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User Adoption: Best Methods to Ensure Promoters, Not Detractors

By: Orson Ku

Here’s a thought: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Similarly: If your Salesforce implementation is finished, but no one is using it, is your implementation successful?

Often, a successful Salesforce implementation comes down to who is adopting it in your organization. You can have the cleanest Salesforce process flow and data readily at your fingertips, but if the majority of your staff are still following their old way of doing things, the bad news is that the implementation has failed.

With the time and resources it took to get your Salesforce project off the ground, you better make sure it’s making a difference!

Here are some of the best methods to ensure your organization is filled with Salesforce promoters, not detractors.

1.) Bring Your Users in Early

A bad move to make would be to bring in your Salesforce users at the tail-end of the project. You would be introducing a whole new way of doing things without their input and voice.

The earlier you can involve your users, the better. If they start giving feedback early on, they will be more likely to care about the success and outcome of the project as it comes to life around them. They will have a vested interest, versus being forced to use a solution they had no part in. This initial buy-in is key in giving users a sense of ownership: a sense of ownership increases the likelihood they will champion Salesforce to others around them when it finally deploys.

2.) Build out Workflows with Users

If you’re like many organizations out there, your business workflows are not in silos. They either touch other departments or include different roles within the same department. As you set out to streamline and improve on these processes, it is crucial you bring together all those involved.

By going over the workflows together and having a conversation as an entire team, you will be able to see how the different roles fit in. More than that, you begin to see how each user views their place within that process. If everyone can agree on what the workflow should look like, then it would be easier for the users to play their part when the new workflow gets built out. There will be no surprises and everyone will have a clearer understanding of the contribution each person brings.

This also helps prevent the problem of certain users adopting the new process, with other users not understanding their place in it or why things are done a certain way. Building that early consensus is important in avoiding problems down the road!

3.) Understand Pain Points

Often, what causes a user to become a detractor would be failing to answer for them this question:

“What’s in it for me?”

After all, no matter how you spin it, a new process is only as attractive to the user as to the benefit it brings them. The better you understand your users’ pain points, the better you can show them how a new process should at least do one of the below:

    • Make their job easier
    • Help them complete their tasks faster
    • Increase their efficiency

You want to avoid the situation where a user feels like the new business process just means someone else has offloaded their work onto them, or has simply resulted in more things for them to do. (And if that does turn out to be the case, it is better that you address that up front to help the user navigate this change, and provide avenues of support.)

In other words: focus on the opportunities and benefits this new process brings to each individual user, not just the benefits for the organization as a whole.

4.) Be Patient

It takes time for users to sort through how they feel about the process change, how they understand the new workflows, and how they can succeed moving forward. Your pathway forward is to move users from a place of fear and uncertainty to excitement and inspiration.  

It will take time to move them through those steps. Here are some ways that may help:

    • Meet with detractors or those who seem hesitant about the change.
    • Listen to detractors with openness to learn what’s bothering them.
    • Consider their concerns and come up with a way to address those points realistically.
    • Show detractors the value of the change in process.
    • Stay engaged with detractors throughout the process.

It also takes time for users to start building up their skill set and expertise with the Salesforce platform. Foster an environment of support where your users are encouraged to share knowledge, solve problems, advocate solutions, and - most of all -  to ask for and receive help.

Learning something new is hard and your internal community will be important in clearing that hurdle. While it is important for your users to have access to resources and training opportunities, it is just as important for them to know that their coworkers have their back.

As users see other users experience success around them, this can lead to growing willingness for adoption. There will be a shift from distrust and inertia to excitement when they see the value that these changes can bring.

Here at Idealist Consulting, we find that most organizations can have better planning in certain areas of their Salesforce implementation. User adoption is only one area amongst a large variety that can stack success in your favor.

Learn some other crucial best practices in our whitepaper:  Be Prepared, Not Scared: Strategies for Salesforce Projects.

Download the Guide

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