Salesforce User Adoption Strategy For Real People

Training end-users on new Salesforce system and processes.
August 23, 2023

Written By:

The CRM Firm

Salesforce User Adoption Strategy for Real People 

“We want them to use Salesforce, but some of our people already have a system that works for them.” 

“Our users are not very tech savvy.” 

“They’re not using it because they don’t know how.” 

If anyone in your organization has uttered any variation of these thoughts, we have good news, your org is not the first with one (or all) of these struggles.  

At some level, most organizations struggle to balance the needs of the business with enabling their people to do their jobs in a productive, efficient, and repeatable way. So, let’s talk about user adoption. 

What is User Adoption 

The phrase “user adoption process” refers to the experience of end-users or customers when new products, new technology, new features, or automation are launched for use.  

Recall the last time your go-to grocery store reorganized the entire store, and as a customer, you were forced to adapt to the new changes. You might have said under your breath, ‘They need clearer signs,’ or ‘Why did they do this in the first place?!’. 

Salesforce is the #1 CRM Platform in the world, and due to its feature-rich, user-focused platform, businesses are adopting Salesforce left and right. How can you make sure your end-users are also adapting to the change? 

In this article, we will review the importance of user adoption, how to prepare for the change to Salesforce, and who can help. 

Importance of User Adoption 

As a consultancy firm, we can confidently affirm that without buy-in from your end-users, no matter how successful the technical aspect of the implementation is, the final result will not have the same satisfaction.  

Even the most impressive systems can go abandoned without proper consideration and preparation to ensure the new system’s end users are willing and excited to embrace the change. But with a strategic user adoption plan you can— 

Decrease staff churn—  

When your end-users are empowered to be involved in significant decisions affecting them, you engender trust, creating loyalty and motivation for success and reducing churn rate. 

Increase customer lifetime value and experience with consistency and retention—

When your new Salesforce database is embraced and used as intended, you will often see external results that impact your bottom line.

For example, when your customer success team welcomes your website’s new Salesforce Digital Engagement Chat Bot, customers experience a faster response rate and begin a meaningful customer journey.  

Alternatively, if the customer support team doesn’t see the value in the new feature and doesn’t monitor the Chat queues, your customers could be left without a response on the Live Chat, risking the dissatisfaction and loss of both tenured and new customers. 

Protect your investment in Salesforce—  

High user adoption will ensure that your Salesforce investment and the time and money to bring that decision to fruition were well spent.

Low user adoption rates can create a ripple effect of low morale within your organization. Salesforce can meet the needs of your users as long as they are understood and considered throughout the process. 

Preparing your End users and Bracing for Resistance 

Success is often defined before your Salesforce implementation begins. It’s crucial to share expectations and organizational goals so that your end-users can prepare for the change and its impact on the project’s success.  

It’s also essential for everyone to understand that success is not a dot on a timeline but rather a culture of repeated behaviors that are reinforced by the user base. 

If your team is expected to learn, embrace, and maintain Salesforce as the day-to-day users of the system, their input is key

Consider answering the following questions with your team and look for input before making significant changes: 

    • Why are we moving to Salesforce? 
    • What do we expect Salesforce to improve for our business and team’s day-to-day routines? 
    • Review the planned rollout of Salesforce and who will be available to support your end-users. 
    • Highlight areas of efficiency or integration you will gain with Salesforce to create excitement. For Example, With Salesforce, our website leads will now automatically come into Salesforce AND automatically be assigned to the Sales Team in a round-robin fashion AND be added to a marketing drip campaign!

User 1: 1’s—  

are not a new concept, but their execution leaves much to be desired. If the business requires a user to adopt a platform or process that they have historically been unwilling to do, our first instinct is to expose what we see as bad behavior. Whether it’s a stern talking to or a public shaming, we may be promoting the inverse behaviors. It’s unlikely you would be reading this if that management style had worked for you. 

