28 Feb

SaaS Training and User Adoption Best Practices

Implementing a SaaS solution takes having a strong user adoption plan.

Connected Workforce
SaaS Training and User Adoption Best Practices

Perhaps you’re thinking about recommending that your business adopt a new piece of SaaS software, such as Worximity Smart Factory Analytics. As part of your process, you’ll undoubtedly be asked, or you’ll already know that you need to, make a case for ROI.

With a software like Worximity, to make the ROI case you’ll convey to your team or your bosses that your company or operation can increase productivity, reduce downtime, lower maintenance costs, compress decision-making cycles and improve decision quality and more. What is sometimes overlooked in this analysis and in these discussions is that the underlying assumption is that the new software will actually be used, and that not only will it be used, but that it will be used well enough to produce the outcomes promised in your ROI model.

This is unfortunately not always the case. In the software industry, we talk about, and even obsess about ‘churn’. Churn is a term we in the industry use to describe losing some customers while we add more.

Churn imposes costs for everyone. For the software company, of course, the cost of winning new customers in marketing and sales expense can be quite high. A software company with too much churn will never be financially successful and may actually fail. For the customer however, churn is equally bad. It takes time and energy on the customer side for you to evaluate the prospects of a new solution, to decide on a prospective vendor, to bring everyone up to speed internally on the intention and to roll the software out and test it.

Committing to a new software and then churning is then bad for both parties.

So, since we’re in this game together? How can we both avoid churn?

In their article The 10 Reasons SaaS Customers Churn (and How to Combat Them), Chargify has ranked the top reasons that drive software churn. Chargify is an interesting player in the SaaS (Software as a Service) arena, they provide software that manages recurring billing for SaaS companies. Not only do they deal with thousands of SaaS businesses who use their software, but they’re a SaaS business themselves. So for them, it’s important that they manage their own churn, but they also have a stake in helping to reduce the churn of all of their customer base. For this reason, they’ve become quite expert in this area.

According to the article, the number one cause of software churn is “Bad Onboarding”.

Onboarding is software speak for introducing a product to a new customer and helping them to get started using it effectively leading to their own success. 

With respect to Onboarding, they state:

The majority of your customer churn is going to take place between two pivotal milestones:

Your customer signing-up for your product

Your customer achieving their first “success” with your product

Bad Onboarding as a cause of churn is more prevalent for SaaS companies than losing to a competitor, having budgets cut, ‘closing a bad deal’ (the product is not actually a great fit for the problem being solved), or problems with the product itself.

That's why successful SaaS businesses like Worximity invest significantly in Customer Success Teams. These teams focus on supporting customers as they adopt, or onboard, the new software. These teams focus particularly on getting customers to their ‘first success’, which of course is why they’re called ‘customer success’ teams!.

Like seemingly everything else today, there’s a software for that. Many well known SaaS businesses use Groove software to manage their customer success experience. Groove also has researched the causes of churn and provides this handy graphic to emphasize the critical time period for success to eliminate churn.

Groove SaaS Churn Customer Lifecycle

Image Courtesy Groove Software

Since churn is bad for both parties, the software business and the customer, what can both sides of the team do about it?

As noted above, Worximity invests in Customer Success Teams, which you can learn more about here. If you’re seriously considering implementing Worximity, you can connect with us here and discuss our onboarding process in detail.

In the meantime, if you’re beginning to think about implementing a SaaS solution like Worximity, you should be thinking about what your internal software adoption process should be.

Here are 5 internal SaaS adoption strategies that you can embrace to increase the likelihood that your internal SaaS roll-out will be successful:

Define Your Training Audience for Onboarding

The first step in thinking your successful roll-out effort through is to define your audience.

If you’re a smaller business it’s quite possible that you can fit all the people who will use or benefit from the software in one room. Some of these people might be operators who are responsible for responding quickly to upset conditions such as downtime events, while there may be a smaller group who are using the output to manage the business and may log in only periodically to gain insights to produce board level reports on progress meeting high-level business goals.

