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This is an update to one of our popular posts. This post was updated on May 1, 2019.  Observation

We have found that the best way for organizations to “boost” and then “sustain” high software user adoption is to develop and implement a comprehensive user adoption strategy. Most software failures occur when organizations take a Go-Live centric approach (on-time & on-budget delivery of technology) without taking the necessary actions to drive and sustain user adoption over the life of the system. It is important to recognize that user adoption is all about changing user behaviors; it is not about technology. The skills and methods you use to change behavior are very different than those required to build and deliver effective systems. This means that the people who lead and manage your system implementation may not be (and probably are not) the right people to lead the user adoption program.

Consider This

Here are some (though not all) key elements of a software user adoption program:

  • ASSIGN OWNERSHIP FOR SOFTWARE ADOPTION - Give a senior executive overall accountability, authority, and required resources to drive and sustain user adoption. Make this a meaningful portion of the executive’s performance & bonus criteria to ensure they are properly motivated to put in the time and resources required to make the software project a success.
  • DEFINE SUCCESS – Define success in terms of user adoption, business value creation, and Return on Investment (ROI). Determine specific success measures (quantitative and qualitative) and align all employees’ performance management plans (and rewards) to these goals.
  • CONDUCT A USER ADOPTION ANALYSIS – Conduct a comprehensive analysis of your organization to identify all of the key factors that encourage or inhibit software adoption. This includes looking at policies, processes, reward systems, communication activities, job descriptions, leadership, and existing user attitudes and behaviors. Use this information to shape your overall user adoption strategy.
  • SHIFT FROM "USER RESISTANCE" TO "REMOVE BARRIERS" – Make clear distinctions between instances of user resistance vs. organizational barriers that prevent adoption. Many people fall in the trap of “blaming the users” for not adopting the software when often times there are organizational barriers – that fall outside of the users’ control – that prevent users from adopting the system.

User Resistance and Overcoming Resistance to Change When Implementing Software - YouTube

  • FACILITATE ADOPTION – Take specific actions before, during, and after go-live to facilitate full and effective user adoption. Communications and training are necessary, but not even close to sufficient, for driving effective user adoption. (This is an example where you may need a different skill set to drive adoption. If you are not sure what else you need to do to “facilitate adoption” this may mean that you do not have the right skills and/or right methodology for driving user adoption. You may want to consultant an outside user adoption expert for help.)
  • MEASURE RESULTS & EVOLVE YOUR ADOPTION PLAN– Measure user adoption at regularly scheduled intervals, update user adoption goals, identify specific adoption activities to be completed, and adjust your software adoption program as necessary to ensure your system is meeting current and future ROI goals..

The post How to Accelerate And Sustain High Software User Adoption appeared first on Tri Tuns.

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It is widely known that most software investments fail to deliver the expected business results and Return on Investment (ROI). For years research groups have reported the CRM projects alone have a 60 – 70% record of failing to deliver what was expected.  What is staggering is that executives have accepted these dismal results for so long and not taken action to address such poor performance. Which makes me think, either they are not aware of the problem (unlikely) or they don’t know what to do to solve it (highly likely).

When I speak with executives across a variety of organizations and industries about how they approach software success, the typical answer is “training”. And yet, while this approach consistently fails to deliver, organizations keep turning to it as the go-to move, each time expecting a different result.  Somewhere out there Einstein is rolling over in his grave thinking everyone is insane!

It’s time to stop the crazy-train and start looking for new approaches that will deliver results. Based on over 20 years of experience helping organizations accelerate software adoption and improve their bottom-line results from effective use technology, here are 5 +1 actions CEOs, CIOs, and CFOs can take to get more value from their software investment.

1. Require a 10+ Year User Adoption & Software Success Plan During Initial Project Funding Approval Gate

There is no way any organization can justify putting money into a software investment without having a clear, realistic plan for how they will get their value back out of it. History has shown us that just doing a little system training – at the time of go-live – will not deliver the results you want.  Your organization operates in a world of perpetual change, and there are a lot of fluid factors that impact the level of adoption and business results you get from your system year over year. When you look over a 10 year period, you see that employees will join and leave your organization, there will be updates and changes to the software, your strategic priorities will change, the competitive environment will change, new government regulations impact how you operate, you might be involved in an acquisition, and so on.

The reality is that to continue to get the ROI you want from your software, you need to have dedicated, skilled resources working to manage all of this complexity, and take action to sustain effective adoption of your systems and ensure you achieve your desired business results. While you won’t know all the specifics of what will change, you can and should forecast out what skills, resources and funding you need to ensure the software delivers the results you need, over a 10 year period.  You need to require these resource estimates as part of your initial business case and closely look at them as part of your funding approval decisions.

2. Explicitly State Your Assumed User Adoption Rates For Each Year

When I speak with executives about the original business case and forecasted returns they used to justify their software purchase, I always ask them what was the assumed level of user adoption. Inevitably they start to quickly look downtrodden when they realized they overlooked something very simple, yet very important in their calculations.  It is almost universal that most IT business cases assume 100% user adoption, from day one, when they are calculated their expected ROI.  The assumption is that once the system goes live, they will immediately start realizing all of the cost efficiencies and increased productivity from day 1. And we all know this is not the case.

