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.
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.
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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Let’s face it, the majority of us struggle with digital adoption across the board. According to CSO Insights, less than 40% of CRM users have adoption rates above 90%.
It’s one thing to purchase a tool and train your team on that tool, it’s an entirely different story getting them to properly use it. This challenge is felt across the tech stack and only grows with the more tools and processes we add.
So, if you’re in the low adoption boat, welcome to the club.
Now, what can you do about it? How can you drive digital adoption in your organization and get the most ROI on your tech investments to drive organizational change?
It starts with an understanding of what it actually means and how the rise of digital adoption has led to more changes, tools, and training than ever before.
So, what is digital adoption?
Let’s break it down. Simply put, digital adoption refers to getting the most out of your tools, applications, and organizational changes.
It also means getting the most out of the considerable time, money, and training you have invested in each one.
Stop for a minute and think about how many tools you use on a day to day basis in your position.
Email, Slack, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Salesforce, Outreach, etc. The list stacks up pretty quickly. And according to InsideSales.com, the US spends around $15 billion just on sales acceleration tools alone.
Even if you look at just one tool like Salesforce, it stacks up. Let’s assume that the average Salesforce user has specific customizations, dozens of different processes, and no less than 300 fields they need to understand. That’s a lot of information! AND, according to a survey done by Spekit there are five changes or updates being implemented every week in the average Salesforce org!
In comparison, 20 years ago an employee might have had one tool they needed to be trained on with updates happening every couple of years.
For example, take a look at Siebel Systems (a CRM company) in the 1990s. They released their “Seibel Sales Information” platform in 1994 but version 2.0 did not come out until 1995. That meant once an employee was trained on the initial system, they were good to go for at least a year. That’s a big difference from where the modern worker is at today! It also highlights why developing a digital adoption strategy is necessary but highly complex.
You’re spending more money on tools and changes are occurring faster than ever before, so ensuring your team is both using technology and using it correctly is essential.
How is this affecting my organization?
So, how is poor digital adoption likely affecting your organization? If you’re like most organizations, the impact comes in the form of:
- Decreased productivity
- Wasted time
- Communication gaps
- Dirty data and the list goes on.
Think about just one following scenario:
Your Salesforce Admin makes changes to the lead object that now requires additional information be entered in order to create a new lead. They send out an email to the sales team about the process change with screenshots of the new fields. The sales team skims over the email and makes a mental note of the change.
Sound familiar? In a survey done by Spekit, 42% of SF admins reported that they send change notices by email.
A few days later one of the sales reps goes to create a new lead.
When they click save they get an error message. They feel confused, they did what they always do, so why is there a problem?
After a minute they remember the email from the Salesforce admin that said something about changes. When they go to look for the email, however, they can’t find it. Now they need to connect with a coworker, the admin, or their manager to get the answer they need.
See how the time adds up? Now a simple action in their workflow is slowing them down.
Having a better understanding of what digital adoption is will lead you to understand how scenarios like the one above could be negatively impacting your business.
Why you NEED a digital adoption strategy
The takeaway? Not having a digital adoption strategy is no longer an option. Only 40% of customer relationship management (CRM) software users have adoption rates of 90% or higher. Attempting to forge a path without a strategy will almost certainly lead to bad data, poorly used tools, a lack of communication, and ultimately loss of revenue.
The good news is having an understanding of what digital adoption is and why it is important is a huge first step in creating a digital strategy. You can’t solve a problem if you refuse to admit it exists, right?
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Installing a digital adoption platform is the next big thing in the 21st-century business landscape. The coronavirus pandemic and the disruption it has unleashed have compelled business owners to recognize its importance. The truth is, all of us must pivot to the digital landscape and master its rules if we are to survive, let alone thrive, in the new normal. But acceptance of this hard truth does not necessarily translate into action.
According to IDG’s Digital Business Research, 89% of the companies surveyed said they are planning to roll out a digital-first strategy for implementation. However, only 44% actually follow through on this commitment.
Probably one of the reasons for this failure is that they did not have the proper adoption tools. Without these, a workforce who is just dipping their collective toe into the online world would feel intimidated. As a result, they would be slow in using those tools, or might even disregard them altogether.
