Acquiring new customers for your SaaS product might seem hard, but what about convincing those potential users to engage with your software? SaaS product adoption plays a critical role in the success of your product and determines whether your company grows. Customers who fail to adopt your product will simply churn and never look back.
Customer success is directly responsible for driving user engagement with your product and ensuring that it becomes an indispensable part of their process. Nevertheless, product adoption should be a company-wide initiative, from sales and marketing to product and engineering. All of your teams should be working in sync to increase the likelihood of product adoption and retaining more customers.
Nothing can replace an exceptional product and world-class customer support, but customers need something more to convince them that your product is right for them. Just because customers sign up for your trial doesn’t guarantee product adoption, so you’ll need to take steps to convince them they made the right decision.
What is Product Adoption in SaaS?
Product adoption is the process of new customers finding out about your product and beginning to use it actively.
It can be divided into five stages:
- Awareness – a potential customer first hears about the existence of your product.
- Interest – potential customers look for more information to help them understand your product.
- Evaluation – the potential customer evaluates the product to see whether it would fit their needs and decides whether or not to try it.
- Trial – the potential customer tries out the product to see if it can solve their pain points.
- Adoption – the customer is happy with the product and decides to purchase a subscription.
The key transition is customers moving from the trial stage to adopting your product. While customer acquisition is undoubtedly vital in product adoption, engaging them and bringing them to their “Aha!” moment is just as critical for success.
Product adoption happens when customers realize the value that was promised from your SaaS product. They understand how to use its main features, which makes a difference in their overall experience. Customers are satisfied with the user experience and customer support of the product.
How to Increase Product Adoption in SaaS
1. Offer a freemium plan or free trial
Very few customers will be persuaded to part with their money for your software without being able to experience a free trial first. It’s become fairly standard in the SaaS industry to offer a free trial, with some businesses even operating a freemium model with a limited number of seats or features, for example.
The model here is “try before you buy” You will greatly enhance the likelihood of product adoption if you allow new customers to sample your software and find out how great it is. If users have to make a financial commitment before being able to try their software, they might consider this to be too much effort.
The goal you should be striving for is to lower the barrier to entry for potential customers. Let your software speak for itself and allow them to engage with your features to determine whether it will be a good fit.
2. Improve the user experience of your product
As we’ve mentioned, the value of an outstanding product can never be underestimated. Your SaaS product undoubtedly has dozens of competitors, and one of the only ways you can distinguish yourself is by improving the user experience of your product. Customers will be impressed when your product is easy to use and more likely to adopt it.
Improving user experience can be as simple as surfacing hidden features that customers might find useful. Or, you could make it simpler to add integrations into your system. Improvements should focus on creating customer delight and encouraging them to use your software more.
3. Demonstrate value to your user
Product adoption happens when users are activated with your software and reach the “Aha!” moment. They can only reach this stage if you quickly and thoroughly provide value with the product. Customers need to see how your specific product makes a difference and appreciate why they should pay the license fee.
If you don’t demonstrate value, customers will fail to adopt your product and churn fast. You must quickly get customers to use your key features and software for the intended purpose. Value is anything that solves a pain point for your user and them being able to use your product according to the specified use case. Product adoption will fail if your product takes too long to set up or is too complex to learn.
4. Improve the onboarding process
So much of product adoption is reliant on your onboarding process. Onboarding is your customer’s first impression of your product and involves you teaching them how to use your product properly. This also might be the stage when sales hands over the customer to customer success, who will be the team responsible for engaging the customer with your product.
Small adjustments to onboarding can be the difference between whether the customer adopts your product or moves on to a different solution. Onboarding should be personalized, with customers segmenting into groups according to predefined characteristics.
Onboarding should be so intuitive that customers can get to grips with your product without consulting a specialist. A good onboarding process takes the customer from a trial user to an active power user of your product.
5. Utilize product tours and walkthroughs
Part of the onboarding process should involve product tours and walkthroughs. Tours are known for providing a considerable amount of information at once, while walkthroughs help customers learn by doing. You need to combine the power of both to help customers understand the ins and outs of your product.
On the other hand, keep it optional to complete the tours and walkthroughs in case customers are already familiar with your product. You don’t want to force them to learn how to use features they already know how to use.
6. Offer in-app self-service support
Offering customers support directly in the app removes the need for them to contact a member of your support team. Self-service is a great way to empower customers to solve problems and show them you have deeply considered the customer experience.
Providing instant customer support is critical for SaaS companies that want to drive product adoption since brand-new customers are unlikely to be happy waiting for an answer from your support team.
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When you reduce the burden on your support team, you can free up their time to focus on the more complex cases and enable them to provide better customer experiences. Accessing help in-app also avoids breaking the user experience flow, increasing the chance that customers adopt your product successfully.
7. Track customer satisfaction with surveys
You can tell whether you have successfully adopted the product by tracking customer satisfaction with regular micro surveys. You don’t need in-depth feedback to determine whether customers are satisfied with your product because they have adopted it into their workflows. Satisfaction happens when users are thoroughly engaged with your software and understand how to use its features.
Customer surveys such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) tell how likely customers are to recommend your product to a friend. Highly satisfied customers who have adopted the product are more likely to refer your business to their associates.
Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a direct measure of how satisfied a customer is with your product or interaction and is a good way of gathering immediate feedback.
8. Monitor key product adoption metrics
There are several key product adoption metrics you’ll want to measure so you can track whether you are improving product adoption overall.
Some key metrics are:
- Customer engagement score – calculates how engaged customers are with your product by measuring key events that customers take.
- Customer lifetime value – the amount of revenue you make from each customer during their relationship with your business.
- Feature adoption rate – measures the number of active users of a feature within a set period.
- Activation rate – measures engagement with specific in-app events that motivate users to activate when completed.
- Time to value – measures the time it takes your customer to reach their “Aha!” moment with your product.
Regularly monitoring metrics like these are key to accelerating product adoption with your SaaS.
Customers who experience product adoption are much more likely to engage with your app and to be retained by your business in the long term. Users are activated with the software and have reached their “Aha!” moment, meaning they truly understand the value your product was intended to provide.
Not all customers can achieve product adoption with your software, so it’s important to generate the right leads. Your product adoption will rise if you attract customers who are a good fit for your product. Customers who have the potential to be successful with your product are more likely to experience product adoption.