7-uncomfortable-questions

7 Uncomfortable Questions About User Adoption

If you’re like many folks in Customer Success, you spend most of your days working with key stakeholders at your customer accounts.  People like business sponsors, department leaders, admins and projects managers.

Suddenly, the week is over and you haven’t spent a minute with the actual users of your product.  

If you believe – as I do – that product adoption is the most important driver of customer retention and growth, then it’s important to confront this reality.

Is user adoption something you’re driving and controlling, or are you relying on it to just happen in your customer base?

Uncomfortable Questions

How big is this problem?  Start by asking yourself these potentially uncomfortable questions:

New customers

  • 30 days after a new customer was onboarded, have all their users fully adopted your product?  
  • For those who aren’t adopting, will each user receive proactive outreach to help them?

New users

  • A user leaves their role in your customer account, and a new user takes their place. Will the new user get contacted and trained by you every time?

New features

  • Your product team just released a killer new feature.  Do you know who is using it 30 days later?  
  • Will you reach out to those who aren’t?

New revenue

  • A customer reaches full adoption of your product.  Do you know when that happens?  
  • Who is going to contact them right away to discuss an up-sell or cross-sell?

Most customer success teams don’t have good answers to these questions.  In most cases, you have too many accounts, and too many key contacts to find the time for anything else.  There’s no time left to engage every user to the point they are all successful with your product.  

“Adoption Marketing” as a Solution

Think about user adoption as a problem of scale.  Meaning, there has to be an automated, repeatable process to drive adoption that doesn’t require live interaction with a Customer Success Manager every time.

At Bluenose, we coined the term “Adoption Marketing” to describe the methodology that ensures user adoption at scale.  

Adoption Marketing is the methodology that companies use to nurture and engage every end-user of their product(s), services, and/or brand.

Adoption Marketing is designed to increase customer retention and growth by enabling you to deliver personalized and programmatic messaging that drives users’ adoption behaviors.

Adoption Marketing uses a perpetual three-step lifecycle that maximizes user adoption:

  • Listen. Collect product usage data and survey responses that fully describe the sentiment and adoption behavior of every user
  • Learn. Use product usage and survey data to identify the structural barriers of adoption and segment users into meaningful categories
  • Engage. Use data to trigger and deliver the right messages to the right users at the right time

Organize Your Resources

Have the internal conversations that frame the situation.  Who owns it? What resources can you apply?

To do it well, you’ll need to:

  • Have the right staff: For example, this could mean adding a person with marketing programs experience to the Customer Success team.
  • Have the right data: User-level usage data has to be collected and used to drive the user engagement process
  • Have the right content: Every time you send a user an adoption call-to-action, consider the content assets they will need from you.  Training videos?  Knowledgebase articles?
  • Have the right tools: What is the system that will take each user’s adoption status and turn it into targeted campaigns and messages?  (Stay tuned! This functionality is coming soon from Bluenose)

User adoption drives customer retention and growth.  However, it’s not something Customer Success teams can do manually or at scale.  It’s time to ask the uncomfortable questions and invest in a solution.

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Don MacLennan

Don is passionate about analytics and insights that lead to great products. He has held leadership roles in several subscription-based businesses, where he came to understand the importance of customer engagement and loyalty. He started Bluenose with the desire to help other vendors build great products and delight their customers.

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