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How to Kickstart Digital Transformation In Your Enterprise Featuring Dan Ritch, the CIO at NorthMarq

Hear Dan Ritch, the CIO at NorthMarq address some of the greatest digital transformation challenges businesses are currently facing.

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Digital Adoption: Strategies you can start using now

The process of developing a digital adoption strategy can feel overwhelming. With so many tools to manage, process changes to document, and training to distribute it can feel like an uphill battle. 

There are tools out there that can help you manage the process but even choosing one of them from the many options can feel overwhelming. 

Why is that? Well, knowledge management, user adoption, and change management tools are hotter than ever. This is because organizations are recognizing the need for them to manage the digital adoption process. In fact, according to a study done by Zion Market Research, the industry is estimated to grow to nearly $20 billion by 2022! 

But why does it matter? And what tips, tricks, and strategies can you start using today to get you going on your digital adoption journey? 

Why does it matter?

Why is it important that you develop a strategy in the first place and what does research tell us about potential impacts of low adoption?

Low adoption impacts data cleanliness. If people don’t use a tool or don’t know how to properly use a tool, the data either isn’t put in or, more often, input incorrectly. Bad data consequently leads to skewed forecasting models, poor financial decisions and the list goes on. 

According to the research director at Gartner, Mei Yang Selvage, it causes a number of adverse effects that are often overlooked. “Failing to measure this impact results in reactive responses to data quality issues, missed business growth opportunities, increased risks, and lower ROI,” said Selvage.  

Low adoption also directly impacts revenue. According to the Salesforce “State of Sales” annual report, on average Sales reps spend just 34% of their time selling. Why? A majority said they spend the rest of their time inputting data, managing emails/communications, and tracking down the right information.

A part of the time they could be selling is wasted to tracking down information in the very tools that are supposed to help make them more productive! 

How else is it impacting your bottom line? An IBM study found that “when teams are appropriately trained, companies save an average of $70,000 annually and receive a 10% increase in productivity.”

So what strategies can you start using right away to help curb the consequences of low adoption?

Strategies you can adopt (see what we did there?)

If you’re starting from scratch, consider starting with the following tips:

1) Start with an audit. It will be impossible to drive adoption without understanding how many tools you have and who has access to them. Map out which teams use which tools so you can segment it down a bit. It will also be a good idea to track down the costs of each one and make sure you check if they are billed monthly or annually. The reason this step is important is understanding if you can cancel a subscription/service/tool if need be. Software usage and waste reports found that on average the cost of unused software is approximately $259 per desktop. This adds up to 37% of waste in the overall cost of licensing the tools!  

2) Understand the essential elements. It’s important to understand what needs to go into an adoption strategy and what you’ll need to consider. The 5 essential elements you need to focus on are timing, communication, documentation, training, and reinforcement (more on this below). 

3) Consider crafting an enablement strategy. Find out how you can help your team do their jobs and use their tools better with a comprehensive enablement strategy. For more detailed information about crafting an enablement strategy, click HERE.

Next steps 

If you’ve already started your digital adoption journey, first give yourself a pat on the back. It can be a tricky process and you’ve already crossed the starting line! Extra kudos if you already have a plan for an enablement strategy!

Now that you’ve laid the foundation, take a look at the following tips to double down and accelerate your adoption journey:

1) Understand why perceived usefulness is important. A particular tool may be easy to use but it doesn’t matter if your entire team does not think so. Perception is reality when it comes to adoption. People will always be resistant to change so it is important to make sure there is an incentive to use new tools, existing underutilized tools, or adopt new changes being rolled out. If it is clear to your team they will benefit from using the tool, they’ll be more likely to do so. Also, be sure there is clear training and build excitement around it. If everyone starts to get excited, social dynamics and the status quo will help persuade those on the fence.

2) Make it user friendly. How is user-friendly different from perceived usefulness? Great question! Just showing the benefit and building excitement will not be enough. If it’s not intuitive or is too difficult to figure out, the tool will ultimately be abandoned. This means providing the proper training and making resources readily accessible and easy to find. This way when inevitable questions come up, the user can get the resources they need and not abandon their workflow.

