4 Tips for Increasing Software Adoption
The numbers are staggering. We have reported them before, yet the number of SaaS companies is booming, and competition is growing for mindshare and share of wallet. There are now over 8,000 SaaS vendors providing marketing solutions alone.
The result? The go-to-market tech stack space is crowded, and customers are becoming more and more selective. Today, companies are less and less inclined to add new SaaS solutions and if they do, they have more stringent ROI expectations, and they want to be sure that their vendors of choice provide support and a streamlined experience.
Right now, I believe that there is much more than support and experience that vendors need to provide.
They must focus with intention and attention on software adoption.
The reality is that all new vendors will face competition for end-user time and resources. With an average of over 250 SaaS applications deployed in a typical organization, users have to jump from one SaaS solution to the other, hoping to keep up. The end result is an average user adoption of under 50% across the board. That is not good news. A vendor might have the best solution in the world, but if it is not adopted, the value and the ROI are not going to be delivered and they are on the chopping block.
In this context of increased SaaS competition, I propose four principles to increase software adoption from a vendor’s perspective:
1. It starts at the top
It always starts at the top. Any innovation, whether technological or not, will not do well if it does not fit in the strategic context or if the C-suite is not supported through change leadership and championing. A new software vendor should work closely with a high-level organizational champion to align the project to the strategic initiatives of the company and clearly communicate the ‘why’ to all users.
“How do you expect all of your employees to get on board if your executives and higher-level employees are not willing to make the change? It’s impossible. In order to have a successful adoption of any type of new technology the change, and the willingness to change, really does need to come from the top. You and the executives and managers at the company need to make sure you are leading by example.” 10 Best Practices for Driving Enterprise Software Adoption – Multimedia Plus | Mobile Associate Communications
2. Users are already busy
As we’ve discussed before, change management is all about the users. Software vendors should pay close attention to the simplicity of their solution, the user experience, the integration with other platforms, and the personalization of their onboarding. There is no doubt that dissatisfied users will give up quickly and could potentially become detractors in the overall adoption process.
3. Start simple
Enterprise software can be complicated. Often, the software is not off-the-shelf and requires customization and long deployments. Often, SaaS vendors do a poor job at customer segmentation and product packaging. The result is a one-size-fits-all go-to-market approach that can overwhelm prospects who do not have the resources to adopt and assimilate the solution. They often claim they need to be end-to-end and must offer all the features to everyone. That is a mistake. A land and expand strategy is often a better approach.
4. Build a framework to encourage adoption
How many vendors do you know that offer formal adoption programs focused on user adoption within a pre-established period? Fast adoption benefits both the vendor and the customer. It is all about time-to-value. The sooner you reach the right adoption level, the sooner you realize economic value for the solution. Everybody wins!
So why not design and offer adoption programs, adoption incentives, gamification, or adoption guarantees?
DecisionLink has led the way in this area by being the first customer value management platform to offer an adoption guarantee. The customer success team lives and breathes user adoption.
If you are in the software space, you most likely face lots of competitors. Embracing software adoption internally and externally can-do miracles in times of increased competition and scarce resources. It is time to think differently and embrace concepts of disruption.
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Dr. Stephan Liozu (www.stephanliozu.com) is the Founder of Value Innoruption Advisors (www.valueinnoruption.com), a consulting boutique specializing in industrial pricing, digital business, value models, and value-based pricing. Stephan has 30 years of experience in the industrial and manufacturing sectors with companies like Owens Corning, Saint-Gobain, Freudenberg, and Thales. He holds a Ph.D. In Management from Case Western Reserve University, and has written several books, including Dollarizing Differentiation Value (2016) and Value Mindset (2017).