Customer and User Success

IT User Adoption – a Question of Motivation

This famous clip from the movie Office Space is a quick reminder of one of the most commonly overlooked issues when implementing IT systems – motivating people to work. And sure, Initech is a fictional company, but it actually resembles a lot of organizations with which I have worked over the years. 

In this scene, the employee Peter Gibbons tells the efficiency consultants how his organization approaches motivation and the impact it has on his work efforts. Does this sound like your organization?

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How do you motivate people to use your IT system?

Whenever you implement an IT system, look at all things affecting employee motivation. Sometimes there are issues with compensation and incentives. Other times the management may actually be demotivating employees. 

As Peter says, “I have 8 different bosses right now…so that means when I make a mistake I have 8 different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only motivation – not to be hassled.”

Would WIIFM motivate this employee?

Convention wisdom (which is high on convention, and low on wisdom) often says that when implementing an IT system you should try to “sell people on what’s in it for me”. 

Do you think trying to sell Peter on WIIFM would work in this case? Of course not. There are bigger issues that need to be fixed here. And unless these other items are fixed, WIIFM will not work.

So, what will you do to make sure you have motivated people to use your system? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us on the Customer Success Practitioners group on LInkedIn.

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“We don’t care. We don’t have to.” …uh, yes you do.

Do you remember this Saturday Night Live advertisement skit with Lily Tomlin as a phone company employee?

I remember watching this clip when I was a kid and laughing because it was so true. Back then, the phone company was the only game in town. And they knew it.

Customer choice means vendors need to care

Now, just a few years (ok, decades) later, these same phone companies are struggling to reduce customer churn. They are (finally?) realizing that things have changed and the customer now has more power in the relationship. And customers are not afraid to use it.

SaaS vendors need to focus on keeping customers...

Like phone companies, SaaS vendors – or any vendor selling on a subscription basis – realize that reducing churn and keeping customers for as long as possible is essential to their success. Unlike the phone companies of yesteryear, they can’t hold customers hostage and just expect the money to keep rolling in.

…but what do they need to do to reduce churn?

Many organizations recognize the need to retain customers, but they are not sure how.

The secret is simple. If you want to retain customers, make sure they:

1. Are getting value from your product or service, and

2. They enjoy their experience with your organization

If you can do that, you will keep them. As soon as these two things fall short, your customer will leave.

Focus on customer success to reduce churn

Many companies have invested in improving the customer experience and increasing customer satisfaction ratings. Now they to focus on making sure customers are getting full value / benefits realization. 

For many organizations, this means creating a Customer Success Management program. Customer success is not account management or even customer service. It is all about helping the customer achieve the measured benefits and ROI that is meaningful to them. It requires different methods, tools, and activities than before.

Do you have a Customer Success Management program? If not, why not? If so, how has it affected your customer churn? 

Please share your thoughts and experiences on the Customer Success Practitioners group on LinkedIn.

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Customer Success Management (CSM): Your Critical Path to Customer Renewals

SaaS vendors – or any vendor that sells on a subscription basis – know that retaining customers is critical for growing revenues and ensuring the overall prosperity of their organization. The challenge is that historically companies have focused on the initial sale and building new relationships. Renewals werenice, but not the top focus area.

Most companies have a process for closing the initial sales

Over the years, I have worked with lots of great sales and service organizations when they were implementing CRM systems. We spent a lot of time mapping out sales stages, defining sales activities, and building sales tools. 

What was clear is that they have invested lots of time and money in creating a sales organization that knows what it is doing and can close deals. That is, they could close new deals. 
But what about retaining customers?

But they don't have a plan for what happens next

The rise of SaaS and subscription pricing means that customer renewal processes need to evolve too. SaaS vendors need to identify what needs to happen to make the customer choose to renew year after year. And they need to look at this from both their perspective and the perspective of the customer. 
The image below shows the typical approach many SaaS companies take with renewals. Vendors tend to focus solely on the initial sale and then waits for the renewal period to come around. Sure, they will provide some customer support and will focus on maintaining the relationship with the buyer, but they do little to ensure the customer is getting value from the system….which is the main criterion on which customers base their renewal decisions.
To be profitable, SaaS vendors need to focus on Customer Success Management (CSM) to promote IT user adoption and measurable ROI.