When developing your business case, you should explicitly state the level of adoption that is expected in any given period, and then weight your expected benefits accordingly. For example, if you know that the system you are introducing is going to be a major change for the organization, you can discount the expected returns in the first year (or two) substantially, while people adjust to the new way of working. Continuing out into the future, you should look at the return you get based on different levels of effective user adoption. If you only get 70% effective use, does your project still make sense? What about at 50%? Or even 30%?

Are you not sure what is a realistic estimate for effective level of adoption? You can start by looking over current and historical user adoption rates and corresponding ROI of other existing applications in your organization. What level of adoption do these applications have? What percentage of the forecasted business benefits have they delivered? Once you realize how big an impact the level of adoption has on your bottom-line results, it becomes easier to justify the resources required each year to drive and sustain adoption.

3. Assign A Senior Executive as the Business Owner Accountable for Outcomes

Many organizations have a project sponsor that is accountable for getting the initial funding and then getting the system live. However, very rarely is the owner accountable for ensuring the system is used effectively and actually achieves the measurable business outcomes and ROI used to justify the investment. One of the simplest things is to make sure that there is always a senior executive who has a meaningful, vested interest in taking action and allocating resources to ensuring the software is used to achieve bottom-line results.

For this to be impactful, you need to make sure there are real impacts for the executive for missing, meeting, or exceeding outcome targets. This often involves some tie to compensation, promotion eligibility, etc.  Oh, and if this executive leaves the organization or changes role, you need to formally assign this responsibility to their successor.

4. Establish an Internal Software Success Program from The Very Start!

As stated above, user adoption and ensuring business goals are achieved requires a lot of work. You will need to have an internal team in place to make it happen. In fact, many organizations now setup internal Software Success Teams. (Some organizations call them User Adoption Teams, User Adoption Program Management Offices, or Adoption Center of Excellence). Regardless of the name, you need to put in place the team that will plan, accelerate, and then sustain the level of user adoption that is necessary to achieve your business goals.  There is a lot of planning and preparation that needs to happen to put in place an effective adoption program, so you need to start early in your implementation efforts. In fact, we have worked with one client that brought us in to help setup their adoption program several months before they even selected their software vendor!

5. Incorporate Software Adoption Training and Planning into Your IT Implementation Methodology

We work with a lot of internal technology teams, and it is very clear that most of them don’t have any experience in organizational change management or user adoption concepts and techniques. While IT staff do not need to be experts in adoption, they do need to understand the general practices and the various touchpoints and dependencies that an effective user adoption methodology has with the technology team.

Similarly, very few people on the business side understand user adoption concepts and activities. They will need to understand these as well, especially since they will need to be involved in many of the activities.

To ensure the best results, be sure that at the start of projects that all project members (including both IT and business team staff) are trained on the adoption activities that need to happen and why. You will also need to periodically refresh everyone’s understanding and remind them where they are in the process.

The “Plus 1” Action…Take a Portfolio Approach to Managing Software Success

To maximize your results, you will want to have a Software Success Program across all of your applications.  After you have experimented on building software success programs for a few of your applications, and have learned what works and what doesn’t work in your organization, then it is time to scale and mature your efforts. Eventually you want to get to the point that you have an ongoing software success program across your entire IT portfolio.

Obviously, there will be different levels of attention required for different applications, based on the size, scale, complexity, and level of investment involved. Also, you can expect that when rolling out new systems there will be changes to the level of expected adoption and value received from other existing applications that may be impacted by the new software. But having an effective program that allows you to measure and manage the costs, resources, and ultimate business value received from each application allows you to best focus your resources and achieve the best overall results.

Taking these actions will greatly increase your overall effectiveness, maximize the value you get from your IT investments, and improve your bottom line. The challenge is that this is new for many organizations and they don’t know where to start. And there are a lot of challenges along the way. You need to avoid making costly mistakes that waste time, effort and resources. Contact Tri Tuns to learn how we can help you quickly setup your Software Success Programs and accelerate your bottom-line growth!

Why do software buyers fail to achieve their desired business outcomes?

Most software projects fail to deliver the expected business outcomes because of the approach the buyer takes to getting the system live and driving adoption. Most buyer's organizations don't have the expertise, tools and capacity to deliver their own success.  This short video explains many of the methodological and structural problems organizations face when dealing with software.

If you are looking to help software buyer's create their own internal software success programs, Tri Tuns can help.  Contact us to find out what we can do for you.

Why Software Projects Fail...And How to Ensure Success! - YouTube

The post 5 + 1 Actions CEOs, CIOs, and CFOs Can Take to Increase Software Success appeared first on Tri Tuns.

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This guest blog was written by Jason Noble, a UK-based Expert in Customer Success. Jason is also co-host of, "The Jasons Take On..." a monthly webinar and podcast program that covers a wide-range of customer success topics.

