Making Salesforce adoption easy for your sales teams

18 min read

Amy Oplinger Singh is a senior consultant at the Crevalle Group. She is an expert in Salesforce end-user training. She has a wealth of experience across different industries of different sizes, and she is also one of the well-known speakers of Dreamforce. Needless to say, she is the best person to talk about today’s topic – Making Salesforce adoption easy for your sales teams.

Amy was featured on our Limitless Webinar series on Mar 24, 2020.

Watch the complete webinar:


Transcript of the webinar:

Speaker: Amy Oplinger
Host: Vivekanandan Sivasubramanian

Hello everyone. Welcome to another edition of Limitless Webinar Series where we bring you the top sales leaders in the industry to share their experience, strategy, best practices, and most importantly actionable inputs that you can readily implement in your jobs. 

Today, we have an amazing guest with us, Amy Oplinger Singh. She's a senior consultant at the Crevalle Group. She is an expert in Salesforce end-user training. She has a wealth of experience across different industries of different sizes, and she is also one of the well-known speakers of Dreamforce. Needless to say, she is the best person to talk about today’s topic - Making Salesforce adoption easy for your sales teams. 

Hi everyone. First of all, we're going to be talking today about one of my favorite topics and if you are all using Salesforce, this is really an ongoing issue with Salesforce and that is user adoption. Today, I think that what basically had happened to me over the past five years and my sales career and Salesforce career and then my experience as an end-user has contributed to making adoption my kind of flag for my Salesforce career. 

How can we make Salesforce easy?

So today we're going to talk about how you can make Salesforce easy for your teams, how you can utilize your Internal Champions that will help you with adoption, using third-party apps, or going to the app exchange for help when you can't do it on your own. 

The importance of ongoing training and how it relates to adoption. And I will have some questions and answers at the end. So feel free to chat any questions that you might have in the Q and A section. I think if you have something while I'm talking I will answer those at the end. 

A little background on me. I was in sales for many years that that was my career prior to entering sales for and as an account executive I used a lot of different things and most of them were all the same until I started using Salesforce and I noticed that it just kind of worked for me and I was able to really have a better grasp on my particular book of accounts. And it shows in my commission checks at the end of the month and when I first started using Salesforce, I became king of the put the child at my company because I was blowing away the metrics and everyone wanted to know my secret what I was doing and I was simply the one salesperson that would have using Salesforce in that my notebook because you know in the time of when we all had a binder to go through our book of business. 

So I became an internal champion and we'll talk about the importance of that later, but It was that experience that I had once I started my career and Salesforce, I made a total switch from are doozer to behind the scene where I can really focus on imparting how important it is to build from the end-users perspective. 

A lot of projects that I've worked on oftentimes the very first line I used to get cut from the training. The manager doesn't see the point of it. They see so forth of the reporting tool only and you know, just put it in we don't need to train people will figure it out and inevitably sitting there calling me six months later saying, oh we spent all this money on Salesforce and nobody's using it what point nobody knows how to use it and I remind them, hey, you just let me come train them. You basically bought a Ferrari and let me walk out of the door with the keys. 

So I like to kind of tell that story to everyone that I meet that wants to cut out training. That's fine. You'll be there, get trains now or you'll call me six months from now and nobody's using it. So it's very important that you have this body in from the top down that managers understand that they'll force is a tool of course for recording. However, if you don't make it easy for the end-users to use it to get in there and spend the day giving you the information that you need for you to report what good it is. 


So I like to work with the visitors and certainly get the requirements that the managers need and the metrics they need to report on a lot of times, unhealthy companies work those metrics out. Salesforce is a wonderful tool, but you need to have a really good process of these and In order to translate to great with a dashboard that the managers can make decisions off of, what I like to do is I like to sit with the actual person that is entering the data of the salesperson. And what I can make it easier for them oftentimes in a project. This is overlooked.

To go to the engine room. Your data will come again lining the business processes with Salesforce functionality is something else that I see kind of lacking a lot in Salesforce implementations when I come in after they've already been using Salesforce for a period of time. 

