OK, Sales Managers. How’s this for a New Year’s resolution. Get your sales team to adopt salesforce.com in a way that helps grow their territories, land new accounts and more accurately forecast revenue.
No question – Salesforce automation tools like Salesforce.com are essential in today’s sales battle. But, like any tool, it’s value is limited by the effectiveness of the sales team (marketing team, client service team) that’s utilizing it. And if you’re like many companies today, your effectiveness could be better. A lot better.
Therefore, fresh for 2015, here are our top 5 ways to improve Salesforce.com adoption rates within your Sales team.
Start with the Executive Team
Listen, there’s no way to get the sales team’s buy in if your executives aren’t going to start demanding that results be tracked in Salesforce. The best way to do this is to start by getting the key metrics that you track out of Excel and into Salesforce.com. Then set up a simple CEO or executive team dashboard, and make sure to include time in each executive meeting for a review.
Start with the basics – for instance – the top 4-5 sales metrics that are the most discussed every day, for instance, closed sales month to date, open deals projected to close this quarter, number of new qualified leads this month, number of deals in the pipeline, etc.
This will enable a top-down approach that will greatly enhance adoption by the sales team.
Clean up the clutter!
Listen – sales people like simple. The easier you make Salesforce.com to use, the more likely the team is to find it useful. Most sales people don’t need or use many of the features in salesforce (or they won’t initially, but over time they may grow into it), so hide the things that aren’t absolutely necessary and keep the labels meaningful.
Do things like hide any unused tabs, hide or remove unused data fields, and use simple, everyday names (or names that your company uses regularly) for custom fields.
Communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more!
It’s not enough to simply announce that you’re transitioning to Salesforce.com and then expect the hoards to follow. As long as sales people feel like a salesforce automation system only benefits the organization, or allows management the ability to keep tabs on them, they are less likely to embrace the technology. Sales people need to understand the “What’s In It For Me” factor. They need to be told why Salesforce.com is not only beneficial for the organization, but how specifically Salesforce.com will help them earn more money. This is a message that will need to repeated time and time again, until the sales team actually starts to see how the efficiencies created can lead to huge gains in their own productivity.
Integrate Salesforce Training
It would be great is Salesforce.com were intuitive, but the reality is, that it isn’t. Training needs to be mandatory and it needs to become a routine. There are all sorts of online sales training classes, such as the ones offered at Stony Point. Putting your sales (or marketing, or customer service) teams through at least one online training session can be done for a minimal investment, with little disruption to the team’s sales efforts, and yet pay off with huge dividends.
If you’re holding a team event, bring in a Salesforce.com trainer from the outside and spend at least a day with the various teams showing them how Salesforce can work for them in their setting.
Also ensure that Salesforce.com training becomes an essential element of all nee hire onboarding. Book at least half a day for an orientation program to Salesforce that puts the new users through exercises and real life examples that they will encounter.
Ensure Salesforce becomes Part of the Sales Culture
There’s an old adage that says, “if it isn’t in Salesforce, then it doesn’t exist”. It’s a time tested saying for a reason. Organizations that have adapted this mantra find higher rates of adoption than those that don’t. If sales managers hold their reps, and their executives to a higher standard of expectations, and ensure that all relevant data that needs to be reported on is within Salesforce.
Then take the critical step of tying compensation to reporting in Salesforce. A sales rep shouldn’t expect compensation on a deal if the opportunity or account isn’t in Saleforce, or if it’s not updated to the appropriate standards.
It’s up to you to ensure that your Salesforce adoption rates meet the standards that you’ve set as a target. The sales managers and the executives need to take the lead on any Salesforce.com initiative if they expect the reps to follow suit. Sell your team – not order them – on the value of how Salesforce will help them each day to win more business, and adoption will naturally follow suit.