Being Customer Centric

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to being (more) customer centric is defining what we mean by that - and it can and does mean different things to different organisations. The reason being customer centric is important is not only the obvious - that your customers stay loyal when they have good experiences and the product and sales are delivering on our promises, but also as our customers keep evolving and changing, so too are the ways that we operationalise that and support those customers.

A great way to think about customer centricity that really resonates with me is - “A business is customer centric when it delivers on-going growing value to and for their customers.” If you are customer-centric, it means you are observing that evolution that’s happening to your customer base, and you’re able to be very agile and nimble in responding to that as a business. I really like this way of thinking as it’s not just for the short term and the now, it’s about the what (the value) and the who (it allows for customers to include customers as we know them, our employees and team members and our shareholders and investors).

It’s not easy

Being customer centric is easy to say but hard to do. It doesn’t come organically and I’ve never seen an organisation say they’re not customer centric or that they don’t want to be even more so. It of course needs organisation wide buy-in and sponsorship, from sales, to finance, to operations, to support, to customer success, to delivery - it’s not one function’s or one team’s (or even one person’s) responsibility, it’s everyone’s.

Why now?

To quote Dan Steinman from Gainsight - “We are now in the age of the customer” - and we’ve gone through the transition from technology to mobile to social and now to the customer. We’re moving more and more to being outcome driven and not just product and technology driven and we’re shifting from the idea of ownership for products and services to usership and subscriptions. We are seeing this more and more in both the business and consumer worlds.

We hear a lot about the idea of stickiness of services and using it as a measure of engagement and customers staying with us longer. I don’t personally like this term as it implies that they have to stay and don’t necessarily want to stay - which is very different. As a physicist at heart, I prefer the idea of an attractive force - like gravity - and our customers wanting to stay with us. I think it’s a far more powerful way of thinking.

We live at a time of unprecedented customer expectations both for business customers and our end consumers, and being customer centric is critical but why the recent focus now?

Think about your ultimate consumers – they are you and me, and our expectations have changed. Forrester research stated “This new world requires leaders to think and act differently” and George Colony, Forrester CEO predicts that if a company is not customer-centric, they’ll simply be out of business between 5-10 years.

Being customer centric shouldn’t just be a concept and we need to approach it as part of our company vision and mission.

There is a gap

We’ve been trying to be more customer centric for a long, long while but only 14% of business leaders think they actually are and only 11% think our customers would say we are. The Harvard Business Review in 2017 stated that “The most common, and perhaps the greatest, barrier to customer centricity is the lack of a customer-centric organisational culture. At most companies the culture remains product-focused or sales-driven, or customer centricity is considered a priority only for certain functions such as marketing.”. This is true in many instances still, but we are now beginning to see a shift and cultures change.

Think about customer outcomes

Understanding your customer and aligning their business interests with a customer centric, prescriptive approach to realising value from you is the fastest and most efficient way to growing product adoption. We need to shift our thinking from why we are selling to why our customers are buying from us and what are the outcomes that they are looking for. What do our customers want and how do they want it? Change your talk track and understand your customers betters.

BA’s strap-line fits very well with this way of thinking - “To fly, to serve”.

Customer leadership

We know the theory and we know we need to be more customer centric. The biggest challenge for many organisations is how do it, at both the strategic organisational level and at the more tactical operational level.

I’ve worked with and for many organisations going through their own journeys  to be more customer centric, at both large well-established global organisations and more niche startup organisations and have been privileged to be in positions with them where I’ve been part of those customer focused changes and have seen some amazing results. One of the more strategic changes that is crucial for success is getting your customer leadership at the right level. It’s great to see more organisations across different industries and sectors investing in Chief Customer Officer or similar exec level roles now and the number has grown significantly over the last few years (and continues to grow). Having the right leadership gives you the voice of the customer at the leadership table, having someone focused on driving customer growth and value and bringing the customer conversations to the exec and board level.

I really like this concise definition of a Chief Customer Officer: “An executive who provides the comprehensive and authoritative view of the customer and creates corporate and customer strategy at the highest levels of the company to maximise customer acquisition, retention, and profitability.”

The customer leadership role – Chief Customer Officer or other – gives you:

  • Visibility – to understand and see what is happening to your customers
  • Clarity – of what happens when a prospect becomes a customer
  • Balance – the 3rd organisational pillar (with sales and operations)
  • Focus – allowing sales to focus on new business
  • Feedback – into what is happening outside of the business
  • Signalling – the external messaging that we are customer centric
Practical steps to being more customer centric

At the more practical level – things you could do more immediately – here are number of key ideas for to drive customer centricity in your organisation:

  1. Create a mission statement that impacts and includes
  2. Be a customer for a day – good old role play (and across all teams)400
  3. Visit your customers – all execs and, even better, all teams
  4. Create a customer community – customers talking to each other
  5. Create a voice of customer programme – and close the feedback loop
  6. Bring your customer feedback into every meeting across the business
  7. Democratise customer insights – make them visible to everyone
  8. Have customer focused goals and objectives for all teams
  9. Hire for customer orientation and customer empathy
I really, really like Amazon’s mission statement:

Earth’s most customer-centric company

“When amazon.com launched in 1995, it was with the mission, ‘to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and dsicover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.’ This goal continues today, but Amazon’s customers are worldwide now, and have grown to include millions of Consumers, Sellers, Content Creators, and Developers & Enterprises. Each of these groups has different needs, and we always work to meet those needs, innovating new solutions to make things easier, faster, better and more cost-effective.”

