Here’s Your Business Report Card

by Anil Kamath

posted on 03-21-2019

How many of us sign-up for the gym membership at the beginning of the year but end up cancelling it after a few months because it did not help you get fit. What if you got a grade every month for how well you were using your gym membership? It could tell you how many times do you went to the gym, if you used the elliptical trainer, sauna, swimming pool or took advantage of the free yoga classes. It could recommend a trainer in the gym who could take your fitness to the next level.

We at Adobe realized that the same is true in the business world. Customers buy products but do not get the full benefit of what they are paying for. They then end up canceling their SaaS subscriptions or switching vendors. A lose-lose for everyone involved.

Adobe’s new adoption scoring for Experience Cloud is changing this by giving our customers digital adoption scorecards that tell them whether they’re using our products to their full potential.

The shift to adoption marketing

In B2B, the customer-vendor relationship often diminishes after the point of sale. Product roadmaps are built with customer input limited to a few informal surveys. Customer success organizations focus on onboarding customers, managing escalations and renewals. Finally, leadership teams keep a pulse on customers through direct feedback in customer meetings. But modern customers are demanding more – they need to be sure that they are getting ongoing value from the relationship. Over two-thirds of firms that drop their B2B providers do so because they don’t think vendors are paying enough attention to them.

As a result, vendors can no longer focus on retention marketing — making a sale and only re-appearing when it’s time for a contract renewal. Customers want a partner to guide them and check in with them along the way. They want businesses to help them make sure they are getting good value out of every product and service they have purchased– or fully “adopting” products.

To win long-term customers, today’s vendors, especially those in the SAAS industry, will need to actively engage with clients about the products they already bought — not just try to sell them on new ones.

Adobe understands this and is working hard to make sure our customers succeed. We want our product delivery to be so good that renewal is simply a consequence of doing business with us.

Am I getting fit?

Enter adoption scoring.

Several companies have tried to measure customer engagement by tracking metrics like monthly active users or monthly ticket volume and then engaging with customers when these metrics worsened. However, there are several problems with this approach. First, these metrics don’t really capture the customer experience. They are poor proxies at best. What customers really need is someone who can anticipate when they are getting stuck and recommending actions to help them mature in their product journey. Second, these approaches tend to be backward looking and result in reactive and tactical remedies that try to address symptoms rather than solve real customer challenges with using the product. To develop the most accurate scorecards possible, Adobe parsed through customer data for three and a half years, simplified that data, and packaged it up for customer use. Now, Adobe can track more than 50 different metrics to determine how customers are using — or not using — Experience Cloud.

Adobe then distills those data points to generate an adoption score on a one to ten scale. A ten signifies that a customer is using an Adobe product to its full potential.

The scorecard also lists specific Adobe capabilities that the customer is not using. For example, it might note that a business is “using advertising analytics to analyze paid search data” but not employing “automated personalization.” Or it might inform customers that they are missing out on sophisticated integrations between different Adobe products — like Adobe Analytics and Ad Cloud.

The scorecard also includes a percentile ranking that allows customers to see how well they’re doing compared to their industry peers. Adobe leverages data across its customer base to compare the customer to their peer group to identify and share industry trends and benchmarks creating a race to the top that drives customers to get better at deriving value from their Adobe products in benefit of their business

Adoption scores are used by Adobe’s leadership, product management teams, and customer success teams bringing each team on a common understanding of how different customers are using different aspects of our products.

Finally, we match each of our customers with a customer relationship manager, who leveraging artificial intelligence through Adobe Sensei, pinpoints features they are in position to adopt based on where the customers are in their maturity cycle and offers them tips for improving their product adoption.

Empowering our clients to succeed

Already, Adobe is seeing a strong correlation between adoption scores and retention rates.

After one large technology company viewed its adoption score, employees discovered they were missing out on tools that would help them find anomalies in their sales data. Incorporating those insights helped them raise their score and better adapt to changes in the market. Adoption Scores has also led to improved value realization with tangible financial results. For instance: One of our customers attributed $25-30 MM in revenue lift in 6 months from improved adoption of Adobe products from the increased awareness created by the adoption score.

Another customer in the restaurant sector was so happy with Adobe insights that they asked to review them monthly.

Even if customers score highly, adoption scores help them understand what they’re doing right. When a financial services customer discovered their Adobe Analytics adoption score was in the top 1 percent for its industry, leadership was “thrilled.”

B2B marketing companies are collecting massive amounts of data on how customers are using products. We believe great products are built on great customer experiences and this data helps us at Adobe obsess over the Customer Experience. At Adobe, we also make that data available to our customers, and package it in a way they can use to improve and grow their own businesses.

Topics: News, Adobe Summit

Products: Advertising Cloud, Analytics, Audience Manager, Campaign, Experience Manager, Experience Cloud, Target