You may be using Salesforce everyday, and even using AppExchange apps to make it even better. But is Salesforce adoption company-wide? Getting your entire team on board and actively using the technology is critical to success. From our experience working with clients on Salesforce implementations, the most successful adoption projects are those that take a process-focused approach. Here are nine steps to get you started.
1. Document Your Process
Document how your teams are working. This allows you to evaluate how your company functions, so you can design a Salesforce instance that enhances your current process, instead of creating a new process that must be learned and maintained. When evaluating your current process, ask yourself: Is your process working? Is there a way to streamline or simplify your process? Is your process making it easier for your team to get work done? You shouldn’t change your process for the sake of it. After all, why change a process that works?
2. Find Your Ambassadors
Large-scale change requires a group to lead the charge. While inherently a technology solution, company-wide adoption of Salesforce cannot solely be led by your CTO. Find adoption leaders within your management and departmental teams. Having departmental leaders is especially important, as they will make recommendations that’s tailored to their team. Ensure these ambassadors have the information they need to succeed from the beginning and that they receive continual support throughout the project.
3. Design Your System so it’s How Work Gets Done
One of the best ways to ensure that everyone uses Salesforce is to simply make it the only way to get work done. For example, make it so that sales deals must be reviewed and approved through Salesforce, or have customer service representatives record notes about calls in Salesforce Service Cloud after they end a call. Updating your way of working to make Salesforce a necessity in your process will ensure that it quickly becomes a part of your team’s daily workflow.
4. Create a Communication Framework
A communication framework can answer your team’s key questions about the implementation of the new technology. As its name suggests, this framework communicates how Salesforce affects individual employees and their work, and what timelines they can expect during the implementation process.
More than a communication tool, a communication framework also sets goals for adoption, identifies which people should be involved in the process, and creates a map forward for the project.
5. Learn How Everyone Will Use Salesforce
Salesforce has no shortage of integrations and applications to simplify the way your company works. Employees should be able to access personalized reports and other data to harness the power of Salesforce. We recommend streamlining features and creating a customized homepage dashboard for different departments and employees. These customizations can be easily done during the implementation period.
Start by looking at how each team and individual is using — or could be using — Salesforce. Ask them to envision their ideal workflow, so that you know which features and functions to highlight when customizing their dashboard. Your users will appreciate knowing they’re working on a platform that was completely customized to their needs. Not only that, but the information you gather can subsequently be used to create a user adoption strategy.
6. Have a Source of Truth
Salesforce should be your entire organization's single source of truth. In other words, Salesforce is where they go to get the most accurate, comprehensive data. Data management is one of the six steps to Salesforce adoption, and avoiding redundant or incomplete data will help everyone operate more effectively. With its holistic approach to the lead-to-loyalty cycle, CRM platforms make for the best single source. Ensure your team knows that, and has access to the data they need.
7. Focus on Building Communities
We all know that CRM stands for customer relationship management, but sometimes we forget that it means the goal of Salesforce adoption shouldn’t only be about driving more leads and increasing sales — they also need a human element.
A Salesforce study found that 46% of sales leaders point to customer relationships as a key factor for sustainable, long-term success. While a CRM like Salesforce can help automate and streamline much of the work, your team should always aim to show customers that your company cares. If employees are truly invested in this message, they will be invested in Salesforce adoption, too. Adopting a platform like Salesforce advocates for centralized technology and a focus on openness over departmental silos.
To embrace these values, experts suggest developing a digital culture to get people united behind the technology change. This digital culture should be iterative and ever-evolving, and foster an environment where employees can brainstorm improvements and know they will be heard by management.
8. Test First, Then Launch
You’re in control of this adoption process, which means you can roll it out however you see fit. Our Salesforce implementation experts suggest starting with a small test group. Drawing on staff from different teams and in different roles, create custom dashboards based on their needs, and see how it feels for them to interact with the new technology. Collect their feedback, make changes, and try again. This is a time-effective way to see how staff interact with Salesforce, and allows you to iron out wrinkles without any company-wide blunders. Who knows — these testers may make for effective adoption ambassadors!
9. Provide Staff Training
Staff training is key once you’ve done your full launch. There isn’t one right way to offer staff training. You may only need one or two lunch-and-learn sessions, while other organizations might benefit from a more robust model. Salesforce has countless features that can enhance your company — but you need to get all your employees onboard with the change first.
Matt Stoyka is the Founder and CEO of RelationEdge, a Rackspace company. Matt has more than 20 years of experience helping to grow businesses in both the technology services and manufacturing industries.
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