Points 6 and 7 above can be very powerful when done well and I’ve seen the idea of a customer feedback wall used very well and to great effect – where you include and share the very good, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Do these ideas resonate with you? What things have you done in your organisations to drive the journey to being more customer centric? And what has the impact been with your customers?

“Customer Centricity is a journey and not a destination.”

— Jason Noble

Jason Noble

Jason is an established leader in Customer Success and SaaS, with over 20 years of global experience working across customer success, service delivery, account management, customer support and professional services.He has held leadership roles with major global brands (including Sony and Reed Elsevier) and also worked with more niche technology startups and organisations, successfully building and leading global customer success programmes and operations.He is a commercial customer success leader working at Director and board level - to innovate and align technology functions and services - as the voice of the customer at the leadership table.

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonnoble1/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/jnoble100

Blog - http://www.jasonnoble.co.uk

Join the Next Episode of "The Jasons Take On"...

Come join us for our fast-paced, insightful, unplugged conversations with two leading "Jasons" in Customer Success. Jason Noble, a UK based visionary Customer Success executive and leader, and Jason Whitehead, a US based Customer Success and Software Adoption leader, discuss a variety of topics and issues of importance in the field of Customer Success. Each month we explore a new and important topic related to Customer Success, so be sure to join each episode in the series!

Go to The Jasons Take On page where you can register to join an upcoming episode live, watch the replays on YouTube or listen to replay via podcast.

The post What About The Customer? appeared first on Tri Tuns.

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If you are a software vendor, consider this: What would it look like if you approached each sale like you were trying to raise investment capital instead of just selling a piece of software?  Knowing that most software buyers (ah, funders, in this case) have a wide variety of investment options available to them, does your organization represent the best overall software investment opportunity out there? Can your prospects find better, safer opportunities that will give them a higher overall return on their software investment dollars with lower risks?  Stop thinking of the people who buy your software as customers and start treating them like investors. They don’t just want software. What they really want is the best return on their software investments!

The old rules don’t apply!

Back in the days before SaaS, organizations implementing software treated their software acquisitions as a simple purchasing transaction. They were very focused on the costs of the software product. They focused just on the initial purchasing transaction, with little thought to the future.

When the SaaS business model first came on the scene, buyers continued to treat software acquisitions as primarily a purchasing exercise. They remained very focused on the overall costs, just now with the added benefit of shifting their cash outflows over several years.  Over time they realized they could adjust their purchase quantities to reduce cashflow if they didn’t see the value in their purchase or if their needs have changed.

The new reality is that software buyers are making software investments, not purchases.

This awakening that buyers can focus on outcomes and value, and then adjust where they put their future software purchasing cash accordingly, is a huge shift in both mentality and fiscal practices. With this shift, organizations are treating software buying decisions less like a simple procurement exercise and instead treating it more like an investment exercise. They are less focused on just the cost, and instead they are more focused on the expected return and level of risk associated with the software investment. Software buyers realize they are better-off investing in a software vendor (notice I didn’t say application) that will deliver the most overall business value to them, even if the actual application doesn’t have all the bells and whistles found in competing systems.

After years of over-investing in software, wasting a lot of cash on software and integration costs, suffering low user adoption and having their projects considered IT failures that didn’t deliver the expected business value, savvy software buyers realize they need to change how they make software investment decisions. They realize they need to do more than just evaluate the technical fit of the application. Instead, they need to evaluate the overall vendor solution – the software, implementation team, technical support, and customer success services – to determine which one is the overall best investment.  In effect, what they are doing is evaluating the ability and probability that the software vendor as a whole will make them successful and solve their business problems.  Only after conducting this holistic analysis and comparing it to a similar analysis of other potential vendors will organizations decide with which company to spend their software investment dollars.

SaaS vendors need to quickly wake-up to the implications.

Historically, most software vendors have been extremely product focused. To software vendors, their products are sexy. To software engineers, building a cool piece of functionality is fun and exciting. And to many software executives, services are necessary, but not fun, scalable or profitable. In many software companies, there is a bias to investing in building new features and functions in the application instead of investing in services, support and customer success. For many vendors, the thinking is that the quality and price of the product is what will make or break a sale. While this may have once been true, it is no longer the case.

With buyers shifting their focus to evaluating the overall vendor solution and capabilities, a continued bias towards product will be the road to failure. Software vendors need to recognize the shift in buyer preferences and adjust how they set priorities, allocate internal resources, and position and sell their products accordingly. They need to recognize that just having a great product, without the support and customer success resources customers demand (and competitors provide), will not make them market competitive going forward.