The business doesn't really happen process down. So it's hard for an implementer to translate that into Salesforce when they don't know the business doesn't know themselves what they want to be automated and what process they have in place and so forth. So a lot of my job as a consultant is helping businesses determine the process, kind of helping the parents get to the real need of what they're getting to. And this streamlining the prophecy and me having their first knowledge being able to translate that into Salesforce trickles down and helps the end-user have a seamless experience. 

You want them, of course, in Salesforce for the minimum time. You don't want somebody spending the majority of their day an hour-and-a-half updating their accounts and their opportunities and things like that because your process isn't in order. So there are a lot of things that need to happen at a foundational level in order for adoption to occur if that makes sense. 

Once we get the processes ironed out for the business and we oughta get Salesforce functionality worked in with those processes a lot of opportunities for automation might occur and the importance for me and sitting down with an end-user cannot be overstated enough. 

I often find ways to automate very basic fields that people are just kind of updating based on a status based on this based on that, not knowing that there could have been automation in place that would have saved the salesperson another 5-10 minutes of just filling in values for the field. 

Once we are building with the end-user in mind, all of these things will kind of come into place. You got your processes in order. You have a consultant there that can translate your thoughts of these into Salesforce functionality and your consultant is working with the end-users to find out what they do their job and how they can automate certain parts of the end-users job. 

What is an Adoption Dashboard?

So that management still gets the data that it needs. But your salespeople can be what they're there for and that's the self. Oftentimes KPI measurements for sales targets are in place. However, the management when they get Salesforce might not have an idea of adoption. So just the same way that you can measure But you want to put on target for yourself people you can set a target for adoption and your implementer your admin can set up an adoption dashboard when you're trying to impart to your end-users important Salesforce with is. 

You can take a look at this adoption dashboard and keep track of the people that are using the system you can see very quickly and easily where Salesforce is working, who is not working it, and so forth. So I found that implementing an adoption dashboard even something very simple as who lost in the last week. It can be very helpful in motivating especially for salespeople. We're used to those metrics and used to being measured. We want to be number one. So if I can, you know talk to my coworker and say hey Sarah look at me. I'm number one for a long. Since last week. You can kind of make it fun for the salespeople to tell us all that our salesperson nature would like to be measured. 

You have your adoption dashboard. Your processes are great. You have all this great functionality built-in Salesforce. Now, it's time to take a one step further, your salespeople are entering data you need as a manager to see The KPIs and where your sales are, where the opportunities are and everything so building dashboards and reports will really help again. Not only with the managers to make those important for casting decisions. But also with the sales reps. Like I just mentioned with the adoption dashboard, we want to know where we're at. We want to know how far we are from our goal. We want to know where we stand in relation to the other sales. And probably how much are fish and chips going to be based on our month? 

So these dashboards and reports are very important for adoption. One particular project that I was on. They really didn't have much in the way of dashboards and reports. They didn't really have much in the way of user adoption. This is why I was there to kind of help turn that around. And what I found was a lot of the reps had been there for some time and had their way of doing things and their way of keeping track of things and they really didn't care to see a dashboard. It was filled with pork. 

Well, one of the things I asked management to do was to run their stand-ups using dashboards and reports and one particular sales rep who was always number one. He was very good. I didn't think they knew about it and was really upset that somebody else got the attention in the meeting and the manager quite frankly told him, well, your opportunities are available for summer running these meetings based on this report. So get your stuff in Salesforce. 

That was very efficient. A very effective very efficient way of bolstering user adoption at least by one but that getting that manager buy-in is another point. We'll talk about the next very important thing to have a management group that talks the talk and walks the walk basically. The managers don't care about what's in Salesforce if they don't have any good reports and dashboards and they're not questioning where the numbers are coming from. Your salespeople aren't going to use it. 

So my next tip is to find those internal Champions number one being buy-in from the top down if they are very effective to have like in the example I just talked about running your stand-up dashboards and reports. People like to be recognized. We all have a peacock, we want to be known. So having that buy-in by managers is very important and will draw help drive adoption. I've seen it time and time again. 

Not only is it important to identify those key stakeholders? Hours of the top-down you'll also find people amongst your employees that are using Salesforce that really love it. I was one of those people I was what they call a power user. I love Salesforce, it helped me immensely in my job and eventually led to a career choice because I loved it so much and I wanted to help other salespeople other business people understand how powerful sales force can be when it's used and set up correctly.