3) Expand your plan for the “essential elements.” As mentioned above, there are 5 key components you will need to consider when embarking on your digital adoption journey:

a) Timing – Just like how you can’t boil the ocean, you cannot drive adoption overnight. It is important to level-set your expectations when it comes to timing and developing a realistic timeline. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Do NOT start a project at the end of the quarter/end of the fiscal year. You and your whole team are busy enough and a new initiative will likely not be successful when people are already up to their ears in workloads.
  • Also, as tempting as it will be, avoid choosing Monday mornings as a kick-off for change. People will be more receptive to it once they are ready for the week and have gotten back into work mode.

b) Communication – Change can often be uncomfortable or even scary for some. Talk to your team first. Discuss what their pain points are and address their concerns about what the change will mean for them. Lead with the benefits before discussing the changes and reassure them that this will be helpful. Next, be sure to send out written communication with important details and dates. If it is a big change, like rolling out an entirely new tool, make sure you send LOTS of notifications and notice.

c) Documentation – This is one that we all agree is of high importance but can often fall down the list of urgency. It is important to remember that documentation, just like we mentioned in timing, does not have to happen overnight. You will want to be sure that training documentation is available upfront and is easy to access. To ensure you and your team are successful, dedicate 10 minutes every day to documentation. Taking it in stride will eliminate documentation burnout. And! Be sure to make it all centralized. Scattered documentation will render efforts unsuccessful.

d) Training – If we haven’t made it clear already, training is a cornerstone of adoption. How can you expect people to adopt changes and use new tools if they are not told how to do so or given expectations? This does not mean one upfront training session! The most important thing to remember about training is that it is not a one time exercise. For training to be successful, it must happen on a continuous basis. Why? Science!

e) Reinforcement – To reiterate what we just said (and to prove the point), you have to make learning and training a continuous journey. Think about this, your working memory only retains 7-10 pieces of information. And to make a long term memory? You have to have R-E-I-N-F-O-R-C-E-M-E-N-T. Learning science has found that the best approach is “bite-sized” digestible chunks of knowledge. Make training an in-app journey that lives where your users work to reinforce it on a continuous basis.


Making the journey simple and spectacular 

Now that you have the strategies you need, let’s talk about tools.

Traditionally this has meant lengthy courses filled to the brim with difficult to remember details, walkthroughs that break with every new update, google docs, emails, difficult to locate power points, etc.

None of this has led to overall success. So what’s missing?

This is where in-app learning shines. What is in-app learning? 

Learning embedded within applications to deliver training anywhere users are working. 

This is a game-changer because users no longer have to stop their workflow or disrupt their processes to find answers. 

New adoption and enablement tools like Spekit consolidate knowledge across the organization in a centralized wiki, then surface that information contextually, wherever your team is working. 

All of this leads to ease of use, less volume on your support team/ IT department/ SF Admin, and ultimately drives adoption.

Driving home your efforts 

It won’t be an overnight journey, but you’re now well on your way to driving adoption in your organization.

Remember to revisit the essential elements if you are feeling lost or stuck at any point. And remember, you’re not alone. If adoption were easy we wouldn’t keep coming back to address new challenges. It’s a continuous journey because organizations and technology are in a constant state of flux. But, implementing the above strategies will put you on the road to adoption success. 

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Digital Enablement: Sales enablement for the modern workforce

Let’s talk enablement.

If you’re new to enablement, you won’t be much longer. While a few years ago you’d only hear about the term “sales enablement” in SaaS and tech, today the role is is popping up everywhere, across industries.

In fact, in the past five years, the sales enablement function has experienced a 343% increase in adoption! And worldwide spending on digital transformation is expected to “surpass $2.1 trillion by 2021.” 