Software vendors need to stop treating prospective customers like they are making a simple purchasing decision, and instead treat them like investors who are evaluating the complete software investment opportunity. Software vendors that approach each sale in a similar fashion to raising capital, that is, focusing on the business outcomes, minimizing risks, and explaining how you maximize the return on software investment, will be hugely more successful than those that continue to focus their sales efforts just on product features and price.

Why do software buyers fail to achieve their desired business outcomes?

Most software projects fail to deliver the expected business outcomes because of the approach the buyer takes to getting the system live and driving adoption. Most buyer's organizations don't have the expertise, tools and capacity to deliver their own success.  This short video explains many of the methodological and structural problems organizations face when dealing with software.

If you are looking to help software buyer's create their own internal software success programs, Tri Tuns can help.  Contact us to find out what we can do for you.

Why Software Projects Fail...And How to Ensure Success! - YouTube

The post The New SaaS Sales: Treat Perspective Software Buyers Like Investors, Not Customers appeared first on Tri Tuns.

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My how quickly things have changed. It seems like only yesterday SaaS vendors were worried that getting the Customer Success (CS) teams involved in the sales process would only slow things down and prevent a sale from closing. Today, it is increasingly the case that SaaS vendor need to showcase their customer success services in order to win a sale!

Organizations invest in software because they are trying to solve real-world business problems. Savvy software buyers have come to realize that what matters more than what the software does (features and functions) is what their own people do with the software to create business value.  Buyers care less about all the bells and whistles within the application; they are more concerned with getting answers to two questions:

1. Can we get our people to use it in a way that will solve our business problems and create business value?

2. What customer success resources and services will the vendor provide to help me get the results I need?

There is a growing recognition in most buyer’s organizations that while they can often get a system live, they really struggle to get their own people to use it in a way that creates value. This recognition is driving software buyers to rely on their vendor’s customer success services for help.

This has software buyers asking lots of questions during the sales process about the scope, approach, effectiveness and maturity of prospective vendor’s customer success program. Buyers realize that not all customer success services are created equal. Buyers now select the vendor that has the best overall combination of products and services. They are going with the vendor that has the greatest likelihood of delivering the business outcomes they need, not the vendor with the most features, best user interface, or cheapest price.

The challenge for most SaaS vendors is that historically they have been very product focused. They prefer to make their revenue from licenses, not services. Many SaaS vendors have been slow to invest in customer success, or they have underinvested in it. Vendors primarily thought of their customer success services as a churn prevention program, and not a competitive sales differentiator.

But things are changing and changing fast. Buyers are voting with their wallets and going with the vendor that represents the best overall value and the lowest overall investment risk.  It is no longer sufficient to have a great product, if you don’t also have the customer success services buyers need to feel confident in their ability to achieve the business outcomes they need from purchasing your product.

Which brings us back to the question, when you will you lose your first sale because your customer success services are not marketing competitive? It will probably happen sooner than you think.

Why do software buyers fail to achieve their desired business outcomes?

Most software projects fail to deliver the expected business outcomes because of the approach the buyer takes to getting the system live and driving adoption. Most buyer's organizations don't have the expertise, tools and capacity to deliver their own success.  This short video explains many of the methodological and structural problems organizations face when dealing with software.

If you are looking to help software buyer's create their own internal software success programs, Tri Tuns can help.  Contact us to find out what we can do for you.

Why Software Projects Fail...And How to Ensure Success! - YouTube

The post When Will You Lose Your First SaaS Sale Because Your Customer Success Services Are Not Market Competitive? appeared first on Tri Tuns.

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Many organizations that are implementing a new software system can easily get the system live, but they struggle to get it adopted, get value from it, and sustain effective use and business value creation over the long-term. When we meet with companies and take a closer look at how they go about implementing systems and driving adoption, it becomes very clear that the approach they take is often preventing them from achieving their goals.

This 4-step process is intended to help buyers of software change their focus and their approach to accelerate adoption, increase their business benefits, and achieve higher levels of success from their software investments.  It is also intended to help SaaS vendors – especially their customer success teams – to better understand the challenges their customers face in achieving success, so that the vendor can adjust their customer success approach and services to better meet buyers’ needs.

Step 1: Shift Your Focus to Achieving Business Outcomes

The first step to accelerating success is to understand how and when success is achieved.  Check out this first video that presents the software success curve and illustrates how most IT projects are setup to fail from the very beginning.

You will see that too many organizations narrowly focus on “on-time and on-budget” delivery of systems, when what they need to focus on is the business outcomes that come well after the system is live.

Achieving Software Success #1: Shift Your Focus to Achieving Business Outcomes - YouTube
Step 2: Improving Software Adoption & User Performance
Achieving Software Success #2: Improving Software Adoption & User Performance - YouTube

The second step is to focus on changing user behavior and accelerate adoption. It is important to recognize that you need to change behavior at multiple levels (individual, team, department, etc.) and the skills and approaches required to change behavior are very different than the methods used to get a software live.  Changing behavior requires you focus on people and organizational issues, not technology issues.

