Salesforce User AdoptionGetting started with Salesforce is more than just a matter of turning on the licenses, building out your custom configuration and coding the integrations. The real key to success is getting your team on board. To effectively use the tool to improve critical KPIs that were identified when you started your Salesforce journey, it’s important to engage your users early on.

To achieve adoption success, having a robust plan is key. This adoption plan, while not necessarily as technical as the development and configuration, is an integral part of the implementation process and has dependencies throughout your transition.

It is important to start your Salesforce user adoption plan as you start your project. That way, at the time your custom solution is ready for deployment and transition, you are already moving in the right direction.

Engage key stakeholders

The best time to engage your key stakeholders is at the beginning of your project. Include them in your design and process discussions.

These stakeholders will help to identify the key pain points that your Salesforce solution aims to resolve. By engaging your key stakeholders early in the process, you can increase enthusiasm, identify early adopters and advocates and isolate the issues that may cause inertia.

Inertia can emerge in a few forms, but the one most damaging is that of influential team members not buying into the new vision. It is critical to convert the inertia into momentum. This starts with those team members.

Communicate key metrics early

Understanding how your new Salesforce system will impact your key metrics is vital. Often, a new Salesforce system may be the first Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool a company has used. In this case, qualitative measures may be all that is accessible regarding historic organizational information.

If your organization is new to a CRM, and you’ll be utilizing CRM data to drive business practices, it is important to capture the current processes. Specifically, identify the impacts that those current processes have on sales, marketing and operational processes.

This feedback will be extremely helpful in building new automations and workflows. It will also serve as points of reference once the system goes live.

If you’re transitioning from an existing system or you have solid metrics on your process, be sure to identify and report on them.

The way the metrics are measured may change as the result of your new solution, but having that as a baseline will help prove the value or conversely identify future opportunities to improve your new system.

Build hype

Build Hype Around SalesforceAs with any big change, rolling out a new Salesforce instance can be stressful to team members. It can be overwhelming to learn a new system, have increased visibility into workflows, and expand focus on metrics — all at the same time.

This is where it is critical to communicate a clear vision for adopting CRM and get your users excited about the process.

Being open and transparent on the rationale for the new system will build confidence as will the knowledge that team members have a voice in the process. CRM is a tool to help your team do even better at what they already do well.

Communicate early and often. Use monthly or quarterly company meetings to start to show the impacts of the metrics and where there is room for improvement.

Showing previews of the new system also builds excitement. Users will feel more involved in the process and share ownership in the success of the implementation.

Schedule multiple trainings

Now that you have your key stakeholders identified and your initial qualitative and quantitative metrics documented, it is important to bring those two factors into your new system.

By engaging those stakeholders in the prototype reviews, building of reports, and suggesting new process flows, they will gain ownership of the system.

Training needs to be a multi-step journey, and never a “one and done” thing. Start with a preview training. Follow-up with training on the basics. Gradually expand training opportunities to include more understanding of functionality.

Never miss an opportunity to train your users. The team members that were involved in the preview should also be included with the more general training provided. These individuals can be the voice of transition. They can help to answer questions on why new processes are implemented and speak to the metrics being gathered.

Specialized training should also include your system administrators. Engaging your admins along the training journey will allow the team to better understand the use cases of the system, and guide any follow-up training needs.

Training should be ongoing as your organization evolves, both for users involved in the initial implementation and any new hires that may join your organization in the future. System admins will play an essential role in the long-term viability of the system.

Identify internal advocates

The key stakeholders, power users and admins all can become your internal advocates to support a successful launch. These are the individuals that share in the excitement around the project from the beginning. They tend to be thought-leaders among the team.

Engage these advocates throughout the process. Encourage them to share their excitement with their teammates. The more you involve these team members throughout the process leading up to implementation, the more likely they are to become early-adopters and relay the value proposition of the transition to their peers.

Continue learning

Having a learning contest is a great way to get people engaged in their new Salesforce system. Providing rewards for high-adoption users can encourage user adoption and create some friendly competition.

Salesforce’s online resources are endless, from help articles to online forums. One resource that will likely prove especially valuable is Trailhead. Trailhead is a gamified way to learn the ins and outs of the platform. Users can earn badges as they move through the training modules, which can be a fun way to get your users learning together and engaging with one another as they progress.

With ongoing learning practices, both your team members and the overall organization will continuously improve.

About the Author

Brandon StauberBrandon Stauber is Practice Director at Saxa Solutions, a Salesforce partner that specializes in the healthcare and life sciences industries. Brandon is a Certified Scaled Agile Practitioner and a Certified Scrum Master. If your organization is in the HLS industry, contact Saxa to learn about our Salesforce-based solutions.

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