Things to consider in choosing a digital adoption platform
Choosing the right digital adoption platform for your company will banish these fears. It can even make learning the new software you are bringing in fun and exciting . Critical to your choice is a digital adoption framework that will empower your team to fully understand the new solution they are given. It will teach and train them how to master it and maximize its value to the company. Aside from that aspect, there are other important things to consider in selecting a digital adoption platform. Here are the top 5:
A user-friendly digital adoption platform with a seamless integration process will attract your team members into using it frequently.
They will see it as a valuable tool in helping them accomplish their tasks, and not another challenge that they will have to hurdle. They can spend more time on it, especially if it can easily transition into any of the devices they are using, such as a smartphone or a laptop. They can easily navigate their way through their respective tasks using the platform like a very helpful map.
This mixture of apparent simplicity and efficiency is one way how to increase digital adoption in your workforce. The more complex the software, the harder it is to understand, the frustrated the employees tend to feel. If they feel lost in using the software, they can suffer burnout and experience demoralization.
2. Tool training
Most people tend to forget what they have learned a few weeks, or even days, after the training. Reinforcement is necessary to make sure they retain their newfound skills or knowledge. This is where tool training comes in. Do not confuse tool training with the learning courses that were given to your people during day one.
Instead, tool training are resources that have been embedded in the software like a live tutorial that can be accessed at any given time. Unlike learning courses or classes, the employee does not have to turn off the work that they are doing to re-read a particular document. This kind of program might even encourage him to learn even more; according to one survey, 79% of employees prefer to learn while working on the job.
Instead, the digital adoption platform’s tool training is an integral part of the app or software. The user can tap into it any time to ask a question or clarify a process, without having to interrupt his current task. What is practical about the app is that they can apply their learning immediately to the task at hand.
3. Training customization
This is the gold mine that is rarely found in any in-app training. More often than not, training courses and other learning materials are carved in stone or programmed to function in a definite way.
An effective digital adoption platform, however, will adapt to your circumstances. Learning is not a static field: over time, you will be able to spot the most persuasive content or precise tools that can improve your people’s abilities.
A state-of-the-art digital adoption platform can customize your training content to suit your business needs. It can hone in on the specific skills that they need to build on. At the same time, it has various forms and other materials that will prevent you from starting at ground zero. No need for you to start from scratch. You can use these templates to create your own content that will best speak to the needs of your workforce.
4. Remote collaboration
Training and learning in all their forms can be more challenging if the workforce is spread throughout various locations. That is the current state of most offices today who have to resort to a work-from-home arrangement to safeguard their people from the coronavirus.
Imagine each employee who has to learn a new software or solution. When things inevitably bog down or should the employee need help, the IT officer who usually steps in might not be available because he is living a thousand miles away.
In those cases, the employee groping their way through the new software can use the digital adoption platform to get back on track. They can retrace their steps, find out where they went wrong, discover the appropriate solution, and then do course correction.
This kind of ever-present assistance is vital in work-from-home situations where personnel have to be productive, despite not being in the same office. If you are in that situation now, it might be advisable to check the guide to remote work essentials from FinancesOnline.
5. Communications tools that help you generate teams
A cutting-edge digital adoption platform can also help your company build your own teams through its advanced communication tools. There are times that companies find themselves having to create committees or groups for training from ground zero. Communications tools can bunch new students into batches, and then migrate them to teams of “graduates” who are skilled in using the software later on.
During the next few months, these team members can work at the same pace as you customize their training content. You can also design leadership modules that will mentor your promising candidates, customized according to their needs, and with security protocols that no other member can breach. If either members and/or leaders need to have their skills upgraded, the communications tools can send them notifications about the next class or training. They can also classify these messages according to the teams’ geographic locations, levels of skill and knowledge, or any other category you define.
The must-haves in choosing a digital adoption platform
These days, adapting technology is not just a matter of buying or installing the trending or most popular software. Doing it the correct way with the right technology can significantly sharpen your competitive edge. According to McKinsey, an organization that has learned how to leverage on one technology will keep on adding others. For example, after successfully deploying cloud-based services, it can move on to using mobile internet technologies and big data and architecture.
The ideal technology must provide for a learning curve that is swift and untroubled. It must be easy enough for your people to use, and equally agile to adapt to your business challenges. Its method of teaching must not be disruptive, but should be incorporated into the work processes.