This is not something that your IT team can or should lead! You will need a dedicated team with the right skills and experience to do this crucial work.

Step 3: Sustaining Adoption & Success Year After Year

The third step is to make sure that you build out the organizational infrastructure required to manage future changes to the staff, software, processes, and related items that will impact ongoing user adoption and success.

You need to make sure you have people assigned to manage evolving needs and future complexities, and that they have the skills, resources and budget necessary to sustain success year over year.

Achieving Software Success #3: Sustaining Adoption & Success Year After Year - YouTube
Step 4: Take Actions to Improve Your Software Success
Achieving Software Success #4: How to Improve Your Software Success - YouTube

The last step is to recognize that a lot of the “traditional change management” activities that people take during a software implementation are not sufficient to deliver the initial or ongoing success you need with your technology investments.

A change of approach that is focused on sustaining long-term business benefits through driving ongoing, effective use of software is needed.

More videos Coming Soon...Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Did you find these short videos helpful? Tri Tuns is delivering more videos in 2019 and beyond, and we invite you to check out our YouTube channel to get more free resources. We have Quick Tips to help increase user adoption, webinar replays, and other insightful videos to help you learn how you can adjust your approach to achieving software and customer success.

Please click on the “subscribe” button on YouTube to stay up to date when we post new videos!

The post 4 Steps to Accelerating & Sustaining Software Success (Videos) appeared first on Tri Tuns.

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Why is your Customer Success role incredibly important?

The funny thing about technology is it can have a tremendous impact on productivity and effectiveness, yet it can also be a real source of fear and frustration. And with the rapid pace of technological change, many organizations are struggling with how to make software a real source of value.

Time and time again, we've seen software buyers and sellers waste their valuable resources (e.g., time, energy, money, reputation etc...) launching software that sits idle. They unintentionally prevent real and measurable value from software by doing the wrong things. For example, organizations (both software buyers and sellers) tend to focus on:

  • Selling the benefits of the software features
  • Providing some training on how to use the software functionality
  • Mandating use of the software
  • Expecting people to use the software as designed and intended

Unfortunately, this approach doesn't work because software adoption is not about what the software does. It's about what the user does, which requires moving beyond the product and focusing on people and behaviors. It requires teaching your stakeholders to take on something more complicated than just learning how to use the software and helping them change how they perform their jobs on a daily basis. This is where a lot of organizations struggle because they don't really know how to enable users to incorporate new behaviors into their daily routines. And this is why the role of Customer Success is so important in helping organizations identify and adapt to the changes (e.g., new processes, functions, roles, responsibilities etc...) that are needed to generate value and achieve the desired business outcomes from the software.

Since 2006, Tri Tuns has been solely focused on helping SaaS vendors and buyers, all over the world, learn how to drive, accelerate and sustain adoption of technology. 

Our proven methodologies and tactics help people in organizations of all sizes and complexities incorporate technology into their daily work routines and use it as designed and intended to experience the value and business results they expect from software!

The fastest and easiest way to learn what to do (and what not to do) to get adoption and value from software is to take our online self-guided Customer Success and Software Adoption training and  certification courses. Our SCORM compliant courses are great for individuals, teams and enterprise-wide training for both software sellers and buyers. Check out our Customer Success and Software Adoption courses below and please let us know if you have any questions. We're here to help you!

 

Check out our Customer Success online training course for 75+ proven strategies, tactics, processes and techniques to dramatically improve the results of your engagement with customers
Check out our Software Adoption online training & certification course for 50+ proven strategies, tactics, processes and techniques to drive, accelerate and sustain adoption of software
Check out our Customer Success Training Programs Catalog for access to expert strategies and tactics that significantly boost CS results and renewals
Check out our Fast Track Customer Success Workshop Catalog for access to fast and focused expert solutions to your CS challenges

The post Why Is Your Customer Success Role Incredibly Important? appeared first on Tri Tuns.

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When customer success (CS) first came into the mainstream, a lot of vendors focused very closely on their product. They were very focused on the specific features and functions. They spent a lot of time and effort explaining the product and its roadmap to customers.

From technology focus to customer outcomes focus

Slowly, we are seeing a shift where CS teams are focusing on understanding the customers business objectives and desired outcomes. The current thinking is that by focusing on business outcomes, you can better demonstrate the value that the customer is achieving from the vendors product. This value discussion then will lead to increased upsells and renewals. This is an important and impactful shift. But it alone is not enough.

The critical area that has long been overlooked by CS teams (and their customers) is identifying and proactively addressing the required people-behavior shift that is needed to achieve success. Once desired business outcomes have been defined, CS teams and their customers need to put people at the center of their focus and efforts. They need to concentrate on helping users - people - change their behavior so that they are adopting technology in a way that will deliver the required business outcomes.

