Product Strategy

How to prepare a product adoption strategy

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Product-led highlights the importance of allowing your product to sell itself, and lots of great outputs to achieve that, from messaging to great onboarding, but how do you decide where to put your focus first? This is where your product adoption strategy kicks in - understanding how to best prioritize that strategy as a team.
In this session we'll cover:

Team structure and OKRs
Understanding and mapping out your customer journey
Outline buyer and user personas
Working as a team to reach your goals

Andrea Saez:
Hello everyone. Welcome to this session on how to create a product adoption strategy. A little about me before we get started. My name is Andrea and I am part of the product team at ProdPad, a product software for product people. It sounds very meta, but yes, I'm a product person working for a product company that makes a product for product people, which means all I do all day long is think of a product and product strategy.

Andrea Saez:
Now, before we even get started talking about how to create a product adoption strategy for your product or service, let's take a step back first and define what product strategy even is. There have been a lot of amazing presentations here at Product-Led Summit about different ways of achieving retention, increasing product adoption, and even about defining a great onboarding experience. But these are all outputs that happen as a result of a strategy. So if you're planning on implementing any of these potential frameworks, you need to understand the following first.

Andrea Saez:
What are you hoping to achieve? Why are you doing it and how you will measure success? That is what product strategy is. It's about taking a step back from all these different outputs and really digging down into understanding if this is even worth doing, why and how you will know if it was worth looking into. In other words, what you're doing is actually deflecting the risk of business failure by defining this before you spend the time doing it. Now, with all of this in mind, you can convert the idea of product adoption into an objective your team can meet, and by making it quantifiable and measurable, you're then able to define success.

Andrea Saez:
Product adoption then becomes the objective to increase product adoption. This is now a North star objective your entire team can work towards. Now, why am I saying this? It's important to understand that product adoption isn't something that happens as a one-off. It happens at various points in the customer journey and therefore not something that realistically only a single team is responsible for achieving. This objective may be broken down into potential sub-objectives that will also have some key results that will allow you to measure progress.

Andrea Saez:
For example, you might have improving the onboarding experience for your customers as an objective that rolls up into your objective to increase product adoption, and increasing signups by 10% might be a key results you track of as part of that. So with that in mind, now that we've set our North star objective, our next step is to understand and map out the customer journey. Now, this will vary based on your particular product or service, but here's an example of what that customer journey might look like.

Andrea Saez:
You first have an initial awareness phase where the user is just learning about your brand. Then they may start a trial and start the education phase. Next comes a trial conversion into activation when they become a customer. Then there's the ongoing retention phase as they may look into renewing their subscription with you. Product adoption happens on every single one of these phases. Now, when you think about this in the larger scheme of things, the first few phases are likely going to be led by your sales and marketing teams, while the later phases are more likely to be tackled by your product and success teams. This is why increasing product adoption is an objective, so everyone knows how their work will have an impact.

Andrea Saez:
Now there is of course a bit of a caveat here, which is as any good product manager would say, an it depends situation. This will all depend on whether or not your product offers a free trial or not. Of course, based on the industry you may be part of. That said, it's still important to align your entire team. But before we get into applying different methods of getting people to adopt your product, do you need to add an extra layer onto this, which are your user and buyer personas.

Andrea Saez:
Every user's journey to your product is going to be different. You may be dealing with an advocate that has no power in making a purchasing decision, just like you may be dealing with someone who is making the purchasing decision, but doesn't really understand why they're buying your product in the first place. It's important to cater to different types of user and buyer personas to make that transition from awareness to education to activation a lot easier.

Andrea Saez:
Now, you can very easily go down a rabbit hole of personas. It can be a bit dizzying to try to cater to every single one, so it's always important to prioritize. If your objective is to cater to the purchasing persona, then focus on that persona alone and their specific journey, then measure and pivot as necessary. As a quick review, so far, we have set our objective to increase product adoption, which will keep our teams aligned. We have to find our user journey to better allow us to understand how users may interact with us as they go from awareness to retention, and we have outlined or user and buyer persona so that we know who it is we are providing value to and how we might best inform them about our product or service.

Andrea Saez:
Now that we've got these out of the way, we can get into the fun stuff, experimentation. This is where you're going to try out different things to see if they can actually make an impact on the objective that we set. There are a myriad of ways of outlining different experiments you might run. My favorite one is to use Teresa Torres' opportunity solution tree. This framework allows you to look at all possible opportunities with the view that there is no such thing as a bad idea, just potential ideas that will give you a desired outcome. This helps you prioritize problems to solve instead of features to build. If something doesn't give you a desired outcome, it doesn't get done.

Andrea Saez:
Now, when you translate that into a strategic document, which is really what we're aiming to, it will look something like this. What you are seeing here is an outcome based product roadmap. Unlike the old school way of creating roadmaps that are feature based and time-based, this type of roadmap focuses on aligning potential projects to objectives. Now, if you remember at the very beginning, we talked about the different aspects of the strategy, what, why and how you will measure success, which we can see right here if we zoom into the card at the top right.

Andrea Saez:
What is the title of the experiments or the problem you're looking to solve? Why is the reason why you were doing this, which you will find in the description box. The objectives are set as a way to understand how you will measure success. With every problem you look to solve, you're keeping in mind what step of the customer journey is impacting as well as the user or buyer personas that are involved. This particular roadmap is for the product team, but you can set the same structure for your sales, success and marketing teams, and because all groups are working together towards what are hopefully the same set of objectives, in this case, objectives that link back to your North star of increasing product adoption, even though you have different roadmaps, you're still aiming to impact and achieve the same thing.

Andrea Saez:
Now, if it turns out that our particular experiments or project didn't pan out as expected, you can write down the outcome of what were wrong, or right if it happens that it was successful and how you might replicate that success with the different experiments. With that, we've mapped out a solid product adoption strategy. We started out with our North star objective to increase product adoption. This may be distilled down into smaller group objectives that will roll up to that North star objective based on different teams, such as sales, success, or product.

Andrea Saez:
These OKRs will allow us to measure the success of our experiments, always with the thought in mind of what we're doing, why we're doing it and who are we impacting in their journey. I hope you enjoyed this talk. If you want to follow up, or if you have any questions or comments, I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach out via Twitter. My handle is on the screen. Thanks again for attending. Hope to hear from you soon.

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Gretchen Duhaime
Andrea Saez
Product Growth and Education Specialist at ProdPad
Andrea has worked in product management and support for over 10 years with companies in various growth stages, always with a focus customer-centered outcomes and best practices.