13 Salesforce Software Adoption Strategies To Ensure Maximum ROI

Salesforce Training
Salesforce Adoption

Salesforce adoption is a funny business!

To put it plainly, user adoption on Salesforce is just enabling a user to use it as the in-house CRM. But in reality, it is definitely not as easy as it sounds. A lot of companies even leverage salesforce adoption software to achieve their user adoption goals.

In fact, it is nerve-wracking, time-consuming, complex, and in adverse cases, leads to the biggest scare for any manager/admin – low ROI. (cues dramatic music…)

Here’s the brighter side.

By virtue of its integrational capabilities and synergy with many other applications, Salesforce is already in the pole position amongst Enterprise CRMs. According to a report by Salesforce, “Implementation of Salesforce will increase sales win rate by 26% and sales revenues by 28%.”

13 Salesforce Adoption Strategies To Ensure Maximum ROI

But, when do you even marginally come to meeting such numbers?

Well, there’s only one answer to that and that’s the funny business that I mentioned about it earlier.

You will not see the ROI on Salesforce software right from the moment you buy/implement it! You will see the ROI, only and only when your the rate of adoption of Salesforce increases substantially.

Adoption Matters Because ROI Matters

The best part of adoption is that no matter where you are in your Salesforce journey, you can get started right away. Be it that you’re considering to buy Salesforce, working on implementing it, or even have been using it for years; the adoption process would be fairly similar.

13 Salesforce Adoption Strategies To Ensure Maximum ROI

Your Salesforce adoption processes and practices should be laser focussed – to ensure that your Salesforce is not only used correctly, and it is ingrained into your work force’s daily routines and work-life.

When you see this become a reality, then you would feel that implementing Salesforce was the best decision ever!

Well, what about the ROI then?

If done right, your improved Salesforce adoption will justify your Salesforce ROI. That means you could possibly increase your sales win rate by 26% and your sales productivity by about 38%, or a lot more.

As a gist, here’s how better adoption of Salesforce will justify your ROI:

  • Increase in your workforces Salesforce productivity
  • Greater transparency and 360 views of prospect/customer data on Salesforce
  • Real-time visibility into ongoing and future deals
  • Better data quality and accuracy on Salesforce

So far, we’ve discussed a lot about the WHY?

In the next section, I’ll explain and guide you on the HOW. And I’ve made the list of best practices as exhaustive as possible. 🙂

For ease of understanding, I have split the Salesforce Adoption strategies into multiple phases on the basis of your Salesforce implementation cycle.

Planning and Strategizing Salesforce Adoption

This phase is before the rollout of Salesforce. It will explain the different must-have strategies to iron out the wrinkles in your  strategy right from the start.

1. Understand and learn from your End-users

The first step of crafting your Salesforce adoption strategy is to understand your end-users. You are empowering them to do their jobs in a better way with Salesforce, for that you need to first learn what they need on the CRM to do their jobs effectively.

Discuss the features, reports, dashboards and the practical functionalities with selected employees from your Sales team. Their perspective on how things can be will help you refine your Salesforce configuration as well as the adoption plan. With this understanding, you can effectively act and reduce their pain-points considerably.

Also, probably your organization’s IT team is working on configuring your Salesforce. So, it’s up to you to act as a bridge between sales and IT to drive it to a success.

2. Build in adoption as you configure your Salesforce

Implementing Salesforce is generally a long process. Depending on the size and spread of your organization, it would easily take an average of 6 months to a year to successfully implement the CRM.

If you are just getting started with your Salesforce implementation, then there’s no better time to initiate your Salesforce adoption strategy. Craft the plan and set your expectations right from the beginning. Make sure that you commit to building a Salesforce experience that is seamless for your workforce which fits all the requirements of your stakeholders.

While you are at it, make sure to involve your stakeholders through the process. Adoption is a people process and you may need some strong voices on your side to make sure your workforce take heed of your plan and to overcome challenges that may crop up unexpectedly.

3. Map your adoption plan based on priority processes

Set your adoption strategy to address the maximum priority processes first. Say for example, when your sales team is on Salesforce, they should already have an idea of how the lead gets stored, how they can edit and manage it, how they can add more details to it, forecast it, etc. (Pretty much their basic necessities!)

