According to CSO Insights, sales reps spend only 25-30% of their time engaged in actively selling, while spending the vast majority of time on administrative work such as qualifying leads and research. Given this problem, cloud-based CRM is an extremely powerful platform that, when used correctly, can give sales reps more time to sell.

Salesforce is a proven CRM platform leader for business enterprises today, and for good reason. They have continuously set themselves apart from competitors through aggressive innovation and optimal costumer experience. Simply put, Salesforce cloud-based software can have a revolutionary effect on the sales and marketing teams that are still stuck within siloed systems. Salesforce consistently shows its potential to increase revenue and productivity, while at the same time decreasing costs and driving innovation.

More companies than ever are investing in Salesforce to track their critical data and business processes. Leading companies are able to take advantage of the innovative possibilities provided by Salesforce to create a better user experience and a more productive sales rep. However, even with the many benefits of Salesforce (agile, scalable, productive) many of these same companies are struggling with user adoption. Sales reps might be afraid to make a significant change from a tried and tested tool or they may be unable to see the benefits of implementation. Whatever the reason, low end-user adoption leads to a massive waste of investment and potential. These repercussions can affect users across an entire organization. Below are 7 best practices that will help grow Salesforce user adoption:

1. Organize Readiness

Prior to a company-wide deployment of Salesforce, the readiness of the organization to adopt Salesforce needs to be measured and improved upon. Are all departments on-board? Has a company-wide timeline been adopted? If there are departments holding out because they don’t see the value of implementation, it is important that time is spent educating them of the benefits that Salesforce will bring. Any number of holdouts can create problems for adoption down the line.

Major individual stakeholders and executives around the company need to be aware of the impending change because they will have to take a large part in supporting the implementation and usage of Salesforce. It is imperative to have their buy-in and keeping those key decision makers informed and on-board so they can help communicate support.

2. Ensure Accurate User Adoption Reporting

How is a company supposed to track user adoption if universally accepted metrics aren’t established? How do you know users are getting the most out of Salesforce? All companies, not just those struggling, need to sit down with stakeholders to define KPIs to track Salesforce adoption rates. Make use of the available reporting and dashboard features in Salesforce to produce the necessary data. Indicators, such as login rates and the consistency of updating data, will show whether employees are taking full advantage of the new CRM platform. Track these metrics both on a weekly and monthly basis to gauge trend lines. Only by measuring, can you identify issues and make improvements.

3. Install AppExchange Apps

There are thousands of Apps listed in the Salesforce AppExchange. Some improve workflows and others integrate with your marketing team’s e-blast platform, the list is endless. To improve Salesforce user adoption, you should look no further than X-Author which allows users to use the fast and familiar Microsoft Excel interface they’ve grown accustomed to, while working in Salesforce. Within X-Author, Apps can be built for any department: Sales can track, update, manage opportunities, and generate forecasts; Marketing can manage campaigns, and budgets; IT can migrate and load data with ease; and Finance can create budgets, forecast, and run complex calculations – all in the Excel user interface.

PayPal Significantly Increased Salesforce User Adoption

4. Incentivize Adoption

Incentivizing the use of Salesforce is a great way to increase adoption throughout a company. Set organization and department wide milestones and reward those who surpass them. Create a rewards program with prizes, including both monetary and non-monetary rewards. Along with rewarding success with prizes, public recognition of teams with the strongest adoption numbers can be equally as effective; share accomplishments through newsletters, meetings, or Salesforce Chatter, one of the tools that you want users to adopt.

5. Engage with Users

Listen to what the end-users have to say about their Salesforce experience. Create a culture of conversation to identify problems with implementation and possible opportunities for improvement. By listening to why employees are avoiding adoption, companies are able to address problems head-on. A resourceful company must leverage users to test and continue to improve the system.

However, it’s one thing to listen; it’s another to find a solution. Companies need to use feedback from users to make impactful changes to their Salesforce ecosystem. These improvements need to be consistent and ongoing. Take advantage of the customization options that Salesforce provides; use automation to reduce bottlenecks and improve the user experience by customizing interfaces; it is common to release improvements weekly. Tailoring Salesforce to user preferences will increase adoption as it makes the overall experience more natural.

6. Establish Reliable Support

An effective Salesforce support system is crucial for increasing adoption. It is important that a new user is able to get questions answered in a timely and consistent fashion. Before implementation, tell users how they can submit questions and feedback, and what the timeline is going to be for answers. A lack of sufficient support can have a negative effect as users can become discouraged and give up.

7. Continuous Training

It is important to incorporate reoccurring training. The traditional method of having one-time training at the outset is ineffective. It doesn’t take long for users to forget what they learned and to revert to previous and most likely inefficient methods. Instead, hold training regularly to refresh users. Reintroduce how Salesforce will directly benefit their individual processes and make their lives easier. This will help to keep motivation high as the adoption process continues. A constant process for training also makes it much easier to introduce and announce process changes. Along with formal training, send out weekly newsletters that give a rundown of the updates.

End-user adoption of Salesforce is exceedingly important for a company invested in the platform. Although there are many reasons that can lead to low adoption rates, the above 7 strategies will help drastically improved adoption and put any company on a path of effective use.



Interested in learning more about increasing Salesforce user adoption with X-Author?

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Posted by Patrick Wolf on February 18, 2016.