How to improve adoption

xkcd tetris is a very powerful and flexible CRM ‘Software as a Service’ platform. It provides a lot of functionality out of the box to support and enhance the sales, marketing, service and support functions within your business. Despite the complexity and richness of features, it is very easy to implement the system initially with minimal setup and configuration. They focus mostly on implementation aspects, tend to ignore the processes that will help improve the adoption of the system post-implementation. Because of this big organizations which are spread globally and have a complex vertical and horizontal business structure struggle to increase adoption of Salesforce after the initial implementation. It becomes increasingly difficult to incentivise users to use Salesforce regularly in a correct fashion encourage them to create and curate data in the salesforce org.

Some of the main reasons for low adoption are inferior data quality due to lack of governance process and data quality tools, complex page layouts and workflows that confuse the users and diminish user experience, lack of incentives to use the system, lack of training to newbies, lack of global business and governance process etc. If this problem is not nipped in the bud, then the system is ignored and the value derived per license goes down. Even worse, it grows organically in an incoherent fashion which leads to a mishmash of poor configuration, inefficient security setup, redundant data, and untracked, unorganised metadata and code. All of this leads the business to believe that they are not getting value for money for their salesforce implementation and scramble to either get rid of Salesforce or try to fix it by overhauling the whole system which is an expensive endeavour. Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

The purpose of this post is to provide some guidance and practical advice to help mitigate some of the issues, and improve the momentum of the adoption within your company.

  1. Perform a health check of your current implementation. Before you can fix a problem, you need to understand the nature and size of the problem. Do an honest assessment of your current system, and document it. It is important that you capture both good and bad(especially bad) parts of your system in the report. List down the steps to fix your system and business processes to align it with industry best practice. This exercise will not only help you outline the problem but also create a roadmap with a practical strategy, timeline and cost to fix the problem. To get a business buy-in its important to demonstrate the cost-benefit trade-off of continuing to work as is versus the long term benefits of fixing the problem right now.
  2. Ensure that you have the resources to see through the proposed changes, and that the business users are closely involved in the implementation process. They should be involved in shaping the solution, in performing Quality Assurance and user testing, and providing feedback during the lifecycle of the project. In other words, be as “agile” as possible. Make sure that there is a massive focus on user experience and training users. The training should be tailored to teach actions and flows that are aligned with your business process and industry best practice. For e.g. instead of just showing them how to convert a lead into account and contact, walk them through the lead qualification process explaining when to convert a lead, and what information to change/update in the newly created account/contact/opportunity. Explaining the why along with the what and the how will help the user understand the rationale behind each step.
  3. Build and nurture a team of dedicated Salesforce administrators, developers, and Data Quality Champions. The Data Quality Champions are responsible for monitoring and curating the data in Salesforce. They can be existing business users who are able to take on additional responsibilities or dedicated Business Analysts who are accountable for data.
  4. Build a positive culture around adoption. The system should not be a burden to use. Listen to your users feedback and identify pain points both in the system and the process that you can fix to improve the user experience and adoption.

These actions are admittedly easier said than done, and some or all of it might potentially be expensive in the short term, but the long term benefits far outweigh the immediate cost. You can break down the problem into smaller pieces and try to fix them one at a time instead of fixing it all at once. Regardless of your approach, it requires commitment and drive from both the business and the IT team, and can be an uphill struggle. However, it is worth the effort if you’d like to increase the value derived per license, and exploit the capabilities of this platform to the full extent.

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