Who am I writing for? SaaS product managers and founders.
We recently had someone move on from Wingify (the company that owns VWO and Pushcrew). After they were gone, admin was doing a review of our software expenses and found a line-item for Popcorn Metrics with no clear owner. The person who had left was the only one using it, and no one knew why, or what it was used for.
Removing Popcorn is as easy as removing a code snippet, so I reached out to them asking to cancel.
This is the problem when your product hasn’t been adopted widely or deeply. You might have sold the product in that a customer is paying for it, but you haven’t truly sold it until they’re using it extensively.
By width, I mean that multiple hierarchies across departments in a company are using the product. Best examples would be:
If a product solves the basic needs of any workforce, it’s likely to be adopted widely. The more widely a product is used, the more value it’s providing and consequently, it’s difficult to remove.
By depth, I mean the level of dependence on a product. For me, defining features of deep adoption are:
Placing the products we use at VWO on a depth/width graph, here’s what I came up with:
Explaining the graph above:
Not all products can have wide and deep adoption, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. If a product can capture even one important process for a team, the likelihood of churn reduces significantly. For example, Canva could if it targeted teams that need quick, good-looking images without relying on a graphic designer. First thing comes to my mind is social media teams in B2C businesses who are running campaigns all the time. Or take Recruiterbox from above, not widely or deeply adopted in the org but does a damn good job of streamlining the recruiting process.
Products tend to have higher a lifetime if they have some of the following properties:
Salespeople are trained to hack the selling process by reaching the highest decision maker as soon as possible. No doubt this still works, but in a world where hierarchies are flattening, practitioners who’re going to be actually using the product are becoming important factors in the buying process. Making a quick sale without adequate follow-up support from customer success managers leaves you at a risk of being upended after the contract period.
The Customer Success function can have a massive impact on increasing lifetime value if they understand that their goal in the first few months is to increase width and depth of adoption of the product, and they’re incentivized towards those goals.
Based off my Canva point, I realize that when you’re creating a product, it’s important to think of the process and data that you’re going to own, and for the teams + hierarchies that you’re going to own them. And this needs product + human effort.
I’m surprised why products don’t integrate more deeply with email. There’s this entire hullabaloo about AI and chatbots right now (early 2017). I’d instead focus energies on much a deeper sync with Gmail and Outlook. After all, that’s where the majority of decision makers spend their time.
Guest Post by Siddharth Deswal, Lead Marketing at VWO. This post originally appeared on http://deswal.org/saas/to-reduce-churn-your-saas-needs-to-be-adopted-widely-and-deeply/