Salesforce User Adoption Strategies - Life with Salesforce

User adoption of any new platform is challenging; especially for companies with a large user-base or businesses that have deep roots in legacy (older) platforms. Change is equal parts exciting and scary.

Always remember…

Your business is composed of Team Members from different departments, demographics, and technical skill levels.

On-boarding a new technology platform will cause stress among some, while welcomed by others. One certainty in change is resistance. The benefit of knowing that, is that you can plan for it! Now, there is no one-size fits all approach to this. But there are complimentary strategies for success that run in tandem, ensuring no User is left behind.

Below, I’ve put together some practical and tangible strategies that will increase your Salesforce User adoption. I also encourage reading Salesforce Blog Posts – 6 Best Practices for Driving End-User Adoption and 5 Rules That Will Help Your Salesforce Adoption Succeed.

As always, share your tried and true strategies by leaving a comment below!

Quick Jumps

  1. Create a Salesforce Translation and Terminology Guide
  2. Complete Your User Profiles
  3. Incentive Salesforce and Trailhead Independent Learning 
  4. Talk About It – the Good and the Challenges
  5. Small Group, 1-on-1 Hands on Training, and End-User Feedback
  6. Schedule Time to Chatter and Ping
  7. Additional Salesforce Adoption Resources

1. Create a Your Business to Salesforce Translation and Terminology Guide

I always advise businesses to adopt Salesforce standard terminology into their new business workflows, where applicable. This will make platform developments, customizations, and updates smoother in the long-term. With that, it is critical to establish your Org terminology based on your business, and publish it to your Users ahead of training and implementation.

While each business is unique, below is an example of what a simple guide could look like.

Sample Existing TermSalesforce TermDefinitionExample
AgentContactIndividuals that work and are associated with your Accounts.Jane Smith (Contact) works a Smith’s Solar (Account)
AgencyAccountA record that represents a Business, Vendor, Partner.Smith’s Solar (Account) has multiple employees (Contacts) related to it.
BookingOpportunityAn attempt at negotiating the Sale of our company product.Our company is working on a Sale (Opportunity) to sell $1,000 of product to Smith’s Solar (Account).
ProspectLead
Unqualified business or customer that has expressed interest.
John Davis (Lead) filled out a Website Contact form expressing interest.

Alongside a Translation Guide, provide an easily accessible Salesforce Terminology Guide built around the objects, fields, and features that your organization will be using.

By planning and preparing for the questions, you will be increasing User confidence and removing change-uncertainty. Your Users will feel supported and knowledgeable as they engage with the platform early-on.

Questions I commonly hear during demonstration and implementation are, “What is a Contact?” “What does Opportunity Stage mean?” “Should this be a Lead or Opportunity?.”

These questions and answers can be provided as an internal resource. Aligning your Users with a consistent vocabulary will have a positive impact on adoption.

2. Complete Your User Profile

Encourage all of your Users to complete their Salesforce User Profile. Have each one add their profile picture, update their About Me section, and adjust their notification settings.

Lead by example and transform your empty profile:

To a profile showing your engaged with the platform:

As fun as the Salesforce empty-profile avatar cartoon is, a chatter ping from a familiar face is always more engaging than a chatter ping from an empty image. Have the Users show each other that they are in the system, by having their faces great each other with each message. 

3. Incentivize Salesforce Adoption and Trailhead Independent Learning 

Salesforce provides opportunities for platform self-learning. The most notable being Trailhead, a free and interactive learning resource for Salesforce training. Trailhead has a Library of courses (called trails) – that walk users through select features of Salesforce. As Users complete courses, they earn badges.

Hold a contest!

To encourage self-learning through Trailhead, hold an internal contest for the User that earns the most badges each month (or your set contest period). At the end of each period, publicly congratulate the winner with a prize. 

The value here is that it encourages Users to learn Salesforce within a Salesforce community. While earning badges, your Users are engaged in hands-on learning, surrounded by Salesforce Terminology, and gaining a sense of accomplishment with each badge they earn.

And, if not every Users is not eager to learn the ins-and-outs of the Salesforce platform – no dramas. Trailhead has badges on business proficiencies, time management, customer service, etc.

Alongside this – always have a power-user or two designated to assist with your Team Members as they learn the platform. There will always be questions.

Where to begin?

We have put together an Introduction to Salesforce and Trailhead Trailmix aimed on introducing new Users to the Salesforce platform and getting started with Trailhead.

A great way to track your Users badges is to install the free Trail Tracker App by Salesforce. This app helps guide your Users through Trailhead, while also showcasing their badges on their User profile for the Team to see.

4. Small Group, 1-on-1 Hands on Training, and End-User Feedback

Collect feedback from your Users – not only during implementation, but consistently and continuously. Salesforce is a platform that is designed to customize, adapt, and evolve with your business. The feedback from your Users (and even Clients) should direct the evolution of your platform.

Routine enhancements from your User feedback will demonstrate that your platform will continually become easier to use the more your Users are involved with it. Implement routine feedback frequently.

Use surveys, focus groups, or create an internal feature request system within Salesforce to track suggestions and recommendations.

5. Talk About User Adoption – the Good and the Challenges

Seriously, talk about your Salesforce implementation. Share your businesses platform road map and have your Users involved. Incorporate it in Team Meetings, Company Presentations, and even casual discussions. Start to normalize the platform early-on. No platform implementations or evolution should surprise your Users.

If your first implementation has shortcomings or challenges, acknowledge them. Share your active developments and enhancements with the Team. Nothing is perfect. Far too many implementations position the platform as a perfect workflow machine from the start. This is a setup for failure. Set proper expectations from the start and normalize the evolving nature of the platform.

And never let a “work around” become a workflow. If something is not working, implement the correction. Do not apply a permanent band-aid when you can heal.

6. Schedule Time to Chatter and Ping

As odd as it seems, schedule 15-minutes a day during that is dedicated to sending internal messages or pinging people from within Salesforce. Post comments on new and existing records – and be sure to ping Team Members.

With each ping, notification, or chatter message, your are bringing your users back into the platform and establishing Salesforce communication channels. Demonstrate to your Users that you are in the platform, and they need to be as well.

7. Salesforce Adoption Resources

Though the strategies above are written around pre-implementation, each strategy can be used at any point in your Salesforce road map. Below are some additional resources to review as your build your strategy for Salesforce success.

Salesforce Adoption Dashboards (appexchange.salesforce.com)

6 Best Practices for Driving End-User Adoption of Salesforce (salesforce.com)

5 Rules That Will Help Your Salesforce Adoption Succeed (salesforce.com)

Salesforce Adoption Strategies (trailhead.com)

If your business is having trouble attaining full Salesforce adoption, adapt the strategies above to your business and continue onward towards you adoption goal.

Be sure to read our Salesforce Web-to-Lead Setup, Best Practices, and Challenges article for your next website implementation.

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