Michael Sampson’s make-or-break user adoption strategies

Michael Sampson wrote the book on user adoption; a few years ago, we brought him into our offices to help us think about new ways to help customers drive adoption and engagement. He knows his stuff. He also presumably has some tips for conquering jet lag, as he made a quick stop at Collabosphere sandwiched by long flights to and from New Zealand.

In the first of his two talks at the conference, Sampson outlined his make-or-break strategies for businesses looking to boost user adoption of new technology.


Why are you doing this?

Hopefully it sounds rudimentary, but sometimes even decision-makers aren’t quite sure why they’ve brought a new tool on board, or what exactly they’re hoping this tool will help them accomplish; “become more productive” is a great resolution, but you’ll want to be more specific when you’re selling your new solution to your team members.

If instead your team is fuzzy on the reasons they’ve been forced to change their day-to-day processes, user adoption will suffer.

“Great technology is not enough in and of itself,” Sampson said. “…Adoption doesn’t just happen. Poor adoption is a very common issue—[and] if you can’t drive adoption, you’re not going to see value.”

[bctt tweet=”Great technology is not enough. If you can’t drive adoption, you’re not going to see value.”]


User adoption: seven steps to success

Sampson stressed these seven steps as you’re embarking on a new journey with a new solution:

  1. Really understand the technology. “Teach the what,” Sampson advised. What is this tool? What are the opportunities for your organization? What new things will you be able to do? Which inefficient processes are being replaced or revamped?
  2. Outline the vision. It’s good to have this in writing.
  3. Accept that technology is a small factor in success. People have the power. Speaking of powerful people: secure executive support if at all possible. “Senior execs making use of a workspace to run meetings and prepare documentation helps with setting the tone inside the organization,” said Sampson.
  4. Determine your governance success. “Governance” may be a cringe-worthy word, but it’s critical to your collaborative success, particularly if you want a solution that can hold up to future scrutiny, and thrive and adapt in the long-term.
  5. Engage your team. Make every effort to help your team understand how this new solution is going to make their life easier and more efficient. If you have examples of real people already successfully using the solution in your organization, be sure to share them; social proof can go a long way. Opt for hands-on training when possible; 1-to-1 coaching is often listed as one of the most effective user adoption strategies.
  6. Put energy behind your adoption efforts. Sampson rather controversially said that your team may not start dancing and celebrating upon hearing that you’ve bought iMeet Central for them (OK, maybe it’s not that controversial). Clever ways of introducing your new tool will help build excitement; check out this great example from FleishmanHillard in Toronto.
  7. Pursue increasing value. Everyone is using your new solution and everything is working just as you anticipated! Now what?


Watch the full talk below! Or, for more on the topic, check out this great presentation from Ansira’s Beth Lee from Collabosphere 2014, and learn how one iMeet Central customer got their usage rates skyrocketing.

Post by Adam McKibbin

Adam McKibbin is the content marketing manager for iMeet Central. His writing has been featured in Adweek, the Chicago Tribune and The Nation, and he’s produced content for some of the leading tech brands on the Fortune 500.