The best digital adoption platform is not just a solution that can just adjust to your systems; it actually functions as a partner on your pathway to competitive edge and corporate success.
With numerous digital adoption platform solutions out there today, it can feel overwhelming to select the right one for your business. This makes figuring out your strategy for change management, training, onboarding and enabling your team feel very challenging.
- Provide your team the training they need on the tools they use daily
- ROI on the tools and applications you have invested time and resources into
- Help you to reinforce learning continuously
When doing your research to select which digital adoption platform is the right one for your organization you will undoubtedly compare the strengths and weaknesses of your top choices to find the right fit. They all work toward helping you to achieve similar goals, but have different capabilities and features that need to be considered when making a selection.
We have broken down the top digital adoption platform tools here and take a deep dive on which features matter most when it comes to what is most important.
Why use a digital adoption platform?
Before jumping into Spekit vs WalkMe vs Whatfix, let’s take a deeper dive into why you might be considering adding a digital adoption platform to your organization and highlight some of the top benefits they provide.
1. During onboarding, instantly start training your team
According to the Forgetting Curve, “learners will forget an average 90% of what they learned within the first month.” When training isn’t reinforced, it never makes its way to long-term memory and onboarding programs that rely on LMS courses or classes, fall short. A digital adoption platform solves this by reinforcing learning with tool training that happens as your team is logging into their applications or doing their work.
2. You provide resources that are available after onboarding is over
But, learning doesn’t stop after onboarding. Employees need a way to easily access answers to questions when they come up that doesn’t waste time. Digital adoption software lives in your applications to make accessing information, answering questions and empowering users simple and effective.
3. Get the most out of your application and recognize ROI faster with a digital adoption platform
Digital adoption software helps you achieve ROI. How? Let’s say you just installed a new application in your organization. You want to make sure that the money spent on implementing this tool is worth it. People should be taking advantage of this awesome new solution you’ve built.
A custom application like your CRM system gives an average ROI of $8.71 for every $1 spent. But this can only happen if it is being used correctly and effectively by internal users. Digital adoption software ensures users are properly trained and armed with the knowledge to confidently use your tools. This in turn ensures you’re getting the most out of your tools as an organization. AKA: Digital adoption software = trained and empowered users = ROI.
What do you need to know about Spekit?
Let’s start with Spekit. What is it, what bennitis does it specifically offer and how does it stand apart as a digital adoption tool?
Spekit is an in-app learning and knowledge-sharing platform 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 & 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.
Salesforce said, “for many, this is a first: training a remote team 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘦 priorities 𝗮𝗻𝗱 customer engagement shift. Spekit makes firsts feel like old habits.”
Imagine all of your incredible employee training (previously housed across Google Docs, Powerpoints, spreadsheets and video courses) consolidated into a single platform. Then, see that training surface, contextually, directly within the tools your team is using, the moment they have questions.
It’s become the leading digital adoption platform for sharing knowledge, onboarding, driving adoption and communicating process changes in real-time, across the organization.
1. Train your team where they need it most, directly in the applications they use everyday.
Unlike other solutions that rely solely on walkthroughs (a step-by-step click-through training) to train your team, Spekit understands that each employee learns differently. To solve for this, Spekit offers multiple ways to train your team in the applications they use every day:
- You can insert help bubbles beside defined fields, terms or picklist values and trigger notifications on process changes in their tools or via email.
- Your employees can even search a contextual knowledge base for instant answers – without ever leaving the tool they’re in or workflow they’re in the middle of.
2. Easy to manage, set up and scale
Training content in Spekit is evergreen. Unlike WalkMe, where it can take weeks to create a walkthrough that automatically breaks every time a process changes, creating training in Spekit is as easy as writing an email. And, because it’s tied to terms or fields and not a specific walkthrough, you can easily update and revise as processes change without having to redo an entire step-by-step process. Because of its simplicity, you can enlist the help of subject matter experts across your org to support content creation. No need to pay professional services or consultants to manage as you scale.
3. Accessible anywhere, even on mobile
You can access Spekit anywhere. Yes, anywhere you work, even on mobile. Spekit integrates directly into your applications which means it is enabling your users everywhere they need it. It also has extensions that are easily accessed in applications like Outlook or on browsers like Chrome. Let’s look at some examples of what it really means to access Spekit anywhere:
- Maybe an employee is in Salesforce trying to remember what needs to happen to move a deal from one stage to the next. Spekit is there.
