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SaaS product Marketing and learning the Ropes from the SaaS Leaders: SaaS Product Adoption Strategies from Three Industry Forerunners

21 Oct 2017, Posted by addkraft in Technology marketing, Technology Marketing

It’s time to celebrate! As part of SaaS product marketing, as a customer your organization just decided to implement one of the best SaaS products in the market. You are super-sure that this investment will bring in brilliant returns. Now, let’s fast forward to, say, a couple of months from now.
You must ideally be confident and relaxed. But no, you are more stressed out than ever! Almost no one in the company is using the new system. Productivity is poor, sales targets are not being met, and operational efficiency has taken a nosedive.
What went wrong? You conclude that the application failed to deliver on any of its promises, so you decide to stop subscribing to the service.
No! Think again!
You missed an important step – implementing an organization-wide adoption of the SaaS product. You did not account for the fact that every end user of the application – your employee, customer, and business partner – needed to understand the system at a granular level. So, no matter how remarkable the solution was, since your rollout strategy was not well planned, you had already set up your organization to fail.
Organizational Challenges of SaaS Product Adoption
Many studies have indicated that about 70% of all change initiatives fail because of lack of employee compliance and management support. There are indeed many challenges to ensuring a smooth user adoption of any SaaS product within your organization’s ecosystem:
1. End users’ resistance to change: New technology always pushes users outside their comfort zone. Initially, users tend to focus more on the complexity of the system than on its value. This resistance to change leads to eventual rejection of the new product.
2. Different users–different needs: Each role within your organization requires building expertise across different functionalities of the solution. Hence generic adoption and training programs never work, since the actual queries from the users are often role specific.
3. The best time to start: Most adoption programs have a starting problem – when’s exactly the right time to begin the transition. The longer you wait, the poorer the user’s confidence in the solution.
4. On-demand support: Many adoption methodologies are not an ongoing process, whereas most users need support when they face real-time challenges with using the system or when a new user is introduced to the system. Without accounting for these scenarios, your adoption strategy will certainly fail.
5. An uninspiring training approach: A strict, regimented, unidirectional training strategy promotes zero engagement. Without a gamified, brownie-point-based approach, there’s really not much scope for encouraging learning.
Given these challenges, what’s really the best approach to a seamless adoption strategy? Let’s find out from some of the leaders of SaaS product marketing, shall we?

Three Examples of Outstanding SaaS Product Adoption Strategy

Three leaders of the SaaS ecosystem – Workday, Salesforce, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) – have set incredible examples of SaaS product adoption strategies. Let’s check out their unique approaches to understand what a comprehensive SaaS product rollout should ideally look like.

Workday
Workday places immense importance on training, delivering anytime training in any format, accessible from anywhere. Their adoption strategy places end users at the center of the change process, encouraging them to adapt efficiently to the new system through an exhaustive collection of training packages.
Adoption kit
Their adoption kit is elaborate, has multiple user-based options, and is up-to-date until their latest release. Their kit includes an extensive collection of textual content, screenshots, videos, audio transcripts, interactive sessions, quizzes, job aids, templates, guides, tools and resources.
On-demand support
In addition to the adoption kit, Workday also delivers instant access to 24*7, bite-sized content highlighting specific functionalities as videos, libraries, and other online references as continued learning right from the user’s workspace.
Role-based training
Workday also includes a detailed in-person or virtual classroom training with role-based syllabi conducted by expert instructors – these include classroom lectures, demos, activities, and assessments.
Certifications
Workday enables an encouraging learning environment through its focused accreditation programs and courses that include written tests and certifications at the end of the program.

Salesforce
Salesforce is the leader of the SaaS world; hence, their adoption strategy is comprehensive, with extensive options to learn across the board through classroom sessions, online training, or any customized, organization-specific approach.
Adoption kit
Their adoption kit has multiple choices – from guided learning journeys and short, crisp learning modules to specific learning projects and elaborate skill-building certifications. The options are categorized based on role, level, and products, with elaborate metrics that proactively measure the success of user adoption.
On-demand support
Salesforce too includes well-organized, bite-sized, open learning formats – each of these packages includes a collection of specific functionalities, ending with a test-yourself feature that challenges the learner with interactive challenges and points of achievements.
Gamified experience
Salesforce includes an option named trials – treasure-hunt exercises that chart the user’s path across skill sets that can be gained through Salesforce. The point-based assessments that allow users to gain points and use them for a prize draw are definite attractions.
Pain-free on-boarding
Salesforce starts the adoption journey early – by creating awareness and communicating the goals and advantages of transitioning into the system even before the implementation stage. They then create organization-specific change management strategies that vary across roles and functionalities, with tools that assess the training impact.
Training talent
Salesforce has exhaustive resources – the trainers – who lead user adoptions. They identify the key people or champions within the organization who can take forward the change initiative and train these trainers for a smooth adoption across all users of the organizational ecosystem.
Role-based curriculum training and certifications
Salesforce also includes online and classroom training sessions with role-based curriculums for empowering users with the expertise they require to manage Salesforce. The certifications and credentials provided after completion of the course are recognized across the globe and are a distinct advantage. They also have a partner ecosystem of universities and other agencies to train students in Salesforce.

Amazon Web Services
AWS has an extensively elaborate adoption methodology as part of SaaS product marketing encompassing every end user scenario and skill advancement perspective. Its unique feature is the AWS training and certification portal is a centralized and comprehensive collection of training resources that provides expertise across all aspects of AWS. They also use their authorized training partners to deliver in-depth training in AWS offerings.
Adoption kit
Their adoption kit includes a wide gamut of trainings and certifications, workshops, videos, and hands-on practice sessions or labs in live and simulation AWS environments across multiple languages. Clearing each challenge in the learning quest enables the user to earn quest badges that are valuable credentials in the user’s resume. The content is always updated to match the pace of innovation and interact with experts easily to clear immediate questions.
On-demand support
A simple approach helps users select their preferred training module on the portal and enroll in the training sessions of your choice. Alternatively, the labs and short videos on specific topics deliver immediate information to users who are looking for urgent guidance on the go.
Pain-free on-boarding
The entire package of AWS documentation delivers systematic guidelines on how to get started and helps you plan your entire role- and function-based learning roadmap right from the word go. A well-structured training program helps you build your skill set and gain certifications as proof of knowledge. Organization-specific on-site trainings also help customize the adoption packages.
Training talent and certification
AWS-certified trainers are certainly in demand, since the most popular AWS adoption programs are expert-delivered, detailed training courses. These certified experts are associated with organizations, or they are individuals who choose to build their expertise in AWS. These trainers are part of a large global community with unique facilities including access to events, certified stores, AWS logos, and digital badges. The certification roadmap includes stage- and role-wise levels with assessments ascertaining the knowledge and skill sets that the user has gained at each level.

All the three organizations thus have clearly structured SaaS product marketing and product adoption strategy on par with their design and development initiatives. This approach has clearly paved the way to their incredible success across verticals.
Conclusion
The triumph of every SaaS product marketing and implementation depends on how well its end users understand, appreciate, and adopt the new system. This goal can be achieved only by a comprehensive SaaS product adoption methodology that includes every single user’s needs, every mode of access, up-to-date information, multiple forms of packaged training materials, and on-demand support. Gamification, certifications, recognitions, and rewards certainly help simplify the transition. The best practices from Workday, Salesforce and AWS provide a clear understanding of the elements that a successful SaaS product adoption strategy require.
So, when are you getting started on streamlining your SaaS product adoption journey?