So finding those Internal Champions will not only help you as a team, if you were the technical it team or sales, of course, admin at your company and you're struggling with adoption. You've got management by now, I would implore you to go around your company, talk to people, sit with them and learn how they do their job and I'm sure that during one of those conversations you'll find somebody that really enjoys they'll for entering the date of whatever it might be. They might really get a lot of joy out of their job and their sales were part of their job. Not only that but they're good at it and they're consistent and they see the tool for the power that it is. 

So those are the people that you want to identify what I would recommend and is that you make a power user for each group in your company? And this will help not only kind of increase adoption, but it will relieve your ICP from having to constantly train you're giving them you're teaching them to fish as the saying goes. So you're training these power users to kind of be extensions of your ICP with regards to Salesforce and how to use it. 

Then making sure that you have that strong admin team is my final point for finding is internal Champions. You want someone you want people on your team that is kind of excited about Salesforce and what it can do for the company, but you also want to be able to have them empowered. They shouldn't be just order takers. They should care for Salesforce. We have the ability to care for the Salesforce org and roadmap it so that your business can grow and for management to trust that team to put the right changes in place. They will be running the system. They will be driving the adoption with the management by it. So that's a very important part of increasing adoption.

Next, I want to talk about using third-party apps and app exchange products. There are a lot of great things that you can build in Salesforce for the typical admin team that I see they're overwhelmed with requests, dev requests, and a lot of complex requirements often come with. 

And what I like to let companies know that my clients know is that oftentimes when you're faced with something that you wanted to do that. It doesn't go out of the box. There's an app for that. So be smart about your time when it comes to making changes and dedicating dev resources to build something that you might already have. There might already be a solution for, could be free, could be paid whether it be a third party app or app exchange product Hippo Videos is one of those products for installing the demo at the top of the call. So there are a lot of answers to your Salesforce problems so that you can save your precious dev resources for really making your internal or the best. B-but my advice there is just don't reinvent. 

The dev resources and admin resources are really kind of pushed to the limit in most enterprises that I work with and Something that they're spending months and months and months of development time or hiring outside consulting firms off. There's already an app on the app exchange system that handles that requirement. So I would advise you all to really kind of go on to the app exchange and research what's available for your particular edition of Salesforce and make sure that you're not burning dollars a burning time kind of reinventing the wheel. 

Finally, ongoing training is really the key to adoption success. You can't Implement Salesforce and have a trainer come in and do a two-hour guide two hours for and expect the option to be a hundred percent. It doesn't work like that. Salesforce is constantly changing your air force development team and is constantly making updates. While they're making the updates, they might not have the time and resources to go through and update the company on everything. So ongoing training and building that into your mindset are really really important for adoption. There are many ways that you can accomplish this number one out of the box is in-app guidance for Salesforce. So in guides, you don't know you can be configured by your Salesforce development team giving your end-user kind of pointers as to what they're doing on the screen. There are also several third-party apps that do the same kind of thing. A little bit more robustly than the out-of-the-box solution. So again, if you want to kind of spend some time researching what's already available for you on the app exchange saves a lot of time. 

Training videos. Everyone learns differently. I love to train people because I was there, I was the end-user and I was frustrated with the way things worked. So I get it and I know people the last thing is built for some of us to do is spend a lot of time answering what they feel is unnecessary data. How do I get from here to there? I just want to close this opportunity. Why isn't it letting me? So this is where I found training videos are really helpful. For companies to build a repository of training videos that can run people through the process and so you're not putting in a request for someone-on-one training so that you're not Fielding the same request over and over and over. How do I do this? How do I do this? When you onboard an employee, you have this repository of training videos that you can give them that they can refer to any kind of make them more self-sufficient. So I love training videos for that reason. 