And, it’s not just sales teams who need enablement. Digital enablement, where employees across the org are empowered with the training and resources they need to be successful with their tools and effective in their roles, has become an absolute necessity.

But, where did it come from and why is it, “SO hot right now”?

Let’s start from the beginning…

Where did digital and sales enablement come from, anyway?

Digital enablement has changed drastically in recent years because technology has changed dramatically.

Think about it…

You’re using WAY more tools today than ever before. And each of these tools has its own unique processes, customizations and regular updates.

You might use Outreach for creating sequences, Seismic to gain sales insights and close deals, prospect new customers in LinkedIn Sales Navigator and likely live in Salesforce. There are dozens more tools your team is responsible for using with the goal of driving productivity to close more deals, faster.

Each of these tools is releasing new features, updates, UI enhancements, etc. regularly. And, you’re likely adding your own customizations (new fields, process updates, etc.) along with these product changes. Essentially, the tools we use and the methods by which we use them are in a constant state of evolution. 

That’s a big departure from legacy tools of the past! In the 1980s and 1990s, our software was updated every few years and you only had a few tools to manage. This meant it was safe to say once a user was trained and enabled on a tool, they were good to go for a while.

One too(l) many 

The tools you use have a huge impact on the bottom line. This is both because of the cost of technology, but also because they enable your sales team to perform at their absolute peak.

If they’re not being used, being used incorrectly or not utilized to their full capabilities, you’re losing money. It’s killing your team’s (and likely your own) productivity and you’re not seeing a return on your tech investment. 

In fact, according to 1E, the cost of wasted spend on software in the US adds up to about $30 billion per year! 

This is where the rise of digital enablement comes into play.

We have established that we have more tools and more changes to train on and communicate than ever before. And to maximize your investment in these tools, you need digital enablement to answer questions such as…

  • How can we help our team maintain productivity and be effective while using these tools?
  • How can we easily communicate changes and train on our ever-changing tech stack in a way that’s not disruptive to our team’s day-to-day?
  • How can we maximize adoption in our tech stack to realize ROI?

You may also be thinking, why is digital enablement the solution to these questions? Well, the why begins with science.


It’s just science

The science of learning shows us that, much like technology, the way we learn has evolved. We’re constantly bombarded with new information, leaving little room for retention. In fact, studies show 90% of new information is forgotten in just one week.

Think about it this way; we used to have phone numbers memorized to make a quick phone call without a Rolodex handy.

Now, say a name on your phone and Siri does all the heavy lifting.  We could call the same person every day and not have their number memorized because it’s not reinforced, thus never making it into our long-term memory. 

If you can’t expect somebody to remember a number they call every day, you can’t expect them to remember that training course or PowerPoint you presented two days ago.

And, this memory retention/tool proficiency gap impacts more than performance. In fact, 86% of millennial’s saying that training impacts their decision to stay in a position.

So, if your team doesn’t understand how to properly use their tools, you’re likely suffering from low productivity,  wasted tech spend AND possibly members of your team altogether!  

Tech growth = training growth, yeah?

You would think that innovation and expansion of our tech stack go hand-in-hand with new and innovative ways to train employees on this stack, right?

But, our training and enablement strategies still have a lot of catching up to do. We’re still relying on tools like PowerPoint, a tool introduced in 1987 to train on processes or onboard our team. We use WebEx for virtual training, a platform that came on the market in 1995. 

Many rely solely on LMS systems, specifically designed for one time, lengthy absorption of knowledge, but that employees quickly forget and information is rarely reinforced. 

These tools aren’t designed to keep up with the rapid rate of small changes introduced in technology today and the short-attention spans, low retention of the modern employee. The modern worker needs continuous, bite-sized reinforcement of training and enablement.

In fact, according to a survey done by Spekit and leading sales consultancy JBarrows of sales enablement leaders, 67% of those surveyed said the number one factor that impacts their ability to put their training into practice was lack of reinforcement after the training session. 

