Accelerating the adoption process

The adoption pathway is a simple concept which describes the various stages a prospect goes through when adopting your product or service. The idea is that you take your target audience on a journey from being blissfully unaware of your offer, to becoming a regular customer and ultimately an advocate. As their adoption increases, so do your sales. 

A simple adoption pathway would look something like this:

The Adoption Pathway

 


This simple diagram is so powerful if you understand the concept. If you can identify how to efficiently take your target customers though each step required to adopt your product, you will accelerate your sales cycle and increase your sales revenues.

So how do you accelerate your customers adoption of your product?

Firstly, you must honestly assess where your customer is in terms of their adoption of your offer at this moment in time. You may notice that there is no timeline on this process. It may be possible to move a customer from interest to usage in one call. If you have an especially immediate product you may even gain advocacy after the first use. I remember the first time I had an Espresso Martini. I went directly from being unaware that this product even existed, to becoming an advocate for it in approximately ten minutes.

However, the more complex the sale and the bigger the ask, the more likely it is that you will move from each stage of the adoption process in gradual steps.  If this is the case, then you can identify and set some objectives to move from one stage of adoption to the next. These objectives build your daily activity and plan your days for you.  

Step1. Generating interest – What objectives could you set and what activities can you plan that will generate interest in customers that aren’t even aware of your product? These activities can simply be communicating the availability of the product. Broad promotional meetings and exhibitions are good ways to generate interest and leads.

Step 2. Moving to an evaluation. You’ve gained some interest from your customer and now have some leads to chase. You now need to plan some activities that will sparkan evaluation. There will be some fact finding involved in this scenario. You need to find out: Who are your competitors? Is there a specification? Who are the key individuals that need to be involved in access valuation or is this just one person? You can objectives and activities to reach this step.

Step 3. Move to a trial.  You have been successful in gaining a favourable evaluation.  You now want to convert this evaluation to some use of your product or service.  If this is a relatively small commitment and simple product or service, this could be a relatively easy process. You could provide a free sample, like my experience of an Espresso Martini. I was given a small sample, and this was enough to convince me to buy a whole drink. If the adoption of your product requires a large commitment over a period of time you will most probably be required to conduct a longer trial. You may have noticed that many internet services often start with a free trial period before you actually pay for the service.  Apple Music is a great example of this. When you sign up you get 3 months free. The idea is that by the end of the three months you will have grown so accustomed to the service that you will continue with it at its full price (or you forget after three months that you are even paying for it). Free things are fantastic for this stage of adoption – if you are selling a very high-ticket item you may have to become more imaginative in how you can facilitate a trial. A good trial will before a defined period, as you don’t want it to go on indefinitely even if it is generating you some income.  Ensure there is a criterion set that will reach a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ conclusion. You could create an evaluation form which demonstrates the benefits and advantage of your offer. There are many activities and objectives that you can build for this stage of adoption.

Step 4.  Regular usage.  We are now assuming that the trial has been successful,and the product has performed well enough to be used on a regular basis.  What activities can you think of that would ensure regular adoption. This is usually where account management and a focus on service provision becomes vital.   These activities will be things such as regular customer face to face contact, service reviews and dealing with any dayto day issues that arise.

Step 5. Develop Advocacy. We are going to assume that you have supported your customer and ensured a positive experience in the adoption process. This should hopefully lead to developing customers that are prepared to endorse you and your product. This crosses over into business development once more, rather than simply account management. One of the best ways to develop interest in new customers is to use an advocate to do the selling for you. Again, this stage of the adoption process will provide many activities that will plan yourdays.


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