Also, I think people learn in different ways. Some people love PowerPoint. I don't. I hate powerfully if I don't learn that way I learn best by doing. So one of my favorite ways to implement a training program is one particular training project. I was on for more than seven months. Where I lived was the same company I referred to earlier they really had no adoption whatsoever. No, no resources really to trade. So I just had lunch and learned every week. I said, you know 12 to 2. I'm going to be in this conference room. There's going to be snacks and come learn about this great new way to do whatever and step 4, so I would highly recommend Implementing that don't have to be every week depending on the availability of your team, but I would definitely suggest once a month for the lunch and learn or another program that I like to have companies instill is office hours. If an admin will have one hour two hours a week that somebody can come and ask them anything. This is not only helpful for the end-user, but this is also helpful for the asset. When I Implement office hours, I can see the issues that are coming in, and oftentimes, this will kind of be a really good insight to your org. And what's not working for people. If you're getting the same request over and over from multiple people in your company, you as a developer, going to look at that and say wait for a minute something's not matching here. We've trained on this, you know the process they're good Salesforce users but for some reason, we keep getting this one kind of request over and over during off house. 

So it's helpful for you and your team to implement the things with the training videos, lunch and learn at the office hours to be open to your end-users what they're experiencing so that you can address those issues. This is all going to add up to them using the system or they're going to feel heard and they're going to feel appreciated and they're going to want to do what's asked of them. This has been my experience for the last five years. I had a very large training project that was initially going to be visible and the project sponsor said that you know some of your thoughts on this occasion, but what do you think? Because things will come up. Be open and listen to your end-users and make them also accountable. 

I have my presentation today. I am open to questions. I do have a list of questions that I want to read and see if we can get these answered. 

Guidelines for Change management communication

Prasanna wants to know any guidelines and change management communication with end-users. For example, there is a change in process, how a lead process maybe adding a statement that has or there is a change in how an activity is reported. 

Change management is very important. You can't epic fail for a team. You can't just go in and change people's jobs and not tell them right. So most companies have a release schedule. They have good communication around that oftentimes when a release happens, a communication or a lunch and learn takes place. That's what I would recommend that the interested or the affected parties join the lunch and learn. That's a great way to communicate change management. Also having documentation. I can't stress enough the importance of having your or documented changing request documents and having a repository for that. Not only will it help your internal team if any changes come by its personnel changes the next Salesforce member that comes on board will be up to speed and be able to refer to the documentation and understand what processes are already in place and things like that. 

The next question is on how to focus on and how to roll out new features and enhancements?

I think that depending again on your particular change management strategy, for example, will take lightning transitioning people from classic to lightning is heavy and a lot of the projects that I work on now. And what we recommend is a pilot group and then a phased rollout typically based on the size of the organ of useless things like that. That's how I would like to recommend rolling out new features and enhancements. If again, if it's just one particular group that these enhance apply to very easily and at lunch and learn lessons learned are fantastic. You get the face-to-face people are eating, they are happy and they're getting something that's going to make the job easier, hopefully. 

How to communicate the limitations of certain out-of-the-box Salesforce features? 

This is a tough one because Having Salesforce technical knowledge, understanding how to configure something in Salesforce, or write the code or that it's a visual force page and not a community and things like that. The engines still care about all that. So you have to understand who you're talking to. Oftentimes I find that when a user is asking for something. It helps to not be very technical because if I say well that's just a limitation of out-of-the-box Salesforce often times that that's okay with them or conversely if they push on that then I would get an estimate from my developer as to how much that would cost and that's pretty clear for most people so I try not to get into the weeds. Like, oh the OWD is private looking fly and that meant I try not to get into that level at all of the explanation with an end-user. I just tried to tell them that you know Salesforce. Well, it is a great tool. It does have some limitations, but I would be happy to talk with the developer to find out the cost and level of effort to implement this request. Typically. That's a good answer for most people. 

Strategies and tactics for successful user adoption during the change saturation period.

The next question is from Jenny and she says what strategies and tactics have you found to be successful for user adoption during periods of change saturation?

This is a good question Jenny and thank you for asking us. Change saturation happens in my experience. When an organization doesn't have a good change management strategy and release schedule. So they're just constantly new updates and just like you as a user of your Android or iPhone you get sick of the constant updates of Windows users are always having to update your end users still that fatigue as well. So my strategy for that would be to help the company Implement a change management process a release schedule so that you avoid this kind of saturation for your end-users and then which ultimately results in them saying well, you know, I'm not going to use Salesforce because it's just going to change next week. So why should I bother you don't want to have that attitude if you're trying to increase your adoption? So help your end-user by implementing a good process before rolling out all these changes. 

