Driving software adoption through customer success in the 2020s is a precision business. In the same way that access to large quantities of accurate data enabled drug companies to produce a vaccine record time, making people resistant to the effects of COVID, data has enabled customer success teams to delight customers and pandemic proof their organizations.
Your product adoption strategy—the process you follow to ensure your customer is achieving maximum value from their daily use of your product—should be based on solid data and driven by the pursuit of ever-evolving goals.
We recommend six best practices for using customer information to improve engagement with your software product and increase the likelihood of customer renewal:
- Establish Goals and Milestones
- Offer Relevant Communications
- Proactively Provide Value
- Build a Customer Community
- Create a Cross-Functional Customer Journey Team
- Choose the Right Customer Success Software that provides a 360-degree view of your customer
By fueling all of the above strategies with accurate and timely customer information, you can turn customer engagement, renewal and growth into practical, repeatable and achievable goals.
Driving Software Adoption through Customer Success Begins with Understanding
The first step in building strong SaaS customer engagement is understanding the current customer experience. Your efforts to follow customer behavior should begin as early as the evaluation and purchasing stage, as customers evaluate your software product and company even before the onboarding process. This phase continues until your customer has integrated your software product into their daily workflows and can independently use it to achieve their business goals. Once onboarding is complete, the next phase is called adoption and refers to the customer’s day-to-day experience of your product.
When Does Onboarding End and Adoption Begin?
When your customer begins using your software product on their own, you want to make sure they are using it correctly and making progress in achieving goals and milestones. You can follow their progress by tracking customer success metrics that accurately measure product usage. Data on the frequency and duration of logins, feature access, license utilization, support tickets, NPS results, and other metrics strongly associated with the experience of value will reveal how the customer is currently experiencing your product. This timely customer data is what gives your product adoption strategy its precision.
Data-Driven, Goal-Based Engagements
Once you understand how the customer is using your SaaS product, you can begin to influence their behavior and ensure they continue to see the increasing value. The customer will spend the majority of their time in the adoption or growth phase of their journey, becoming more and more dependent on your software to achieve success.
Adoption is also the phase when your customer success efforts have their greatest impact, as you are actively working to improve the efficiency with which your customer uses your software to achieve value.
Your SaaS product adoption strategy will provide a guide for acting in response to your customer data to drive customer-centered growth. When your data indicates the opportunity for expansion or a downturn in customer engagement, you can use the following strategies to improve customer engagement:
1. Establish Goals and Milestones
Collaborating with the customer to create and track mutually agreed-upon goals, using Totango’s SuccessPlans, produces enthusiasm for the future of your partnership and a sense of momentum.
Establishing goals also provides a road map for getting from today’s hard work to tomorrow’s realization of value. By sharing how to complete these product objectives with customers and detailing the path to those objectives, you can demonstrate a clear link between the software usage guidance you provide and the real-world growth your customer is seeking.
2. Offer Relevant Communications
For product adoption to occur, your customer must learn to master your software’s features and applications, particularly those which are most relevant to their business needs. Ongoing, personalized engagements, whether webinars, face-to-face interactions or digital communications and messaging, are a crucial component of successful onboarding and adoption. Every communication should be relevant to the customer’s needs and situation to be of value.
Always base your communications and campaigns on customer data, and launch them in connection with tangible events and goals. Your messaging should offer a solution, an improvement, or the chance for support that relates to the customer’s current stage in the customer journey. Weekly or monthly emails can provide users with a summary of the way they are using a particular feature, or a suggestion to try a feature they have not made use of but which would offer value.
3. Proactively Provide Value
When your engagements are driven by customer data on usage of your software product, you can anticipate and facilitate future customer needs to improve product adoption. If your data tells you the customer is approaching a product threshold or previously agreed-upon milestone, it should trigger a custom campaign or action by a CSM which will prepare them for and maximize success on the other side. This campaign could include information on a new software feature or time to discuss increasing licenses to accommodate anticipated growth.
Having access to accurate customer information means you do not have to wait for your customer to come to you in search of answers: you should be able to provide solutions before they even know they face a new challenge.
4. Build a Customer Community
You can provide another resource for solutions and creative uses of your product by encouraging a community of users who can share their software experiences, strategies, and ambitions. Digital meeting spaces provide a platform for discussion about the wider issues and impacts of your customers’ industries and encourage critical assessment of your product, which can help you identify bugs and improve your software. Community spaces enhance the customer experience of value by helping customers feel a deeper connection between your product and the wider world while inspiring new ideas and solutions for your platform. Community also builds loyalty and advocacy which drives product growth.
5. Create a Cross-Functional Customer Journey Team
In addition to CS, other stakeholders are also responsible for driving software adoption. Product, support, and marketing departments all play a role in the customer journey and are a part of helping to enhance the customer experience. It is important that each team is kept in the loop so that there is no loss of context in the customer handoff. A customer operating system can establish a more functional customer handoff and improve communication flow between teams since customer information is all in one place.
6. Choose the Right Customer Success Software
You cannot create a data-driven, goal-based customer success effort without collecting, interpreting, sharing, and applying the right customer information. Your customer success software is the bedrock of your product adoption strategy, as it is the source of your information and the launchpad for your campaigns.
The right customer success software will not only alert you to the customer’s ever-changing behavior and experiences, it also will suggest concrete actions to take and allow you to automate your product engagement efforts, helping you to deliver personalized value at scale. A CS solution should come with built-in best practices and pre-built modules to help you reach your goals in areas like customer health scores, adoption, renewals, and expansions.
Deploy a Competitive Strategy for Driving Software Adoption through Customer Success
Driving software adoption through customer success can give you an advantage over competitors. The digital transformation of business has empowered customers to favor subscription solutions that offer immediate ROI. Your adoption strategy must guide your customer as they put your product to use and ensure they are using it in a way that offers the most value.
Customer success is a precision business where only the flexible, informed, and proactive succeed. With the right solution, you can deliver the right results at the right time.
Totango’s Spark customer software success platform is specifically designed to promote software adoption in order to achieve desired customer outcomes and increase adoption and renewal rates. The Increase Customer Adoption SuccessBLOC accelerates adoption by providing automated workflows which encourage customer usage of your product, along with KPIs and dashboards to help you monitor product usage and automatically reach out to customers whose adoption rates are off track. Try it for free to experience for yourself how customer success automation can help you increase software adoption.