Why Training Alone Will Not Improve Adoption

Mark Christie SalesForce TrainingWhy Training Alone Will Not Improve Adoption

By Mark Christie, Salesforce Training

The sandwich tray is crumbs, the water pitcher is empty and everyone is trained and comfortable using Salesforce the way it was intended. How tempting it is to think that training is complete. It’s not. In fact, it’s just started. Salesforce can do a ton for your business. But you need to understand that, in order for it to be a successful tool, it’s all in the follow-up.

Naturally, when an organization deploys Salesforce and wants to ensure a high adoption rate, they’ll engage in training that will show them in a matter of hours how to use the most powerful CRM on the planet but the biggest step is applying Salesforce everyday.

“How do I engrain Salesforce into the culture of my team?” you ask.

Well, to put it bluntly, Salesforce adoption begins…and ends with YOU.

That’s right. You. The Sales Manager. Salesforce adoption has to start with management.

As a manager, you need to get your team to buy in. Training would have demonstrated how to use Salesforce to improve their productivity and create efficiencies in moving deals through the pipeline. Once your team is effective at using Salesforce daily, as a manager you are going to gain clearer transparency into their daily activities, their workflow etc. Reports are going to have more meaning and you’ll be better able to forecast on a consistent basis.

As any leader can attest, getting true buy-in isn’t easy. My approach isn’t about buying in – but about selling in. Yes, selling a sales tool to sales people.

Here’s how to sell Salesforce to your team in these six steps.

Six Steps to Salesforce Adoption

Step One: One-on-One Knowledge Checks
Make sure to include plenty of one-on-one follow up sessions. This is essential to those who were hesitant to ask for more direction during the training class. Perhaps they didn’t want to sound foolish by asking a silly question or appear like they weren’t listening. At Salesforce Training, we support one-on-one knowledge checks which give the learner an opportunity to demonstrate their newly learned skills. When we call and check on someone we ask “walk me through how you Log a Call”  The sales rep will feel more relaxed being approached by a third party person who is non-judgmental in testing their new skills.

Keep in mind that research says it’s takes between18 to 254 days to adopt new a behavior. Yup, that number is right – up to 254 days. But with repetition and comfort level with technology, that number should be in the high teens.

Step Two: Sales Meetings
Immediately after the training is over – DO NOT hold another sales meeting without Salesforce at the top of the agenda. Opportunity Pipelines, Forecasts, Top Accounts – whatever the discussion – it has to be supported with data from Salesforce. Sure, the first couple of meetings be a little wonky. But the message will be crystal clear – we are using Salesforce and it’s not going away. By the third meeting it should be evident that Salesforce is no passing fad.

Step Three: Power-Users
Following training, have a couple of your Salesforce Power-Users attend the first sales meeting. Invite them pull out their up-to-date Salesforce reports and demonstrate to other team members just how detailed and efficient they look. Show others that instead of creating more admin work, that Salesforce actually bought them more time because they didn’t spend time creating manual reports with Excel.

By demonstrating to other team members how much faster and effective Salesforce can be, they’ll see more value in using it.

Step Four: Collaborate on Salesforce with the Management Team
This one is easy to be overlooked. If you have a large team with multiple sales managers across various regions, schedule weekly meetings with other managers. The aim should be to discuss how each region is succeeding with Salesforce and overall user adoption. Some regions will ultimately be having an easier time getting rep buy in. Find out what those managers are doing. Ask what it is that their users love the most – the mobile app, the reporting, productivity apps from the App Exchange, or something else.  Anything that improves the user experience – these are vital. This is where you can demonstrate the effectiveness of Salesforce to your team and also point out real examples of best practices within your own organization. Invite other managers to your next sales meeting to share what their teams are doing. And make sure to bring along your Salesforce Admin who can share reports that will be of benefit to other departments as well.

Step five: Show value
Spend time collaborating on how to send reporting upwards to the executives. Find the best and most useful reports and dashboards, and schedule them to land in the Inboxes of the execs before they ask for it (instant Brownie points!) Improving Salesforce adoption means showing people value, including execs. Give them the data they need to make better decisions regarding resource allocation, and you my friend, will be on the fast track to the corner office.

Step Six: Nip resistance in the bud
Be aggressive in addressing instances where you see resistance. This is important for two reasons. First, small problems have a nasty habit of ballooning into bigger ones. Second, you don’t want unhappy employees poisoning the minds of other employees who have already bought in.

I am here to tell you that integrating Salesforce can be done and if it’s not done effectively, it can cost you more money to fix in the long run. If you’d like to talk about customizing your adoption levels and protecting your investment, give me a call.


Salesforce Training helps organizations improve their utilization of Salesforce and increase adoption rates. With consultants and trainers across the U.S. and Canada, we are well positioned to help sales leaders with the guidance and ongoing support to ensure positive behavior change in their sales teams.

If you are leading a large to mid-size organization and you know your sales manager would benefit from Salesforce Training, contact us at info@salesforcetraining.com or call 1-800-761-7382.