User Adoption: Real Talk from the Experts with Nils Vinje

Nils Vinje, founder of Glide Consulting, shares his thoughts on UserIQ’s 2018 SaaS User Adoption & Onboarding Benchmarking Report.

Welcome to the User Adoption: Real Talk from the Experts series!

In this video series, we take a deep dive into UserIQ’s 2018 User Adoption and Onboarding Benchmarking Report, based on a survey taken earlier this year by over 450 SaaS leaders. We wanted to know — how are companies addressing user adoption challenges today? How are they measuring success, executing initiatives and maintaining momentum? To help us dig into these key findings, we’re featuring the customer success experts themselves.

Nils Vinje, founder of Glide Consulting, was voted the #1 speaker for his session at Gainsight’s Pulse 2017. Pulling from his experience as a CSM, Manager, Director, VP and Consultant in customer success roles, Nils is recognized as a top 25 influencer in Customer Success by MindTouch and is a sought-after thought leader with expertise in the operations, data, and feedback gathering of customer success.

Find Nils Vinje:

LinkedIn: LinkedIn
Twitter: @NilsVinje
Website: Glide Consulting

Want to read up on the Top Trends in SaaS User Adoption & Onboarding for 2018?

Download the 2018 SaaS User Adoption & Onboarding Benchmarking Report to see how more than 450 SaaS leaders handle these initiatives today and how your company stacks up. 


Video Transcription

Hello everyone, Nils Vinje here, founder and CEO of Glide Consulting. Glide is a customer success consulting firm, and I work with fast growing SaaS organizations to help them build a world class customer success.

One of the areas that I spend a lot of time with my clients on is onboarding and user adoption. And that’s why I’m so excited to be here with you today, to talk about UserIQ’s 2018 User Adoption and Onboarding Benchmarking Report. Now, this report was complied as result of surveying more than 450 SaaS leaders, to understand how these companies are tackling onboarding and user adoption challenges.

So, one of the findings that came out of the report was that 75% of respondents ranked adoption as extremely or very important. 74% are spending up to half of their week focused on user adoption initiatives. However, 40% say they have no formal strategy in place. So, we know this is critically important, 3/4 of them, 75%, said yes. Nearly the same percentage, 74% said they’re spending a lot of time on this, up to half of their week. But 40% have no formal strategy in place.

This is kind of an interesting finding. And so I’m going to talk with you about three key things around this finding. Number one, what I think some of the inhibitors are to putting a proper strategy and plan in place. Number two, what I think it’ll really take to bridge the gap between awareness and action. And number three, what advice that I can provide to you and other companies looking to take the first step to developing a formal adoption strategy.

Okay, so let’s dig into the first one, inhibitors. I think the number one inhibitor here is time. I know this is kind of a general scapegoat, everybody says there’s not enough time to do all the things I need to do, especially in the customer success field. But what I mean here is taking the time out to plan. Taking the time out to plan is one of the most important activities because if you don’t take out the time to plan, you will forever be in a reactive state. I think that’s what we see here in this survey data. 3/4 of the survey respondents said it’s extremely important, I spend time on it. And half, nearly half, 40%, said I don’t have a formal plan in place. Which means they’re focus on the user adoption and onboarding challenges they’re going through is largely ad hoc.

So, the biggest inhibitor I think is taking time out to plan. What I think it’ll take to bridge the gap between awareness and action is creating a system. And a system is something that is repeatable over and over. This requires having a longterm view, and one of the big picture. Where do we want our customers to be from an adoption onboarding process at end of onboarding? And from an adoption perspective, at the end of the first year with our service, where do we want them to be?

If you don’t know that is … the age old saying of if you don’t know where you’re going, any road’s going to get you there, applies. Right? And you will forever deal with ad hoc situations that come up where you’re trying to, “Drive adoption,” but it’s really ad hoc one off way, instead of a systematic way, where you know that if you execute against these things over time, you will ultimately achieve your end goal.

So the advice that I would give to companies that are looking to take a first step in developing adoption strategy is first, to be begin with the end in mind. Define what it is from an adoption perspective that your customers have to achieve at the end of year one with your service. And at the end of year two. And at the end of year three.

One of the most common mistakes I see amongst all SaaS companies is the desire to overload new clients with tons of information, just because the product is capable of it. So, an onboarding, instead of nailing one use case and just the thing they came to you for, some companies are giving them too much. So, if you think about adoption as a long term strategy, that completely changes when you introduce certain pieces of your application to your clients. And when you focus on that … so, if you begin with the end in mind and know where you want to go, then you can systematically backup into quarters, or months, and focus on different areas to help drive that adoption.

And I’d be pretty well served to guess that there’s likely a consistent theme in your more successful customers. When in doubt, look at your most successful customers, look at how they adopted, look at where they got to in a year. And that’s the model that you’ve got to build.

So, ultimately, breaking things up over time to build the pieces of a longterm strategy is critical important, and that’s the advice I would give to companies to develop a formal adoption strategy.

So, thanks so much for listening to me, I enjoyed this piece with UserIQ. You can find me, connect with me at LinkedIn at Nils Vinje, V as in Victor, I-N-J-E. And first name is Nils, N-I-L-S. Or on twitter, at @NilsVinje. And I’ve got a whole host of articles, and blogs, and interviews on I look forward to connection with you. Thanks so much, bye bye.