There’s a big difference in the usage behaviors and needs from the software between Operators and CFOs and the onboarding process needs to be adapted accordingly.

A vastly different onboarding scenario is when you’re doing an Enterprise scale rollout across multiple distributed factories. In this case, there may not be opportunity for FTF (face to face) hands-on training where you can personally meet the onboarding and training needs at an individual level. In this case you’re likely going to need to rely on a ‘train the trainer’ approach. You’ll need key people at each location who ‘run point’ on the onboarding process while you use online collaboration tools to do training sessions and share information.

In both cases you can trust that a well-organized customer success team like Worximitys' will be monitoring software usage on your behalf and be able to provide you with early warning signals that adoption is not on track from a usage perspective.

Onboarding is Much Like Marketing - Have a Story

In marketing, you’re taught the old adage ‘WiFM’, or ‘What’s in It For Me?’. Getting people to change their habits and embrace change is difficult. Learning a new process, a new software and how to work with people differently, is hard.

The best way to help people to embrace change is to help them to understand how the change will benefit them. 

You should be able to position the value of the software in terms that each important audience can understand and get behind.

For instance:

Operators will no longer have to spend time on tedious notepads or in difficult to use spreadsheets.

The initial test group may have a chance to shine at the corporate level by demonstrating how much value this effort can bring and can have opportunity for advancement as they step up to help extend the effort across the organization.

Senior Leaders can tout their vision for digitalization of the factory and build their experience base for future promotions.

As Simon Sinek teaches us, if you want to change behavior, Start with Why.

Think Through the Support that Users Will Need

In SaaS, there are usually 2 primary support needs, Functional Support and Technical Support.

Functional Support is helping people to get from the software what they need. In the case of Worximity this means creating dashboards that are meaningful and actionable for each important user.

Technical Support usually incorporates implementation - so for Worximity that in part means  getting machinery connected. This process might involve shop personnel, maintenance or IT staff who will need to understand their role, and how they’ll get the information and resources that they need to be successful. Technical support also means troubleshooting when things aren’t working properly. 

You should think through, who should your users turn to for each support need? What is your triage model, do they start with documentation and then turn to an internal power-user before reaching out to the vendor? Answering questions like this will require you to think about your audience. How self-sufficient is your audience, how technically proficient are they? What you don’t want to have happen is have frustrated users that lack timely support opt-out of your roll-out.


Think about how you’ll know if the roll-out is taking hold. As noted above, advanced SaaS companies like Worximity have monitoring tools and systems in place that help you to measure user adoption and roll-out success. However, you should ask yourself should you have a simple feedback system in place such as calendar reminders to reach out to the extended team and make sure everything is ok? Or for an enterprise roll-out where this is impractical, do you have a survey system available that enables you go gage your progress and user satisfaction?

Rely on Experts

As we’ve noted above, part of Worximity’s success is having a strong user-adoption program. There’s a well-defined roadmap for IIoT success that you can embrace and follow. One thing that we’ve learned is that ‘getting people in the tool’ early is critical. The first few weeks you can focus on making sure that tool usage is what it should be.

If you’re considering rolling out a SaaS program like Worximity, here are additional resources that you may find helpful:

Critical Success Factors to a Successful Smart Factory Analytics SaaS Implementation

Strategic Roadmap for IIoT Success

6 HR Tips for a Successful Transition to Industry 4.0

The following articles were written with SaaS businesses in mind, but have nuggets of wisdom that SaaS customers can use:

The Biggest Barrier to Customer Success Has Nothing to Do with Your Software

User Onboarding Best Practices for 2020 and Beyond

3 Recommendations for Driving Higher User Adoption

12 Ways to Achieve Great SaaS Customer Support

6 Must-Read Articles on Training in Customer Success

Are you thinking about implementing a SaaS solution like Worximity? Reach out to our team and learn more about successful training and user adoption practices!

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