For digital enablement to keep up, it needs to be flexible, scalable, contextual, reinforced and in real-time. Companies like DocSend, JLL, and Mariner Wealth who are doing this well through a combination of in-app learning software investments and stellar strategy have seen significant boosts in productivity and more self-sufficient reps which all, ultimately leads to more revenue.

More changes on the horizon

Meeting users where they work is the new bread and butter, so to speak. And having a strategy to enable your team is no longer a “nice to have” but essential.

Changes will only keep coming faster and faster as we continue to evolve and maintain this rapid rate of growth. So ask yourself, is your team ready?

Check back for our next blog post that will give you insights into strategies top enablement pros are using to address these enablement challenges head on.

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The secret to wowing clients during and after implementation – a personalized, just-in-time training solution

“It’s fair to say that without a tool like Spekit our agency’s ability to continue to carry out our mission would be hampered by confusion and obsolete guidance which Spekit helps us avoid.”  – Dustin Bystrom, Minnesota Associate Council for Veterans

Documentation and hand-off at the end of any implementation can be more challenging than the project itself. Passing off all training and answering the many questions that pop up after can take massive amounts of time and potentially extend the project. 

We know that the overall cost of implementation is one of the most important metrics clients want and need to control. For that reason, if there are any specific pieces that threaten or put pressure on the timeline and/or budget, you run the risk of an unhappy client, a freeze on resources or even a failed project. 

With time, scope and budget being so finite, anything that can help mitigate unforeseen challenges can be the difference between a satisfied client and an unhappy one. This is particularly important when it comes to maintaining a client for life relationship.

So, what’s the solution? How can you eliminate these seemingly inevitable hurdles and problems that come with wrapping up a project? Let’s break down how Spekit can help you create the perfect Salesforce roll out and win over your clients again and again.


Why Spekit? 

Spekit is an in-app learning and digital companion that helps employees learn their tools and navigate process changes by accessing answers and enablement resources in real-time, everywhere they work. 

Built by sales ops professionals for growing and remote teams, Spekit blends the sophistication of a modern digital adoption platform with the simplicity of a contextual knowledge base for a lightweight yet powerful solution to continuous employee training.

So, how can it help you during and after implementation?


Documentation, documentation, documentation 

Let’s start with the big one, documentation. What systems and tools are you currently using to execute your project documentation? Powerpoint? Word? Excel? Email? Maybe even your clients internal system(s)? 

There’s nothing specifically wrong with any of these tools on their own, but what happens when there are changes to the scope of the project? What if your client makes frequent updates or consistently alters the scope of the project? How easy is it to edit and complete the new documentation? Losing project time to documentation has traditionally felt like par for the course, especially when it comes to communicating with your clients. 

It also affects your clients post-implementation. Long term, what happens when changes are made in their Salesforce instance? Is your client prepared to manually update those changes in the provided documentation? Do they have a plan for documenting and communicating?


Spekit helps you overcome these seemingly unsolvable problems. Let’s take a look at an example…Let’s say you’re implementing a CPQ solution for a new client.With Spekit:

  • You create the documentation once and add it in the Spekit wiki (for example, if you’re implementing NPSP, all your basic NPSP content is added into Spekit).
  • That content can quickly be customized to meet your client’s needs (for example, add the Client’s name, any unique terms or definitions they need).
  • Voila! You can hand off this project to your client as a customized documentation solution that they can access from directly within Salesforce or across any app via our Chrome Extension. 
  • Starting a new project with a new client? Easy! Just clone your existing documentation, customize to the new client’s needs and publish! 

Getting started in Spekit is easy and doesn’t require heavy lifting to get up and running. In a few steps you’ll be ready to start your documentation and provide real-time updates for your client.

This once tedious task is now easy and efficient to replicate across clients. Now, let’s look at how you can hand this off after implementation.

Enabling a smooth handoff and future-proofing your project 

Now, you’ve gone through the process of creating documentation and you’re ready for the handoff. The project is wrapping and you need to provide your client with the specifics about why you did what you did, how you did what you did, the nuances behind the solution you built for them and the details behind everything in their org from custom objects to individual fields. 

