3 Software Product Adoption Mistakes You’re Probably Making (And How to Fix Them)

Guru Mirthinti Digital Adoption
product adoption mistakes and how to solve them

For enterprises, software product adoption often refers to how well your employees embrace new software. While you may be fully invested (emotionally and financially) in a new SaaS tool, you can’t automatically count on your employees and customers to be equally as invested.

Adoption takes a lot of time and patience, as well as a willingness to adjust your strategy along the way. In fact, one survey revealed that 74% of leaders focused on user adoption spent half their week handling user adoption challenges.

Our work helping companies implement a variety of SaaS solutions gives us a unique perspective into the adoption process, so we’re sharing a few common software product adoption mistakes along with our tips on how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Focusing on User Accounts Instead of Users

With enterprise SaaS user licenses running anywhere from $25-$300 or more a month, it’s tempting to take on a “we paid for it, so you’ll use it” attitude — but failing to focus on the people using those accounts is a serious mistake.

Making your bottom-line concerns public sends the wrong message. While you can crunch the numbers privately, your users are not concerned with the cost of subscriptions. They care about how the software will affect their work, and they want you to care about that, too.

Forcing adoption without explaining why is a misstep. Mandating change only leads to resistance. You won’t get far with a brute-force approach to software product adoption.

Solution: Show users how NEW tools benefit them

Keep your concerns about the costs of low software product adoption to yourself and instead focus on how the tool will help your employees with their daily duties.

Address the what’s in it for me? (WIIFM) and what does it mean to me? (WDIMTM) questions for each role. If you’re implementing Workday, for example, your HR and finance departments will be affected very differently. It’s important to appeal to each role with specific details about how the tool will improve their productivity rather than hinder it.

Product adoption mistakes - What's in it for me_ (WIIFM)

One way to answer these questions is to explain why you chose this tool in particular. In the case of Workday, you might explain that the software allows the finance team to easily manage compliance and prepare for audits. The HR department, on the other hand, can leverage Workday’s data to build a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

Mistake #2: Looking at Metrics Without Context

Checking user login rates is a nice start, but if you fail to dig into how and why your employees are using the software, you won’t be able to make any significant adoption improvements.

User login rates will show you who is and isn’t logging in, but they won’t tell the whole story. On their own, these rates won’t provide information on what users do once they’re logged in or even how long they use the software. As for the inactive users, metrics can’t tell you what’s keeping them from using the tool.

What’s more, many metrics are misleading without the right context. Consider Salesforce — metrics might show you that User A is logging in daily, creating opportunities, creating accounts, and adding contacts — all of which look good at a glance. However, if you go a bit further, you could discover that most accounts are missing several key fields, and opportunities don’t have close dates. That additional context shows you that User A isn’t using Salesforce to its full potential, which in turn may lead to the sales team making uninformed decisions due to the missing data.

Solution: View metrics as part of the user journey

To properly judge adoption, follow your users to see how they incorporate the tool into their daily routine.

Continuing with the Salesforce example, context tells you that User A needs more training on how and why they need to input data into Salesforce. But what about your less active users? Let’s say in week one, User B logged in daily and created a few accounts and opportunities. By week two, User B was logging in sporadically. Context on the user journey will help you understand why.

After talking with User B, you find that while they created a Salesforce account and poked around a bit, they still relied on email to communicate with potential leads. At the time, learning how to import contacts and create opportunities seemed like a waste of time. This reasoning tells you that your users have not yet realized how using Salesforce can make their lives easier.

With that valuable insight, you can work on ways to improve training so that users engage more with the tool, thus becoming more enthusiastic about using it regularly.

Mistake #3: Overwhelming Users with Too Much Information at Once

Introducing every flashy feature that new software has to offer right away will more likely stress your employees out rather than support your software product adoption efforts.

Think about how you learn to use a new smartphone. The device offers thousands of incredible features, but you don’t start using them all at once. No one sits down with a thick user manual and reads it cover to cover. Instead, users learn about the smartphone’s features as they interact with the device. Learning software should be no different.

Solution: Help users learn in the flow of work

You can encourage ongoing software product adoption by providing ways for employees to learn the tool as they use it.

Introduce high-value features first — things users need on a daily basis — so employees can see the value of the tool right away. Keep in mind that these features may be different for each department or employee, so training should be customized for specific roles.

As you design your training strategy, think of ways to build in milestones for users to work toward. Remember — too much all at once discourages employees from starting at all. Imagine trying to read a book without chapters. You’d struggle to make progress because you’d be missing the checkpoints that keep you reading. Chapters give you a milestone to look forward to. Quick and easy training modules work in a similar way.

Using a variety of “bite-sized” trainings allows users to get hands-on practice while they work.

  • Use beacons to draw attention to a specific feature and provide a quick demo on how to use it
  • Include short training videos that provide more detailed guidance
  • Provide easy-to-follow walkthroughs that guide users step-by-step

product adoption mistakes - highlighting product updates
Using a Digital Adoption Platform allows you to incorporate these trainings directly within the software, helping users learn in the flow of work.

Improve Your Software Product Adoption Process with Whatfix

If you don’t take the time to step back and look at your process from the user perspective, these common adoption mistakes for software products can quickly sneak up on you. Leveraging Whatfix’s Digital Adoption Platform allows you to keep an eye on your users throughout the production adoption journey and provide additional training and support when needed.

Sign up for a demo today to see how we can help you customize your implementation process and avoid frustrating adoption delays.

Guru Mirthinti

Guru Mirthinti

Guru is part of the Product Marketing team at Whatfix. He has 5 years experience in driving strategy and operational excellence across India, US and Southeast Asia. With a deep passion in customer behaviour, competitive analysis and sales enablement, Guru wants to support enterprises in their journey towards successful digital adoption through Whatfix
Guru Mirthinti
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