The people - behavior challenge

The biggest challenge on the critical path to customer success, is not the technology itself. It is getting people to change the way they do their job on a daily basis, to embrace the system, and use it as designed and intended. It is figuring out how to make sure that current staff quickly shift their work behaviors and adopt the new system. And then it is about making sure that new hires quickly adopt the new desired work behaviors so that they too use the system in a way that creates value. And finally, the challenge becomes how to evolve and sustain effective user behaviors as both the technology product and the customers' organizations evolve.  Without this ongoing focus on ensuring users deliver desired behaviors, the customers' success will steadily fall over time.

Implications for Customer Success

What this means for customer success teams is that they need to ensure they have the expertise, experience, tools, and methodologies to help their customers address user behavior change and ensure software adoption over the long-term.  All of the KPIs, automations, onboarding conversations, and QBRs will deliver little results over the long-term if your CS team cannot help customers solve their underlying business challenge - that is, driving effective user adoption that will yield the required business results.

CS leaders looking to develop people-centric customer success should do the following:

1. Map out the critical path that a customer must take from the time of first contact (pre-sales) up to the point of achieving their desired business outcomes.  What specific behavior changes are required across the user populations to deliver this result?  What do your CS services due to address these critical needs?

2. Ask yourself this question: If the system was already live, people had already been trained on the technology, and we still are not effective adoption, what else could we do to change users' behavior?  If you exclude changes to technology and additional system training, and just focus on peoples' behavior, could you still drive success?

3. Increase capacity to drive behavior change. Most CS leaders will find that their organization lacks the expertise, tools and methods to identify the various factors that affect behavior and then proactively address these to drive desired behaviors across the user groups.  If you lack these skills and methods in your CS team, how will you be able to help customers address this core need?

4. Once you have the right expertise on your team, look outside of what is typically done on IT projects to figure out where different actions, tools and methods are needed to help users change their behavior and adopt technology.  Identify where you need to change how you engage with customers to get them to take the steps that will deliver desired behavior, and in turn, business outcomes.

5. Figure out how to scale your efforts.  You will quickly realize that many of your customers probably lack the expertise, experience and ability to drive software adoption within their own organization. The biggest force-multiplier you will find is that by increasing your customers ability to drive adoption within their own organization, they will remove a large amount of burden from your CS team.  You will probably need to educate your customers on effective software adoption practices and methods. And you will need to figure out how provide this type of education to your customers in a fast, scalable way.

Tri Tuns has worked with a large number of CS teams and the buyers of software to help them increase their ability to proactively drive and sustain effective software adoption. Our proven educational programs help buyers of software develop the skills they need to increase effective use of software within their own organizations.  We also have corresponding programs for vendors that teach CS teams how to help lead their customers in developing successful software adoption programs. Please contact us if you would like to learn more and see how our scalable programs can work for you and your customers.

Check out our Software Adoption Online Training & Certification Course
Check out our Customer Success Online Training & Certification Course

The post 5 must do steps for people-centric customer success appeared first on Tri Tuns.

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When customer success (CS) first came into the mainstream, a lot of vendors focused very closely on their product. They were very focused on the specific features and functions. They spent a lot of time and effort explaining the product and its roadmap to customers.

From technology focus to customer outcomes focus

Slowly, we are seeing a shift where CS teams are focusing on understanding the customers business objectives and desired outcomes. The current thinking is that by focusing on business outcomes, you can better demonstrate the value that the customer is achieving from the vendors product. This value discussion then will lead to increased upsells and renewals. This is an important and impactful shift. But it alone is not enough.

The critical area that has long been overlooked by CS teams (and their customers) is identifying and proactively addressing the required people-behavior shift that is needed to achieve success. Once desired business outcomes have been defined, CS teams and their customers need to put people at the center of their focus and efforts. They need to concentrate on helping users - people - change their behavior so that they are adopting technology in a way that will deliver the required business outcomes.

The people - behavior challenge

The biggest challenge on the critical path to customer success, is not the technology itself. It is getting people to change the way they do their job on a daily basis, to embrace the system, and use it as designed and intended. It is figuring out how to make sure that current staff quickly shift their work behaviors and adopt the new system. And then it is about making sure that new hires quickly adopt the new desired work behaviors so that they too use the system in a way that creates value. And finally, the challenge becomes how to evolve and sustain effective user behaviors as both the technology product and the customers' organizations evolve.  Without this ongoing focus on ensuring users deliver desired behaviors, the customers' success will steadily fall over time.

Implications for Customer Success

What this means for customer success teams is that they need to ensure they have the expertise, experience, tools, and methodologies to help their customers address user behavior change and ensure software adoption over the long-term.  All of the KPIs, automations, onboarding conversations, and QBRs will deliver little results over the long-term if your CS team cannot help customers solve their underlying business challenge - that is, driving effective user adoption that will yield the required business results.

CS leaders looking to develop people-centric customer success should do the following:

1. Map out the critical path that a customer must take from the time of first contact (pre-sales) up to the point of achieving their desired business outcomes.  What specific behavior changes are required across the user populations to deliver this result?  What do your CS services due to address these critical needs?

2. Ask yourself this question: If the system was already live, people had already been trained on the technology, and we still are not effective adoption, what else could we do to change users' behavior?  If you exclude changes to technology and additional system training, and just focus on peoples' behavior, could you still drive success?

