Many Business to Business (B2B) SaaS solutions are far more complex than business to consumer solutions and require a more complex approach to user adoption. User adoption is critical to the B2B SaaS provider profitability through reduced customer churn, higher number of users, and increased up-sell opportunities.
Three keys to SaaS user adoption are measuring user adoption, understanding your economic customer’s relationship with the solution users and educating your customer about best practices for adoption.
Measuring customer adoption is important since if you don’t define successful adoption and measure it you’ll never know how your are doing and how user adoption results correlate with economic actions by your customer. Some typical measurements include how often users log in and the length of their stay. You will need to define this for your application and some of the new customer engagement applications can be very helpful in this area both in helping to define engagement and measuring it. Totanga and Apptegic are two good examples of user engagement measurement software for SaaS.
In B2B applications the relationship of users to the economic buyer can take a variety of forms including a direct reporting relationship, an indirect reporting relationship, or a relationship actually outside of the company. For example, a sales VP as the economic buyer of a SaaS CRM solution has a lot more influence of the direct sales staff than over resellers and partners. Understanding these relationships including economic relationships is key to setting expectations on account growth and speed and level of adoption. The nature of the relationship will strongly influence what communications you as the provider can/should have with the end user. The economic customer may want to control that communication very closely or actually do the communication themselves.
Finally, you want to provide your customer with the roadmap, tools and feedback that they need for successful adoption. As the provider you see many more implementations and have a good understanding of the best practices which result in excellent user adoption so be sure to share this information. Information about what surveys, awards, compensation incentives and management leadership can be very helpful.
Regular measurement of user adoption, understanding customer/user relationships and providing good practical tools and best practices can go a long way toward successful SaaS user adoption.