Typical SaaS Renewal Process

And they lose a lot of customers at renewals

The problem is this: the customer has a different renewal process. 

That is, driving effective and sustainable user adoption and (therefore) getting measurable value/ROI are on the customers’ critical path for renewals. 
If they don’t achieve these two things, they don’t renew. Period.
To be profitable, SaaS vendors need to focus on Customer Success Management (CSM) to promote IT user adoption and measurable ROI.

IT User Adoption & ROI are critical path for customer renewals

Including Customer Success Management activities after go-live is critical to renewals

Sustaining user adoption and achieving measurable ROI has always been the Achilles’ heel for IT projects. Prior to SaaS software, these problems fell 100% to the customer. Now, for the first time, the SaaS model means the vendor has a vested interest in helping customers solve these problems.
So, what is a SaaS vendor to do to help customers? Establish Customer Success Management (CSM) teams to help ensure customers achieve their goals and renew they software. 
Quite simply, profitable SaaS vendors recognize CSM is on the critical path to customer renewals. And they must continue to provide CSM services over the life of the customer relationship, for once, a customer stops getting value from the system, and they stop renewing.
To be profitable, SaaS vendors need to focus on Customer Success Management (CSM) to promote IT user adoption and measurable ROI.


Five Things Every Chief Sales Officer (CSO) Needs to Know About CRM

Most CSOs recognize the potential value CRM systems can deliver to their organization. Where they get into trouble is knowing what it takes to turn that potential into a reality.

CRM vendors show you what is possible, not probable

CRM vendors show you what's possible, not what's probableI have sat through many a CRM vendor demonstration. Most have it down cold. They walk you through scenario after scenario, weaving in a great narrative of how much time you will save, how your costs of sales will go down, and how new sales will skyrocket.

What they don’t tell you is that without a lot of work with your people – not your technology – you have very little chance of it actually happening in your organization. I have seen many failed CRM implementations and precisely zero of them were due to technical issues alone. 

*You* need to devote time getting people to use the system

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions of CRM systems is that if you build a great, intuitive system, and then train people on the technology, then your staff will use it.

The reality is quite the opposite. If you want to get your people to use the system – and use it consistently – you will need to spend a lot of your own time driving effective adoption of the system. You will need to set clear expectations for acceptable system use. 

You will need to make sure they have the tools and information they need to use the system. 

You will need to monitor the results (read: YOU will need to login the system yourself to make sure everything is entered correctly). 

And the hardest of all, you will need to hold people accountable if they don’t do as you require.

When people don’t use the system, it costs you

One of the hardest things for CSOs is to penalize sales reps that close deals (especially the big ones), but refuse to use internal systems. But remember, every time your sales reps are not using the system, it costs you. Your total cost of sales goes up. It takes more of YOUR scarce executive time because you are now forced to spend extra effort managing deals that users have not entered into the system.   This is time you could spend driving other sales or supporting your other sales reps.

Adjust incentive plans to drive IT adoption, hold people accountable and reward results

Adjust incentive plans to drive adoption

CRM systems only deliver their potential if they are consistently and effectively used by ALL users. What matters is not just how well they do their jobs (read: hitting their numbers) but how well they actually do their jobs (read: using the CRM system as required).

To maximize CRM adoption, you need to adjust your incentive plans to include a requirement that the system is used consistently, effectively, accurately, and within prescribed time frames. 

Hold people accountable and reward results

When people mess up – and they will – YOU need to hold them accountable. This may mean a lot of tough conversations. In some cases, it may mean there is turnover in your organization. But ultimately, if you don’t hold people accountable and enforce your CRM adoption policies, YOU will not be successful.

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