At Hearsay, we’re fortunate to have a team of subject matter experts who enjoy sharing their knowledge on building strong, scalable digital marketing programs.
Today, we’re speaking with two of our incredible female leaders:
Katie Meyers, our Senior Director of Professional Services, manages our implementation process. Her team works with key firm stakeholders to ensure our software works well with their existing tech stack, easily integrates into users’ daily workflows, and meets key objectives.
Kelly Piccione, our Vice President of Customer Success, manages ongoing customer partnerships. Her team helps customers achieve short and long-term strategic initiatives by promoting software adoption and helping program leaders maximize their Hearsay investment.
Here’s what they had to say on successfully driving adoption.
What are some of the most common adoption challenges firms face?
“Implementing new software into any organization requires change management,” says Katie. “When there’s no formal process, the end-user experience is often overlooked, resulting in low or slow adoption.” So, what does a solid software implementation plan include?
Katie explains, “At a minimum, think through the broad strategy behind your rollout process. Identify an executive sponsor or sponsors, determine who’s available to help, consider how often you want to send messages to end users, and talk through how you want to track success at a high level. My team uses a resourcing matrix that defines every implementation support role and its corresponding tasks. We also have communication playbooks filled with email templates that customers can use to simplify launch prep.”
Kelly says, “I want to go back to the sponsor point because I’ve found that one of the biggest mistakes firms make is not having a consistent executive sponsor. It’s very beneficial when a new initiative is wholly supported by a respected leader. Firms that fail to take this step often struggle with driving adoption. On the flip side, adoption happens more organically when firms have a strong internal champion in place.”
Not having a clear vision for how to measure success is another challenge Kelly helps firms tackle. She says, “Before you can measure progress towards a goal, you have to define what success looks like. Some customers come to us with pre-selected corporate goals to work towards, while others need help pinpointing the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to focus on. In either case, our Customer Success Managers (CSMs) work with teams to identify goals that have a significant impact on their firm’s long-term success. Once set, we use a custom scorecard, which typically includes things like adoption rate percentages, engagement rates, and total user count, to track progress over time.
After we lay a strong foundation, our training and education team can provide tiered training—customized by user group sophistication or experience—to encourage strong adoption and build program momentum. Meanwhile, CSMs perform a feature audit to ensure customers are maximizing their investment. Last but not least, CSMs partner with our Value Consultants to analyze program impact and provide customers with actionable ways to optimize performance.”
How can firm leaders help successfully promote adoption and usage?
“Some firms make software use mandatory—which, of course, significantly boosts adoption,” says Kelly. “But if a mandatory charter isn’t right for your firm, using gamification and incentives to inspire friendly competition can also increase adoption. We have tools built into our software to help.”
Katie again points back to the importance of an executive sponsor. She says, “Using a ‘show don’t tell’ approach—or in other words, leading by example—is a strong motivator. Our most successful programs have involved senior leaders who model the behaviors they want others to adopt. For example, firms using Hearsay Social can ask leaders to regularly share corporate updates, market trends, or photos and insights from field and industry events.”
As far as promoting excitement around your product internally, nailing your messaging is key. Kelly says, “You need to be able to clearly communicate what your end users have to gain. It’s important to understand and focus on things that each role cares about to make sure you’re offering compelling benefits. Focus on things that make their lives easier and make them look good. For example, compliance teams may get excited about being able to rely on automated workflows to streamline supervision requests, while agents and advisors love having the option to delegate tasks.”
How should program leaders troubleshoot adoption challenges?
Before taking any other action, Kelly encourages program managers to connect with their CSM and clearly communicate any concerns. She says, “We’ve seen it all before, so we can help you work through any challenge. We also have lots of resources—from admin messaging templates to proven outreach strategies. We also have in-house subject matter experts who can provide one-on-one training and Value Consultants, who can help you evolve and enhance your content, marketing, and compliance strategies over time.”
How can firms continue to promote adoption as their programs mature?
Katie encourages firms to take a microscope to their program on a regular basis. She says, “As an example, we host quarterly business reviews, which are roadmapping sessions that help program administrators stay focused on growth and strategic goals. We also share any new features we’ve launched and explain how they can add value. This helps program managers generate continuous excitement because they can come to the table with new tools that save time, introduce new outreach opportunities, or streamline processes.”
Kelly adds, “The needs and goals of a program definitely evolve over time. That’s why, once a program reaches a certain level of maturity, we do a deep dive and make sure we’re maximizing the value of each customer’s Hearsay investment. During this process, we analyze various program components, look for opportunities to improve and define high-level goals for administrators to focus on. For our customers, there are many components to this—including but not limited to strategy sessions that help teams improve things like social user maturity, content strategy, and compliance efficacy.”
What are some creative ways you’ve seen firms drive more adoption?
“Keep a close eye on your competition,” encourages Katie. “For end users, this could mean watching how successful agents or advisors at other firms are building a social presence and mimicking their behaviors. Program leaders should also consistently evaluate internal teams. See who the champions are and publicly recognize and celebrate their efforts.”
“I agree and will add that internal competition can also be a powerful motivator,” says Kelly. “Our CSMs can pull industry benchmarking data that shows how individual end users perform in relation to both industry peers and competitors. Another unique thing about Hearsay is we encourage and facilitate connections between customers. We have events a couple of times a year that present unparalleled networking opportunities—both with our in-house experts and with these folks. Learning what’s working or what hasn’t worked can help you optimize faster.”
To recap, the formula for building a high-performing program is:
- Commit adequate resources to aid in software implementation and launch
- Have a strong executive sponsor or sponsors who lead by example
- Thoroughly leverage your partnership with Hearsay
- Tailor benefit positioning to specific roles by focusing on the things that matter to them
- Continually build excitement by sharing new ways to increase program value over time (new features, strategies, etc.)
- Celebrate internal achievements, learn from competitors, and encourage friendly competition
Last question. If readers only remember one thing from this article, what should it be?
Katie says, “Remember that adoption starts as soon as the contract is signed. It’s not something you should start to focus on a year down the line. Our most successful programs are led by firms that have been proactive about driving adoption from day one.”
Kelly adds, “Firms that embrace their CSM as a true thought leader and collaborative partner tend to thrive. We’ve seen some incredible results come from programs led by individuals who are really bought into scaling and optimizing their program over time.”
Thank you, Katie and Kelly, for sharing your wisdom and insight! If you liked this post, you’re in luck! We’ve got more thought leadership content featuring our in-house experts coming soon.
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