that retained users can give you a roadmap to a better product adoption process. The key is replicating their user experience for other customers.

If your team makes product adoption a year-round priority, you’ll probably see retention rates increase with each new release. And that means more revenue across the entire customer lifetime.

If that’s not winning, we don’t know what is.

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