Why You Should Have a Customer-Centric Goal for Product Adoption "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs February 02 2021 True Customer Acquisition, Metrics, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 886 customer giving good feedback Product Management 3.544

Why You Should Have a Customer-Centric Goal for Product Adoption


Chances are you’re already measuring your product adoption in one way or another. It may be daily or monthly active users, or something more specific for your type of product. After speaking with many SaaS companies we found out that usually when it comes to adoption, many teams don’t take it further than setting up a metric and looking at the whole customer base as one.

That’s a bummer because you can draw so much value in having a granular approach to this metric. It can change the way you operate and onboard your customers altogether. Let’s see how.

Finding Exemplary Customers

The first thing you have to do is to identify 3, 5, or 10 customers that are your power users. The ones who really love your product, use it day and night, and who get the most value out of it. If you don’t know any of these users by name, take 3-5 customers with the highest adoption of your product.

Once you have your exemplary customers you can use their adoption as a benchmark for all of your other customers (if you’ve not done this yet – measure your adoption metric only for this small group of selected customers). The level of their adoption is a quantifiable measure of being a power user of your product.

customer giving good feedback
Find the customers who love your product – use their adoption as a benchmark for all of your other customers (Image: Shutterstock)

Apply Adoption Benchmark To All of Your Customers

If some customers aren’t using your product, or have low adoption, it means they receive less and less value, which will eventually lead to churn. With this in mind, take your benchmark and measure for every other customer of yours—how far are they from your benchmark?

Some will be quite close to it, others will be a long way off. For the ones furthest from your benchmark, the question to ask is why? Did they lack onboarding or training? What can you do to engage them and fix this/ By taking these actions, you will eventually be able to reduce churn.

Viewing Customer Onboarding Through the Lens of Adoption Benchmark

No one becomes a power user from day one. It takes time, especially in B2B products. You can view onboarding as a process. You want to use this process to take your customer on a journey from having little knowledge and usage of your product to becoming a power user and eventually meeting your benchmark.

Now the question is, what you need to do in order to bring the customer to the desired level of adoption?

  • If you’re selling to bigger customers: Measure adoption per customer and see how far they are from your benchmark. Don’t stop training and onboarding until you reach your adoption goal.
  • If you have a bigger group of smaller customers: Measure adoption per cohort. From the one time you closed in this month, what was adoption and how far was it from the benchmark?

In this way, you will be able to quantify how good of a job you’re doing with onboarding and discover what needs to be changed.

Bringing Customers Success Into a Picture

Adoption of the product should be one of the metrics your account managers or customer success teams monitor in order to identify which customers to focus on. For big customers, your product implementation efforts and training shouldn’t stop unless you reach your adoption benchmark for this customer.

Having an adoption benchmark in mind moves your understanding from ‘I just need to conduct certain steps in my implementation process’ to ‘I need to reach a certain level of adoption for customer Y’.

Reaching a certain level of adoption will require quite a different set of actions compared to just completing a formal product implementation process. In this way, you can ensure that your customers are truly happy after implementation, and you can use this momentum to ask for social proof or references.


If you’re in B2B, your customer will be different. Sometimes usage of your product may be tied to the length of the sales cycle of your customers. For example, if you were to measure the adoption of CRM for companies that sell big enterprise deals versus companies selling door-to-door, you would get quite a different picture. And that’s fine. The Important thing is that you identify different types of customers and different usage patterns of your product.

It may sound intimidating and difficult at first, but you can start by having one benchmark for your whole customer base, then iterate if somebody isn’t meeting your benchmark. You can consider if this is happening because it’s a different type of customer with a different usage pattern, or if it’s because you’ve perhaps not done a good job of onboarding.

In short, make sure you know your adoption benchmark and measure it per customer. Having such a granular approach is a great way to align your teams and focus on what matters—making sure each customer gets as much value from your product as possible and stays with you.

I’m always interested in the experience of other product people and so feel free to reach out and let me know yours! You’ll find my information in my bio below.