It’s one of the most important questions in business.
“How do I get more end users to adopt our product?”
ESPECIALLY if you’re in B2B SaaS or another product where revenue ties to number of users.
It’s even more mission-critical when:
the user is not the buyer (you sell to a sales manager but sales reps use the product, e.g. CRM)
you’re B2B2C (you sell to a business who gets value when their customers use the product, e.g. healthcare platform)
Here are 3 steps to significantly increase product usage no matter how complex the adoption cycle.
3 Steps To Improve User Adoption
1. Find a Champion.
Identify at least 1 person who is using the product decently well.
This can be an end user, a power user, a whole company — wherever you are seeking to improve the adoption rates.
If you have 0 people using the product well…it may not be an adoption issue. 🙃 Look for a bigger problem to solve or better way to solve it!
2. Talk to your Champion.
Captain Obvious here. Ask this Champion a bunch of questions.
Let the Champion coach and educate you on how to improve adoption with other users.
Ideally in person or Zoom. You’ll miss non-verbal feedback and screen sharing via email or phone.
Example Discovery Questions
Why do you use the tool?
How are you using the tool?
What are the benefits for you?
Why do you use it but others don’t?
What would help others use it or adopt it?
How or why do other folks in your office start using new technology?
What technologies have they adopted well? Why? What was that process like?
What objections have you heard from others?
What To Listen For
How to explain the product so that users want to try it (aka Language Market Fit)
How to use the product in a way that’s helpful
How to train people effectively — bring doughnuts? video tutorials?
Strategies, tips, unique insights, or unexpected use cases
You likely have thoughts on how users should use your product. Know your own biases or hypotheses. Keep an open mind and follow The Mom Test.
3. Use the Champion’s advice to make more Champions.
The fun part!
Leveraging your Champion’s advice, recreate their success with other users.
Make a list of ideas to try per your Champion’s feedback.
Consider cost, bandwidth, and likelihood of success as you prioritize.
Test, test, test!
Whatever works becomes part of the playbook.
Continue learning and tweaking.
Rinse and repeat forever!
Your Champions will be a valuable source of feedback for the life of your company.
By engaging a Champion, they’ll naturally become an advocate and advisor. Don’t be surprised if they proactively offer to facilitate adoption strategies within their company!
Have you leveraged a Champion’s insights before? How did it go?
What user adoption strategies have you seen work well at early stages or with complex products???
First, it’s hard to argue with anyone who advocates bringing doughnuts :-). That should be under ProTips! Once you find those early adopter “Champions” you can leverage them more as your product and solution set expands. They’ll more than likely enjoy being “insiders” and helping you flush out additional offerings.
This is so foundational and so often neglected or misunderstood! Thanks for this post and for bringing up this topic!
I really like your advice on using your Champion to find more Champions!
Here's one thing that I have observed as usually mismanaged in the aspect of creating/finding true Champions:
Often time the Postsales Team (AMs, CSMs, Implementation Engineers, etc.) forget to sell this from scratch.
The 'conveyor belt' system doesn't work (credit to Eric Winslow my friend for that term). Everyone has to be selling and delivering value, obsessively.
Here's one of the many reasons (and you refer to this in your post clearly): a deal was just closed, but more often than not it comes from a decision maker that sees the bottom line, NOT from the day-to-day users that now find their routines disrupted. What usually happens is that those day-to-day users are not sold, do not agree, and see this as a nuisance. We find ourselves 'begging' for a bit of time of their days to train them. When in fact what we need to do is sell them from scratch, making them understand WHY AND HOW this is a WIN for them, for them PERSONALLY - how incorporating this (new solution, etc.) into their daily practices will be good FOR THEM in their careers and in the eyes of their bosses.
Sell to the person in front of you to better THEIR LIVES. True Service. Then, since what they want is to impress their bosses and grow their careers, you will automatically (if you selected that group of people well) be achieving your goal of meeting the buyer's goals.
No matter who you are, you are selling value, but catering to the person you are working with.
Do not take for granted the fact that since Company A has bought your product, the person you are working with gets why it will help THEM or even agrees with the decision.