Using Spekit to help roll out your implementation and complete detailed documentation throughout the project means you’re already one step ahead. This training isn’t new to the client. Likely, they’ve been involved to a degree in your process so far. They’ve had access to the shared training in Spekit and you’ve assigned “Experts” to manage content after you’ve left.

Through the dynamic content created during documentation, you’ve already provided training materials they can immediately get started with. With knowledge and videos embedded with the Spekit content, they can immediately use to get up to speed on the amazing solution you built for them. 

This is crucial because now they’re able to turn around and customize any additional training for their team so they can get up and running right out of the gate. This means sooner recognition of ROI on a tool they’ve invested a lot of time and money into.

They’re also able to collect data from their employees in real-time to find out if everything is working the way it should be. This could be a potential source of User Acceptance Training (UAT) feedback as well. During the headaches that inevitably arise during UAT, they’ll be able to easily capture feedback from their team to notify you of any bugs or breaks before you wrap the project.  

Now that we have established how Spekit helps with both documentation, UAT, and hand off, next up is how leaving a client with a project fully buttoned up like this ensures a client for life.

User adoption = Client for life 

For your client, implementation is the beginning, not the end. Although your part of their Salesforce journey may be coming to an end for the moment, the goal can and should always be to gain a client for life. 

Let’s look at a very interesting statistic that should really drive home why the client for life relationship is so important for you as a consultancy. “For every $1 Salesforce makes, the partner ecosystem will make $5.18,” according to the IDC. That means they’re likely to spend 5x more in the ecosystem! That’s a lot of reasons to maintain the relationship. 

Clients who’ve had a positive implementation experience will likely come back to the same SI/consultancy in the future to help with their continued needs for Salesforce, integrations, data migration and new instances. 

Looking at how Spekit has made a positive impact on future proofing their specific Salesforce instance, Dustin Bystrom of Minnesota Associate Council for Veterans said, “As a statewide nonprofit (MAC-V), Spekit has quickly become an essential tool to quickly and efficiently disseminate needed information to our staff located in various offices around the state. Given the current global health situation that requires our team to transition to a remote work, Spekit has enabled us to get information to our staff rapidly where they need it most, and with circumstances and information changing at a breakneck pace the application has allowed for easy editing and notifications as guidance has changed.”

“The application is user friendly and easy to use allowing for us to crowdsource content and utilize the unique knowledge and skills of our colleagues without having to spend precious time troubleshooting and reviewing content. It’s fair to say that without a tool like Spekit our agency’s ability to continue to carry out our mission would be hampered by confusion and obsolete guidance which Spekit helps us avoid.”  

Dustin highlights the importance of training after go-live and why it is so important to consider the next steps your clients should take after implementation. 

Bottom line, as your client grows, you grow with them.

Using Spekit makes wrapping your project easy

Did you ever think that rolling out a Salesforce implementation could be, dare we say it, a breeze? Using Spekit you can feel confident that you have everything at your disposal to be successful. 

Spekit allows you to easily work on and update documentation in real time. You can collaborate with the necessary stakeholders on the client end of the project and adjust as needed if scope changes. 

You also have an easy way to hand everything off and provide the training they need to be successful with the solution you built. Did you know Spekit also gives you the ability to print a PDF or Excel file from all of the documentation you just created? Yup, we thought of everything. Lastly, they’ll recognize ROI sooner with onboarding materials and just-in-time training directly within Salesforce to guide their team. This means happy successful clients. And, when your client is happy, you’re happy right? We thought so. 

Have more questions about how Spekit can help you create the perfect Salesforce rollout? Click here to set up a demo, here to find out more about partnering with Spekit or signup for free!

Spekit JLL Case Study

Case Study: How JLL Adopted a Living, Breathing Training Solution with Spekit

JLL DS is going through a global transformation with a major impact to how they operate globally. Learn how they used Spekit to drive adoption and train employees on Salesforce.

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