3. Increase capacity to drive behavior change. Most CS leaders will find that their organization lacks the expertise, tools and methods to identify the various factors that affect behavior and then proactively address these to drive desired behaviors across the user groups.  If you lack these skills and methods in your CS team, how will you be able to help customers address this core need?

4. Once you have the right expertise on your team, look outside of what is typically done on IT projects to figure out where different actions, tools and methods are needed to help users change their behavior and adopt technology.  Identify where you need to change how you engage with customers to get them to take the steps that will deliver desired behavior, and in turn, business outcomes.

5. Figure out how to scale your efforts.  You will quickly realize that many of your customers probably lack the expertise, experience and ability to drive software adoption within their own organization. The biggest force-multiplier you will find is that by increasing your customers ability to drive adoption within their own organization, they will remove a large amount of burden from your CS team.  You will probably need to educate your customers on effective software adoption practices and methods. And you will need to figure out how provide this type of education to your customers in a fast, scalable way.

Tri Tuns has worked with a large number of CS teams and the buyers of software to help them increase their ability to proactively drive and sustain effective software adoption. Our proven educational programs help buyers of software develop the skills they need to increase effective use of software within their own organizations.  We also have corresponding programs for vendors that teach CS teams how to help lead their customers in developing successful software adoption programs. Please contact us if you would like to learn more and see how our scalable programs can work for you and your customers.

Check out our Software Adoption Online Training & Certification Course
Check out our Customer Success Online Training & Certification Course

The post 5 must do steps for people-centric customer success appeared first on Tri Tuns.

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4 Things You Should Do To Develop a Proactive, Confident CS Team

When we ask clients what they most want to have as an outcome from Customer Success (CS) training, they often indicate that they want their CS team to be more confident when working with customers.  They want customer success staff to be more proactive, deliver a great experience, and make sure the client achieves their goals.

What is interesting is that when we ask them about what their staff is like now, they are often far from this mark.  They tend to be reactive. They tend to be “pleasers” – that is, they want to deliver everything a client asks and not push back. They tend to be experts in the product, but not in how to help the customer get their internal staff to use the product in a way that delivers success. And they often tend to be intimidated or uncomfortable when working with senior leaders on the customer side.  Oh, and many of them to tend to be early in the careers, without tons of professional experience (or life experience).

So, if this is your situation, where do you need to focus? How do you start to develop your team?  Here are some key items that will help you develop your team.

1. Develop their ability to build trusting relationships

There is a wide spectrum of abilities when it comes to knowing how to quickly establish solid, trusting relationships that enable people to effectively collaborate. This is especially true when it comes to external staff (e.g., CSMs, consultants, etc.) trying to work with new clients.  Spending time teaching CSMs the skills, processes and techniques on how to develop these relationships will greatly enhance their ability and confidence when working with clients.

2. Develop ability to focus on mutual business success

CSMs need to learn how to help clients identify what are the business outcomes they hope to achieve through the widespread, consistent, effective use of your technology within your clients’ organizations. CSMs need to help the client shift from the features and functions of your product, to instead focus on the business outcomes they receive from the use of it.  In addition, we have found that when we teach CSMs how to discuss client outcomes and vendor outcomes in the context of mutual success, they gain the skills and confidence to “push back” effectively and professionally when the clients may ask for things that are outside the scope of what your CS team can provide.

3. Build their subject matter expertise in software adoption techniques

For CSMs to guide customers with confidence and authority, they need to have advanced knowledge about the actions that customers need to take in order to drive effective software adoption that will deliver the business outcomes that customers need. If CSMs don’t know the actions that will make customers successful (and which ones to avoid that prevent success), then they will never be truly confident in leading customers. By giving CSMs advances skills in this area, you increase both their ability to drive customer success, and their confidence to lead customer discussions on this topic.

 

4. Provide ongoing coaching and support to CSMs 

While providing training is a great way to jumpstart CSMs knowledge and confidence, training alone is not enough. We have found that what CSMs really need is ongoing coaching and support after the initial training to help them apply what they have learned and continue to advance their skills and confidence.  Based on the results we have seen from working with clients on a post-training basis, we have added this ongoing coaching and support to our training programs.

We have trained numerous customer success staff members in techniques around developing relationships, discussing success, managing client expectations, and methods for accelerating and sustaining effective, long-term user adoption of software. We are constantly impressed with how quickly CSMs can grow and develop with focused training and support in these areas.  If you are looking to advance your CS capabilities, we suggest you focus in these areas.

 

Check out our new Customer Success online training course for 75+ proven strategies, tactics, processes and techniques to dramatically improve the results of your engagement with customers
Check out our Customer Success Training Programs Catalog for access to expert strategies and tactics that significantly boost CS results and renewals
Check out our Fast Track Customer Success Workshop Catalog for access to fast and focused expert solutions to your CS challenges

The post 4 Things You Should Do To Develop a Proactive, Confident CS Team appeared first on Tri Tuns.

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