This can be done via extensive training on Salesforce before they get onto the platform or on-demand in-app guidance that can assist them while working on the CRM. (Read more about on-demand in-app guidance in strategy #9)

Another idea would be to add/build some really cool features that your salespeople will love. For example, completely customized dashboards or an integration which can pull the prospect details from LinkedIn.

4. Tackling the WIIFM factor

Although you could be knee-deep in Salesforce implementation, there could still be people in your organization with the question, “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM)

Well, they are not wrong. For any adoption or change management process, it’s best to take it slow and consider it as a complete people process. If not articulated properly, there would be aversions to the idea, which will adversely reflect on the adoption.

To educate the users, you can call for multiple sessions to set the expectations, provide your workforce with reading materials and keep them up to date with the advancement of the initiative. It is best if this is lead by a higher execs from your organization like for example, a VP of Sales because they can help you in setting the tone for how everyone in the organization should act.

5. Pre-plan your Salesforce adoption training

The most important bit of ensuring adoption of Salesforce is an effective Salesforce training methodology. To do the training, you will have to take up a lot of decisions even before the rollout.

For example, here are 5 critical questions that you should be analyzing and find answers to:

  1. What kind of training should you give to your workforce?
  2. What tools do you use to provide the training?
  3. How long should the training be?
  4. What modules of Salesforce should it cover?
  5. How to ensure maximum knowledge retention with your Salesforce training?

Moving on, let go to the next phase. Where I’ll explain the best adoption strategies and practices to follow for a newly rolled out Salesforce.

Tackling the Salesforce Implementation Dip

Finally, your Salesforce configuration is done and now its go-time. This is the time when you should exercise extreme caution. If your adoption strategies are not set, then the likely chance of getting flooded with Salesforce related issues is really high. And this would further lead you to reconsider your configuration and result in an implementation dip.

In this section, we’ll go for those strategies that will help you fix the kinks in your configuration and tackle that possible implementation dip head-on.

6. Start with a Salesforce Pilot

Everything set on your Salesforce? If yes, then it’s time for a pilot run. Pick a group of end-users for the exercise, provide them with the adoption and training materials that you have collated and let them use the CRM before anyone else in your organization. (Let them do everything as planned!)

This will help you identify the kinks in your Salesforce configuration, gaps in your adoption and training process and moreover give you an idea of what you can expect with the rollout.

7. Introduce Salesforce and its Ecosystem to your end-users

If there is one thing that makes Salesforce stand out among other enterprise solution, that would be its amazing, interactive, ecosystem. It’s highly likely that your users will consider Salesforce to be yet another tool that they need to use on a daily basis. But, if you present it as yet another opportunity, then things could change.

Introduce your workforce to the Salesforce ecosystem. Show them how you can learn the platform bit by bit using Salesforce Trailhead. Explain how they can network and discuss their ideas with the Trailblazer Community. Enable your users to gain more visibility and create more opportunities for themselves in Salesforce, not just as a user, but as an active contributor and member of the community.

Do Read: Up, close and personal with Erica Kuhl, VP of Community, Salesforce

8. Drive your Salesforce Onboarding on point

When a new employee onboarding is done correctly, it leads to higher job satisfaction, organizational commitment, decreased turnover, better performance levels, career complementing, and lowered stress. This also applies in the case of introducing a new software in their lives, on which they are expected to work on a daily basis.

This may take time, might include numerous different techniques and more importantly, some amount of trial and error. But taking the overhead cost and time-to-productivity into account, it’s best if you opt for a newer methodology than the traditional instructor-led classroom training.

Speed and flexibility is the need here and you can manage both with tools like LMSs, Digital adoption platform or Gamified LMSs like Trailhead.

9. Provide On-demand In-app Salesforce Training

When it comes to training, most people think about closed classrooms, whiteboards, and an instructor who goes on talking. Well, when you have money, time, and productivity at stake, such traditional methodologies may not be the best bet.

You need to train your sales and marketing people on Salesforce. And that has to be quick, effective and moreover scalable. Digital Adoption Platforms is something that can help you in such a case.