    • Intent is the golden ticket. Before you begin, plan what relational questions to ask to prompt user feedback. 
    • How has the new Salesforce database impacted your workday? 
    • Do you have any competing priorities for your attention or time? 
    • How can I help? 
    • By approaching 1:1s relationally, we can listen to understand, not simply respond. This approach builds trust equity with the user, and trust promotes collaboration. Then, we can work with users to change behaviors, and with trust established, we also decrease the risk of churn and gain an advocate for future initiatives.

Establish culture leads— 

by identifying users with diverse job requirements and giving them the responsibility of promoting platform use internally. This may include developing new user onboarding content, suggesting in-app guidance for specific processes, or hosting recurring “Salesforce office hours” sessions to assist colleagues in adopting the platform the way they have. 

Acknowledging that achieving our adoption goals is not a tactical task with a boolean result but requires a shift in our culture may be a difficult pill to swallow. Even organizations with wonderful, stable workplace cultures fall victim to adoption issues because those who fail to adopt are deemed problem users. Allowing colleagues to serve as promoters and reinforce Salesforce adoption keeps morale high and gives the culture leads an opportunity to design and build support mechanisms. 

Enhancement requests— 

are often shared in meetings or in passing, and their consideration is behind closed doors. By establishing a transparent process for submitting requests and pain points with the new system, we give a voice to active users, and by assessing them transparently, we continue to garner the trust equity that will aid the next initiative. 

It is neither prudent nor necessary to implement every user request for change. What is necessary is understanding the problems that triggered it, how widespread they are, and whether a correction is possible with existing tools or user training. The most effective enhancement request processes will not only capture requests and make visible the business’s feedback, but also collect the sentiment of other users. In this way, an organization may uncover big issues with small fixes and prioritize remediation by the actual impact, not only the perceived impact. 

Using Salesforce Consultants to Increase User Adoption 

Salesforce Consultants are not only experts in designing and delivering Salesforce databases to support business processes but also in user behavior and change management. With experience comes the ability to pick up on user behaviors or queues from conversations during requirements that foreshadow areas of user adoption concern. 

Here are four areas where a Salesforce Consultant will increase the likelihood of high user adoption from the moment your implementation begins. 

1) Understand the importance of simplicity and consistency in UI, but most importantly, how each user and organization’s needs differ. Salesforce Consultants will provide invaluable training and walk through the system with your users to ensure they understand the UI designed for them from the first sign-in.

2) Salesforce Consultants are experts in leveraging the features of Salesforce to provide a high-impact environment and positive user experience for your users.

For example: Designing Salesforce Departmental Home Pages so that when your end-users sign into Salesforce, they are met with meaningful and relevant KPIs highlighting areas of focus day to day.

3) Define user adoption metrics through data to provide visual indicators of the activity within Salesforce for stakeholders to review. User adoption metrics are defined as anything from Login Activity to the volume of data entry and more. A Salesforce Consultant can work with you to define and build intuitive KPIs to proactively monitor, or you can use the Adoption Dashboard available on the Salesforce AppExchange for free (Salesforce Adoption Dashboards)

4) Create an effective onboarding process for your new end-users as your business grows. An effective onboarding experience with expert-level training and overview of the Salesforce system will eliminate the user adoption period altogether for new hires.

With tips & tricks learned throughout countless Salesforce implementations and end-user training, Salesforce Consultants provide powerful insight for successful Salesforce user adoption that you might not have considered otherwise.


Ensuring Successful User Adoption 

While these strategies are each effective individually, none can promote a culture of product adoption on their own. Adoption is comprised of single actions and single end-users, created through repeated activity and accountability and reinforced through follow-up and ongoing Salesforce enablement. 

Perfect, 100% adoption of all things is unattainable. The expectation of perfection is antithetical to the expectation to try. Your users aren’t perfect – neither am I, neither are you – but if we give them the freedom to be creators, unique individuals, and user admins, they’ll be more equipped to embrace hard things, and we’ll know how to support them. 

If your organization is looking for a Salesforce Consultant to assist with implementation and user adoption, reach out here.