The dream team - Who owns product adoption?

Each stage in the product adoption journey must align with the functional responsibilities of various departments and teams. Together, they can create a meaningful product adoption journey increasing user engagement and shortening the TTV

Smita Ashok
  • 6 months ago
  • 6 min read

A strong product adoption strategy and implementation is a result of multiple simultaneous efforts.

It is one of those hair-on-fire moments where everyone across your Product, Customer Success, Support, Sales, and Marketing teams has their fingers crossed - The launch day.

Whether it’s your brand new product or a key feature, all teams and key stakeholders are busy nailing your positioning and messaging, listing out launch activities, creating content, and so much more. Bringing your product to the market is intimidating and can be tricky.
Your product is now out and is racking up some impressive wins.


But….

Your product’s user adoption starts to paint a bleak picture in no time.

With so many different modules and features, understanding the full potential of your product or a new feature can be overwhelming to the user.

As discussed in our previous blog, product adoption is essentially a customer’s journey in learning about a new product/service, expressing interest in it, trying it out, evaluating it and purchasing it, and finally adopting the product/service to use it to solve a problem it intends to.

Now, this journey might be a “buyer’s journey” to the marketing team, “product lifecycle” to a product team, or “customer/user adoption” to a customer success team.

So what’s the actual process like and who are the stakeholders responsible for crafting this journey?

4 stages of the product adoption journey

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Evaluation and Testing
  • Adoption

However, when setting out to build a product adoption process, every department (both product and customer-facing), needs to examine and align their behaviors to build a successful process. Because we don’t want to put the cart before the horse.

For example, the type of goals, objectives, and metrics someone in an awareness stage has is completely different from what they’ll have in the adoption stage. In some companies, that journey begins with Marketing. And the marketing teams and customer success teams in most companies work in silos that jeopardize the customer’s experience that’s promised to them from the one actually delivered.


So each stage in the product adoption journey must align with the functional responsibilities of various departments and teams. Together, they can create a meaningful product adoption journey increasing user engagement and shortening the TTV.

What’s the adoption process like?

  1. Product Awareness

Anytime I had a cut or a wound I’d simply grab a Band-Aid to cover it up. I’d carry warm water in Thermos. When I need to search, I Google it!

Did you notice something? The words above are “brands” not nouns or verbs. That’s brand awareness!

It’s the very first stage of your product adoption journey. And more so with the lengthy B2B sales cycles, where awareness isn’t a one-time effort. It’s important to stay top of mind throughout the buyer’s journey - from initial research to the final purchasing discussions. From launch to every feature release, the customer must be aware.

2. Product Interest

Once a customer considers buying your product, they level up to the second stage: Interest. One of the best and easiest experiments to consider here is just ask! This is especially applicable to the B2B space. There's little to no harm in calling a few existing customers to get some feedback on your product, feature in terms of how it appeals to them, any suggested improvements they would love, who among the trial users would like to pay up for a subscription. This can go a long way in gauging interest and developing the newer version of improvements.

As your experiments give you a better idea of how widely your new product or feature might be adopted, a basic landing page, an in-app banner, and a short video can provide ways to help your prospects and existing customers reach out to you.

3. Evaluation and Testing

The next stage is when a customer knows what they want, and evaluates your new product or feature. With continuous development, SaaS companies need to keep their customers up-to-date closer to their purchase dates; using demos, walkthrough videos, tutorials, etc. It’s important to help customers make a long-term decision upfront so both the customer and you can benefit from better ROI.

4. Product Adoption:

Finally, the customer is all set to make a purchase. The customer chooses your product to fulfill his goals adopting it as the right solution. However, the customer might need high-touch customer support from their CSM or account manager to use your product to its full potential starting from an intuitive onboarding process. Once this is done, the customer is fully onboarded and integrates your product into his existing tech stack.  

You’ve now completed a product adoption cycle!

Who’s responsible?

Your entire team.

While this might sound right theoretically, it’s important that all your departments work together continuously to measure all related metrics and make sure that your customers are getting the right ROI they want from your product.

Product, Product Marketing, Sales and Marketing, Customer Success and Support teams must all work towards the same goals: raise awareness, drive product adoption, and secure business opportunities to grow your company. A strong product adoption strategy and implementation is a result of multiple simultaneous efforts. Just running ads won’t get you any far!

Crafting a meaningful product adoption journey is a team game

  1. Product/ Product Management team


The product management team holds responsibility for ideating and delivering a product and its features. The critical decision-making role owned by this team often determines the how, when, why, and what of your product and/or its features. They must and in most cases do take into consideration the market influence, in terms of their customer's needs and competitive landscape. They strategize and manage the feasibility and technical requirements of a product and its launch. The product management team is responsible for creating software that reduces the time-to-value for its customers through intuitive UI, the flexibility of the product, reliable and consistent performance

2. PMMs and the Marketing team

The marketing team is dynamic and impactful, responsible for driving awareness and promoting business and product(s). They own the GTM strategy, and design & author campaigns.
Leverage research and competitor insights to develop product narrative, market, and customer segmentation and strategize growth. Strategize and create content, educate customers, promote thought leadership. These activities generate leads through demand generation campaigns and account-based marketing, enabling sales teams to further acquire new customers.

3. Sales team

For B2B businesses relationship building is critical, in order to be successful. Most companies rely on their sales teams to drive customer acquisition. With the right insights from the marketing team, the sales team focuses their actions on identifying the different decision-makers, their problems, and opportunities.

With high-quality, relevant content for narratives, demos, and conversations from the marketing team, the sales team can take a shot at converting a new business opportunity into a deal, building and converting it into a long-term relationship through cross-selling and upselling by communicating value.

4. Customer Success team

The customer success team ensures your users get the maximum value out of your product. Their structured approach fuels revenue generation by increasing customer loyalty, better product reviews.

The customer-facing nature of the CS team gives them a great opportunity to understand customer pain points, their thought process, usage patterns, feature requirements, and their reason for churning out. All this information and data can help your product team make educated changes to your product, helping your product to mature meaningfully.

4 tips to help teams increase product adoption



1. Create strategic onboarding processes

It’s extremely important to educate customers on how to use your product and that makes onboarding one of the biggest priorities for SaaS products. Onboarding should ideally focus on features they need to learn, based on the goals they aim to complete with quick wins that can get customers up to speed as fast as possible. Incorporating walkthrough videos, demos and in-app widgets are some intuitive ways to get started with a compelling onboarding.

2. Leverage the power of email marketing

Email marketing has a whopping ROI of $42 for every dollar spent. Segmenting your users into well-defined mailing lists can help give your customers the little nudge needed to fully adopt your product.
For example, sending a how-to video guide to a user who just completed a purchase might be the right way to leverage your emails.
For a subscription-based service, sending out new offers, renewal reminders might be the tipping point to get them to renew and continue with your product.

3. Online Video training

One of the best mediums for creating and providing content and training to users and customers is video. Videos can be a major contributor to your efforts to build a product adoption strategy. Instructional videos, walkthroughs, demo videos, how-to’s, video knowledge base, video academy can be a great aid to offer self-serve to customers.

4. Creating an academy

A robust adoption strategy must incorporate ways to nurture users to strive for expertise while also building a community of expert users. Academy and certifications can provide learning resources and a way to increase the levels of competence and adoption among users by providing rewards, badges.

Conclusion

For most product companies, the emphasis on the product is on technology implementation. Though that is primary, what’s needed to grow and sustain your product and business is a plan to purposefully build adoption to increase the ROI for those using that technology.

In our next, we’ll talk about leveraging video as a part of a successful product adoption strategy.