I’m excited to see more B2B marketing teams expanding their focus beyond primarily net-new customer acquisition, and starting to impact (and measure) marketing-influenced customer lifetime value.  Most often this is measured based on renewals, repeat purchases, upgrades/upsells and more.

These financial metrics are critical, but the metric and action the most often leads to these financial customer success metrics is adoption.

If your new customer is excited about the purchase but fails to begin actively using your product or service, you’re in trouble.  If they start strong but quickly fade, you’re also in trouble.

Adoption isn’t about using the whole product either.  You can create immense stickiness with just a handful, sometimes even just one or two, features that really matter.

We worked with a company years ago that had built a new customer onboarding process that systematically went through every. Single. Feature.  It was thorough but exhausting.  Intimidating even.

So we went into the data to find out which features had the highest correlation with increased product usage, stickiness and retention.  And we found that just two features – two out of dozens – caused the most stickiness.

From that point forward, the entire onboarding and new customer activation process began to focus on just those two features.  And wouldn’t you know, product adoption, retention AND evangelism (which led to significantly higher referral volume) all increased.

Adoption is a leading indicator of future financial performance from your most loyal customers, and it’s a metric you can begin focusing on right away.

Take a benchmark of which customers begin adopting specific features right away and why.  Find the correlation between specific features (they could be less obvious, counter intuitive features) and customer stickiness, satisfaction and retention.

For profit center marketers who may already be measuring marketing’s influence on closed deals (not just from leads generated by marketing), marketing-influenced adoption might be the next step to impacting a broader span of the customer lifecycle.