Digital adoption platforms like Whatfix provides your end-users with on-demand, real-time, contextual help within Salesforce itself. Done using their core technology called Interactive walkthroughs and its supporting widgets, Whatfix helps end-users on board, train and learn the functionalities of platforms like Salesforce with ease and efficiency.

Here’s an example of how it works on Salesforce:

Image 3 - 13 Salesforce Adoption Strategies To Ensure Maximum ROI

Digital Adoption Platforms like Whatfix has few other benefits that make it stand out of the other training methods. That is ease of creation, documentation, and distribution

Using Whatfix’s omnichannel integrations, you can create walkthroughs within ease, document it in the different media formats like video, PDF, links, slideshows instantly, and distribute it to various channels like helpdesks, blogs, etc.

Interested in trying out Whatfix for Salesforce? Get a free trial here!

10. Recognize, Reward, Repeat

This comes at a stage when your onboarding and training plans seem to be working. Well, one thing you must remember is, training is never a one-time thing. It is continuous and may change as and when new releases come to Salesforce.

To make sure your end-users’ adhere to the additions to your adoption program, you need to see to it that they are recognized and rewarded. They can be in the form of incentives, designations or even a shout out in the common forum. The idea is to make sure that your end-user feels satisfied for the work that he/she put in to learn Salesforce. Also, this will inspire fellow coworkers to follow the same suit.

Build such an incentive program and phase it out with Salesforce. You can measure how frequently each user uses Salesforce by creating a dashboard which could include reports like – days each user logged in, opportunities created on Salesforce, etc. This could be like virtual scoreboard that you can showcase it to your entire workforce to show who are the Salesforce rockstars in your organization.

Measuring the effectiveness of Salesforce Adoption

The last bit here is about the key to the success of your Salesforce implementation and adoption strategy, i.e, measuring its effectiveness. This critical factor will tell whether after all the efforts that you’ve put into the adoption process, are your users using the CRM actively or not.

One of the best things about Salesforce is that you can set up your metrics for adoption with the CRM itself using custom-made dashboards. The custom-made dashboards can be built out based on the pattern of your adoption and will help you understand the problem areas where your users are not as effective.

As you build it, there are 3 key metrics that you need to keep in mind:

11. Key metrics of Salesforce Adoption #1 – Usage of Salesforce

This is simply the basic factor of how well your users are adoption Salesforce. To measure this you can use some of the custom-made dashboards which available in Salesforce or else be very specific.

Few indicators here could be:

  • User login rates
  • Record creation/updation rates
  • Contact creation/updation
  • Opportunity creation/updation
  • Activity completion
  • Open/Closed tasks
  • Chatter usage

These can be measured on a weekly/monthly basis to learn where your users need assistance. This will also help you determine what kind of training can be given to the user to iron out the common problems.

12. Key metrics of Salesforce Adoption #2 – Data Quality and Accuracy

Accurate, consistent, complete data is what makes Salesforce your organizations powerhouse. Your users are already expected to fill in the required fields in the CRM. The correctness of their actions to complete these tasks is yet another way to measure Salesforce Adoption.

If there are inconsistencies in the quality of data, then there would be a gap in training and adoption that your users may be overlooking. Use the insights on these inconsistencies to fix the data discrepancies on your Salesforce and inadvertently improve the adoption.

13. Key metrics of Salesforce Adoption #3 – End-user feedback

The best and the most common way to know whether your end-users are satisfied with the Salesforce implementation is to ask them. This could be done via Surveys, Salesforce Chatter groups, or even through specific polls.

Understand your end-users perspective about Salesforce at recurring intervals. Collect their feedback and engage in discussions with them to figure out how to solve the problems. Involving your end-users will make them feel heard and make the problems personal to them for a certain extent.

Have more Salesforce adoption strategies to add? Let me know in the comments below or tweet out to me at @i_mgokul

Gokul Suresh

Gokul Suresh

Gokul leads the Inbound, Content and Social Media efforts at Whatfix.

A techie, a marketer and a UX enthusiast, he lovesthinking up creative ideas and experimenting with new tools. He's an expert in inbound marketing and eats CRMs for breakfast, ITSMs for lunch and leftovers from Product Hunt for dinner!

Have anything to say to him? Tweet out to him. He enjoys constructive criticism.
Gokul Suresh
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