A prospect called me several days ago and told me that they had been using Salesforce for almost a year and they weren’t sure if they were really getting a lot of value from it. He said they eventually want to leverage the Sales Cloud and use it for Lead Management, Lead qualification, Opportunity Management, Forecasting, and Analytics but that he couldn’t see how they could get there if the users won’t use it.
He said he was running into a sales meeting with the President and asked if I could quickly give him my opinion on Salesforce implementation principles that drive Salesforce user adoption. So I said two things:
- Implement Salesforce using a Crawl, Walk, Run approach
- Focus on giving the users REAL value
For the sake of my reader I’ll explain further. The big idea in any Salesforce implementation, in my opinion, is to find something that truly benefits the user. In many cases Salesforce, with its tremendous features, provides real value simply because of the capabilities it provides. That said, many companies still struggle to get the results they want from it. In my experience most of this occurs because one or both of the principles I mentioned above is violated.
I believe that most companies try to implement too much change too soon and they don’t have a clear picture of what drives real value for a sales user. In many cases Salesforce is implemented because management wants a software tool for sales management and this takes priority over creating a tool that sales people can use to increase their individual sales.
In my opinion here are a couple of ideas that can help companies identify these benefits that will get sales people excited about using Salesforce.
- Help them sell more! This starts by doing a lot of work for the rep. I’m a big believer in giving reps actionable intelligence from other systems right in Salesforce. This means using data integration to integrate accounting, ERP Software, and sales data warehouses directly into Salesforce. But more importantly, it’s formatting or “interpreting” the data in a way that allows the reps to use the info immediately. By giving them data that is already interpreted for them they can immediately take action on it in their territory. Here’s an example screen from one of our products that helps reps clearly see sales trends with customers they should know about and take action on.
- Eliminate Non-Selling Activities! Salesforce is very easy to tailor to reduce cumbersome or repetitive tasks. With a little bit of examination it is easy to determine what tasks are being duplicated and workflow or visual force pages can be created that make these tasks one button operations that speed up the rep.
- Give the rep time back. Sounds obvious but in many cases reps are asked to do a lot of activities and we can streamline many of these based on what I mentioned before. But I believe if you tie the use of Salesforce to “Giving time back” and mean it, they will be eager to use the tool because it benefits them. I included an example of a territory planning tool that we’ve created to help reps maximize their time in territory.
- Give to Get. In many cases if we give the reps the tools they need we will also get the information from the rep such as activity or call notes that management also needs. It’s also so much easier to get this info from a tool that’s being actively used by the reps and provides real value.
In closing the main point here is to identify key business processes that can be implemented and enhanced very quickly and provide real value to users like sales people and help them increase sales and productivity. With these ideas in mind our clients can drive the sales behavior necessary via analytics and dashboards that help them increase sales and create very happy users.