So you’ve recently acquired Salesforce.com for the sales team, and perhaps the marketing group as well. You’ve heard what a wonderful tool it is at automating all of your sales functions, how it captures and stores all of your prospect and customer interactions in one place, how easy it is for sales managers to view on-the-spot reports and real-time dashboards that will enable them to make better and faster decisions, and that all of this information is stored in the cloud, so no further investments to your server space are required. All true. So now, the assumption typically goes, we must be ready for Salesforce training so that we can have our sales reps get busy closing more deals.
But are you really ready?
It’s pretty important to note – the Salesforce.com system you’ve just bought, is not ready to go. Far from it actually. What you’ve acquired – as is – is a remarkably complex tool, that without further enhancements or customization, should NOT be unleashed upon your sales team. Without any further development to the system, Salesforce training, if rolled out to the sales team, will have the exact opposite effect that you intended. It will confuse sales people, add to their daily administration and frustration, lower productivity, and ultimately be something that the sales team starts to avoid. This is to say nothing of the data that your team will start importing and collecting. Correcting this with Salesforce training, six months after the roll-out will be lengthy, time consuming and expensive.
So why the great paradox?
Why Salesforce Training Fails
Basically, there are two main reasons why Salesforce.com fails or is poorly adopted, even after Salesforce training:
- data quality, and
- a non-customized system
When you acquire Salesforce.com, the system comes fully loaded – everything on. It’s up to the business to determine which features they want to turn off/hide. The system needs to stay simple so when users log in, they don’t see 20 different functions that they don’t use, nor would they ever use. The same goes for all input screens. One of the first steps you need to take is to conduct a Business Process Review (BPR). The BPR helps you to determine, out of the 1,000 or so different features, which 5, 20 or 50 are needed by your group to be successful basic users. It also tells us how those 5, 20 or 50 features need to be set up. One of the key advantages of Salesforce is its flexibility. It allows features to be setup a multitude of different ways. The BPR helps you to determine the easiest and most streamlined way for your business. Any required changes that you uncover in the BPR can then be passed along to your IT and your training team so that they are able to maintain and change the system on an on-going basis to support your evolving structure.
We’ve often been told – “We just want our Salesforce to be really simple for our users”. And we would agree, that’s one of the best goals you can have. But getting there is not necessarily as simple. In fact, the simpler you need Salesforce to be, sometimes the more complex the challenge is in getting it there. Simple systems do not equate to simple set-ups.
Think of it this way. You want your sales team to drive to appointments in cars. So you think, we better invest in some driver training. And obviously, you would want these cars to be easy to drive. Things like the steering wheel where it should be, a clear dashboard providing data points, solid chasis, engine, four wheels, doors, roof, windows – all the things we associate with a car. So we think we’re being helpful in lining up some first rate driver training for our sales team. But wait, we didn’t buy actual cars for them. Instead we bought them pre-assembled cars that come in giant crates. (Clearly this is a bit of a ridiculous analogy, but bear with us.) Buying Salesforce.com is like buying a bunch of car parts in a box. All the pieces are there, but it’s not ready to be taken out on the road. Providing your team with the car as-is will ultimately prove to be a mistake. What are they going to do with a bunch of car parts? Even providing training on how to drive car won’t be enough. The training only covers how to drive a completely assembled car, of course, not what to do with a bunch of parts. The basic framework still needs to be put together.
The Business Process Review
So what exactly happens in a BPR? Any Salesforce training program should start with a deep dive in understanding your current sales process, your current issues and desired outcomes.
All of your key stakeholders need to be involved to review your current sales process, system setups, the gap analysis and desired state for both. A document should be prepared that explains how the process with be supported in the system. This document will be retained by IT and can be used as a master document for your all the setups.
The primary objective should always be to understand what the organization wants to accomplish by implementing Salesforce.com, namely:
- Determining the key stakeholders, i.e. who will be critical to make this work;
- Defining the long term vision;
- Documenting the current pain points;
- Clarifying and prioritizing the business goals and associated KPIs and how they will be measured for each target group touching Salesforce;
- Mapping out all of the organization’s roles, role definitions, responsibilities, sales funnel workflow and documents required at each step for management’s approval.
Only after the BPR has been fully completed can programming of the system begin. Plan for about two weeks minimum of development, sign-offs and testing. After the customization of the Salesforce instance, a Salesforce training plan can begin in earnest, with all of the elements routinely associated with developing a solid training plan and curriculum.
SalesForce Training & Consulting is a professional training firm that specializes in helping companies navigate their way in a Salesforce.com environment. SalesForce Training is based in Toronto, with trainers in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, providing sales coaching, sales management consulting, Salesforce.com training, selling skills sales training and sales team assessments.