Salesforce Adoption: Does It Need to be Lead from the Top?

A question was posed recently in the Salesforce.com Professional Network group in LinkedIn – “What are some best practices to push Salesforce adoption to the sales team if it doesn’t come from the top?”

Some great responses, ranging from using the Salesforce assistant tool, Salesbroom, and the real time on-demand sales pipeline and forecasting app FunnelSource, to old standbys such as eliminating the need for a separate call reports and using Activity reports directly and making sure the reps engage with the mobile version.

No doubt these are valid suggestions, and when implemented properly with the right Salesforce training, can only help to drive greater user adoption. However, I was still stuck on the original question, which was how to drive adoption if it doesn’t come from the top. And I kept coming back to the same query, and that is, why would you even try?

What’s the point exactly in getting the sales team to adopt the tool, if senior management isn’t embracing it? Where exactly are they getting their forecasts from in that case? Ultimately to be successful, senior management needs to be religious about tracking company activity through Salesforce. If the first thing executives look at everyday are their dashboards, then the rest of the company will follow that lead eventually.

We often work within organizations that struggle to adopt Salesforce. One of our first questions to the executives, is why did your company bring in Salesforce to begin with. Often the responses are somewhat vague and uncertain. Well, we want to organize our contacts and accounts, we want to reduce the sales cycle time, our sales reps kept asking for it, or we know we needed to upgrade, are all familiar answers.

The problem is that none of these are particularly workable objectives. In order for a Salesforce training implementation to work effectively, we need to start by establishing the organizational goals for bringing in Salesforce in the first place. We also want to ensure that the objective is something that is measurable and attainable.

The bottom line is that the decision to use a sophisticated organizational tool like Salesforce needs to be a decision that is made at the top of the organization, with the reasons for such an implementation laid out. Salesforce should be added because it’s a tool to help drive an organizational mandate that is set at the top. Why then would the most senior levels of the organization then not do everything they could to ensure that the tool is used the right way, and start by embracing it themselves.

SalesForce Training & Consulting is a professional coaching and 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 and Chicago, providing sales coaching, sales management consulting, Salesforce.com training and Salesforce.com Admin support, sales training and sales personnel assessments.

by   Mark Christie