What strategies and tactics are successful for breaking through the noise of many concurrent programs? 

I'm not clear on what that means. I'm going to skip that question. All right, and we have a Q&A section here. 

How do you get the users to capture a sales activity right after a meeting?

How do you go about getting a more timely theorem and tray? How do you get users to capture a sales activity right after meeting rather than at the end of the day or end of the week? 

This is a good question. Thank you for asking that really I see this a lot and as a salesperson, I can tell you, it depends on your salespeople. So a lot of people are and how you're kind of into if you're inside sales at the rapid kind of day. Most inside sales reps I know are taking those madly like crazy and you'll see that entered at the end of the day again, I would have to take a look. I would recommend taking a look at your process and your training and maybe having a kind of hey. Ideal day and an ideal way you should handle conversations of your contacts. 

For me when I was a Salesforce user. I entered all of my activities right then and there because I didn't want to do the double writing it down then going back and typing and trying to remember what my shorthand said. See you miss a lot of things. I think when you do that way but I've also seen a lot of I swear it's a rapid-fire kind of situation in this and those are disconnecting a call there on another call and they don't have time to type that long note or activity. Einstein's activity can help with that. I don't know what a dish of Salesforce you have for that, but I would recommend taking a look at your process. And if the sales reps are in charge of their calling activity, then it's a training issue and they would need to maybe have lunch and learn, hey, this is the most efficient way to enter your calling activity for the day and things like that. That would be my recommendation on that. 

Any other questions, I'm not seeing anything new in the QA or any chat.  And I think there are questions from the audience. Yep, this one more question. Can you elaborate on release management? 

Whether what it is or how to do it, you basically want to have a process. When You release a feature in production whether most companies are on agile mode. They have split and so they did the first based on the release calendar they set with Any development team, so I have a number of requests that I need to complete within that first, and then that will go into the next release. Smaller companies might not have a release management strategy. They might just be doing ad hoc. As a request comes in there working on it that would be released and it can work that way for a smaller organization I think but once you get any kind of use of you're going to want to have a strategy for releasing things to maintain your developers Hannity and time and your end-users because you don't want to constantly be releasing new features like the other question that was answered earlier about saturation. You'll get fatigued if you're releasing new features every other day or every week. You definitely want to have a strategy for releasing new features and changes and have a strong team that follows that it doesn't just do ad hoc changes and releases. 

There's one more question. It's about forcing the end-user for adoption if it really is required. 

I don't know of any particular situation where you force someone to do something. I'm a mom and I have two kids and I know that if I try to force them to do things like at the exact opposite intended response. So, I don't know if you want to have the attitude that you're forcing user adoption, I think you want to have a conversation with the end-users and understand why they're not using Salesforce. Nine times out of ten it's because they don't see the value of it. It hasn't been communicated from the top-down why we're using this. Why do I have to spend time putting my notes in the system if I have this notebook? And things like that, they don't understand the very values the very reason the business reason why you have built for so I think that if from the top down and communicated, hey we make our buying decisions based on data and Salesforce be making Staffing decisions based on Salesforce. Things like that where they can be part of the understanding of why we need them for Us and why you need this data in my experience has resulted in people using it more but then followed by they need to be trained. They need to understand how to use it and I can't tell you how often straining just doesn't get done. As I said, it's usually the first line item that costs a statement of work for me in a project. They don't want to pay for training. They just think people will figure it out and it just doesn't happen. 

So, there you go. Turns out you can not force someone for user adoption. Rather provide value, train them constantly for the processing. 

Sanjana Murali is a Marketing Specialist at Hippo Video. She is an award-winning blogger, one of her articles on “Customer Success” was selected from worldwide participants and won her MVP 2019 award. She has learned the knack of ranking her blogs and website pages in the 1st result of Google Search from her 6+ years of writing and marketing experience. She is also the host of #Limitless webinar and podcast series at Hippo Video. She loves to talk about branding and marketing with videos. An eternal writer, words are her lifeline.

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