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Three simple steps you can take now to ensure user adoption later

By: Alison Wandschneider

Being a great client in a Salesforce consulting project starts with simple practices like being realistic and having a sense of humor, but there are also some clear trends we have seen successful clients apply. 

If you're embarking on a Salesforce project soon, you’ll do yourself well to focus on these tips before the project even kicks off. With some thoughtful attention early on, you have the opportunity to set up systems for long-term success and great user adoption.


1. Prioritize the engagement and make sure you have time to do it justice.

The number one issue we see with Salesforce implementations that don’t succeed is that the internal team has not considered what their time commitment must be. When you start on a technology project, it’s not a time for you to send a retainer, sit back and do other things for six months. It’s a time when you need to make yourself available each week as a resource, a tester, and a partner to the consulting company. 

Don’t just theoretically make time! Often Salesforce projects come with brand new tasks and responsibilities, and it’s human nature to drop the “new” thing when you’re pressed for time. To get out in front of this before your project starts, have conversations with your team about how many hours will be expected of each team member, then have real talks about what responsibilities can be taken off their plate in order to make spaces over the duration of the project. You may need to backfill tasks with other resources, which will be so much easier to do if you consider it before balls start getting dropped.


2. Have buy-in up and down your team

Data management and data gathering are a team effort. A first step of user adoption is to get buy-in to the initial engagement from both your executives and your employees; if they start caring and giving feedback early on, they are more likely to feel represented when you go live. 

Getting buy-in will look a little different depending on whether you’re going up or down your organizational ladder. When you’re bringing executives into your project, you want to do this early on, when you’re making the case for why this project matters. You have an opportunity when you’re asking for budget approval to persuade them that this project will positively affect them in specific ways. Do your homework and figure out what will help them say yes. Typically, executives are involved very early or very late in the project, but not during kick-off or at regular check-ins. 


3. Have a clear idea of your business process and what you want to accomplish

We believe that creating personas can be a great way for clients to begin gathering input before a project even kicks off. 

But even before you create personas, it can be helpful to map out your business process. Consider the main “buckets” of activities in your organization, and have a conversation with your team in which you collaboratively create a narrative for each part of the process. If you’re a nonprofit, here are some common areas to focus on:

  • Here’s how we fundraise

  • Here’s how we track engagement

  • Here’s our typical donor journey

  • Here’s how we interact with different audiences (donors, partners, participants, volunteers, etc.)

Rather than an individual exercise done by a project lead, this should be a conversation, because oftentimes you will uncover inconsistencies in how different people in differing roles perceive your business process. If you can agree on a shared business process, then we can work with you to translate that into technological functionality. Having everyone on the same page will help alleviate user adoption in the future.

If you can develop a clear outline of what your needs are, your sales cycle with a consultant will be much simpler. Don’t worry about articulating the technology that will serve the need yet: that’s the consultant’s job. A good consultant’s job is to be an interpreter and if you can talk about what you do and what you need, we can figure out how this connects with Salesforce tools.

If you’ve taken these three key steps, you will set yourself up for success during a project and, most importantly, afterward, when it’s time to have users adopt the new technology. 

These steps are a great baseline to begin internally, from which we can support you in a variety of different ways, from a deeper technical assessment to a full Salesforce implementation. Don’t worry about having all the tools now; during our sales cycle, we will provide help navigating these conversations with your team.


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