Customers must be guided through the process of learning about your new SaaS product and adopting it in their business. At first glance, customer acquisition may seem fairly simple, but it is dependent on several factors that customers must go through in order for them to successfully adopt your product.
Without successful product adoption, your SaaS product will struggle – both to acquire new customers and effectively retain them. At the same time, you might be able to generate a favorable amount of interest in your SaaS but fail to move customers further through the product adoption process.
Product adoption is critical for SaaS companies that want to grow and acquire active users of their product. If a customer drops out at any stage of your product adoption process, then your efforts will fail to onboard that new customer.
What is Product Adoption?
Product adoption is the five stages that customers must go through when first hearing about an innovation through to final adoption where they become a frequent user of your SaaS product. During the product adoption process, customers must thoroughly understand the value your product brings and learn to use it as intended. It must be proven to your customers at every stage to keep them moving forward.
SaaS product adoption spans marketing, sales, customer support and customer success – all customer-facing teams must coordinate effectively in order for customers to pass through each stage. Product adoption requires that you stand out from the competition against which your customers are no doubt evaluating your product.
The Five Stages of the Product Adoption Process
The awareness stage is when the customer first hears about your product, and they know literally nothing about it. All customers must go through this stage first so they can hear about a new product that exists and understand how it might benefit them.
It’s the role of marketing to highlight the potential problems a user might be experiencing and teach them how your product can solve them. Making sure your new product is present on as many channels as possible is key to generating awareness, as well as promoting word-of-mouth marketing to spread excitement about your product.
To generate good awareness, your product must have a successful product-market fit, and appeal to as many customers as possible.
2. Research and discovery
During the research and discovery stage, customers are already aware of your SaaS product and are seeking more information. It’s your business’s job to provide detailed materials that can teach customers all about your product and show how it can benefit them.
A customer’s understanding of your product now goes much deeper than in the awareness stage. Your sales team can also be on hand to answer any questions customers might have about your SaaS product. Customers are beginning to show initial interest in adopting your new product.
3. Evaluation and decision-making
In the evaluation stage, customers are seriously considering which products meet their needs, whether they are in budget, and comparing different solutions to one another. Top considerations are pricing and features, so you should have already made your competitor comparisons to ensure that your SaaS stands out from the crowd.
Urging customers to leave reviews for your SaaS product helps with this stage of the product adoption process because prospective customers can benefit from the opinions of other users. Customers need to understand the proper use cases for your product to help them decide if it’s worth pursuing.
SaaS product marketers are at a significant advantage during the product adoption process because they are able to quite easily offer free trials to prospective customers. This “try before you buy” strategy can help convert users who might be on the fence and demonstrate real value to them before they have parted with their subscription fee.
The free trial of your SaaS product is an unmissable stage of product adoption to help users decide that your software is right for them. Customers can see whether they will get value for money if they choose to adopt your software. They can actually learn how to use your software to see if it functions as promised.
5. Adoption or rejection
The adoption or rejection stage is when customers make the final decision about whether they adopt your product or not. If a customer is going to adopt, they understand how your product provides value, they know how to use it, they appreciate how it can help them and they consider it good value for money.
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This stage is ongoing as customers can churn at any time, so you should consider the product adoption process as never-ending. Regularly gathering feedback from your customers about how they use your product is the key to successful product adoption, because you can intervene with customer success before churn takes root.
The more users that travel through your product adoption process, the more you can persuade to become paying customers of your SaaS. You need to pay attention to every stage if you want customers to recognize the value of your product and choose it over your competitors. It can be difficult to influence a customer’s established buying habits but it can be done if you show them the benefits of the new solution.
In order to adopt a new product, you must show customers how the new way is superior to their old method. It must be less effort to switch to the new solution, as the pain points outweigh the urge to remain stuck in their ways. Social proof is one of the most powerful ways to persuade customers to try a new product, especially if it comes from influencers or people that they know.
Successful SaaS product adoption comes from coordinating your customer-facing departments to engage them in reaching out to customers. Each point of the customer lifecycle must be positive and move them on towards the next stage.
How can you measure the product adoption process?
Trial conversions: the number of customers who adopt your product when their free trial has ended
Customer retention: the number of customers continuing to pay your subscription fee during a set period of time
How can you improve the product adoption process?
Increase the relative advantage of your SaaS product, which is the degree to which your innovation is superior to existing products. Find product-market fit to ensure that there is actually a need for your product. Remove obstacles in the product adoption process, such as the need for payment details before signing up for a trial.