- Maybe they’re prospecting on LinkedIn and can’t remember what the benefits are for a certain persona. Spekit is there.
Unlike WalkMe where you have to literally build a new walkthrough for each tool where you have a process – Spekit is automatically there wherever your employees have questions.
4. It offers out of the box CUSTOMIZABLE training content for FREE
Out of the box content means getting up and running the minute Spekit in installed. No lag time in creating training content or defining processes, just instantly accessible information that users can access right out of the gate. This means a quick install and easy setup. But out of the box can sometimes mean a “one size fits all” approach. Not here. All content is customizable so you can alter and tailor it to meet your unique and specific needs. This also means you can add as you go. Your organization will always be evolving, changing and growing. Spekit makes it easy to ensure everyone stays on the same page.
What is the breakdown?
- Unlimited Users
- Unlimited Content
- Content Transfer
- Premium onboarding
- Premium Support
- Dedicated Success Manager, and more!
Spekit Lite – FREE for up to 10 users
Spekit Pro – $10/user/month
Spekit is easy to use, easy to set up and helps you get on track to see ROI fast. If you are looking for a digital adoption platform that offers multiple ways to train your team, doesn’t break as processes change and easily scales with your org, this is the tool for you. Not sure if it’s the right one for you? No problem. Sign up for free to try out the platform and you can decide.
What do you need to know about WalkMe?
WalkMe is a digital adoption platform that allows you to create “walk through” content to train and onboard your team and customers.
1. Use walkthroughs to start the onboarding and training process
Chances are high you have custom applications in your organization. Each one is unique and complex. WalkMe helps initially onboard and train employees on your specific applications with walkthroughs. It provides them guided assistance through each platform so they understand how to use correctly right off the bat. It’s great for just getting started with a new tool where you want to force your users through a step-by-step training when they first come on board.
2. Provide much needed support to your IT team by sharing walkthroughs externally
Another reason why using WalkMe as your walkthrough solution helps combat business challenges? Digital adoption applications reduce the load on your support and IT team. WalkMe provides step by step guidance that provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) on your customer-facing site and applications. When customers or prospects do not have to spend time searching for questions they are less likely to get stuck and open a help ticket. This means your IT and support team can spend more time working on projects in your roadmap and less time answering smaller questions.
3. Find out where bottlenecks are happening with your customers and employees
Using WalkMe walkthroughs on your external site or app, you can track and analyze usage to understand where people are getting stuck on your application or the most frequently visiting FAQs. This helps to improve the User Experience of your app or identify gaps in your support that can be filled with better training or product enhancements.
What is the breakdown?
- Tracking and gathering of analytics
- Available on multiple browsers
- Available in multi languages
- Mobile accessibility
Basic price – Consultation required for pricing
Custom plan – Consultation required for pricing
*See their website for more pricing and package details
WalkMe allows companies to train users and customers with walkthroughs in your app. It does require heavy lifting to set up and create walkthroughs. You’ll need a different walkthrough for each process, on each app and these will not automatically update as your processes change. If you’re going to use a solution like this, it’s recommended that you hire consultants or their implementation packages to maintain.
What do you need to know about Whatfix?
Whatfix is a digital adoption platform that provides users with quick access to information and answers to questions where they are working.
1. It works across a wide range of platforms
We know that on average most companies use 37 different tools in their organization. That’s a lot of different tools to keep track of and train employees on! Whatfix works across a wide range of platforms like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, Sharepoint and more. This compatibility means an easier time training employees when you have a lot of different tools in play.
Whatfix integrates with current systems, applications and tools you already have in place to help figure out the best ways to get employees to use the service. It can integrate with your LMS system to make sure you can track the progress and completion of LMS content and courses by your users.
3. You can create microlearning plans
With Whatfix, you can create microlearning plans for your users that are easy to follow and will get the up to speed on your tools and processes that are in place. It can get your users to that initial understanding of the tools you have in place, ensure that workarounds are not developed due to inadequate training and provide a centralized source of information. You can even track their progress through the microlearning plans to see if they are getting stuck or have questions that are not answered in the existing materials.
What is the breakdown?
- Customizable training plans
- User feedback
- Analytics on content
- Remote access and collaboration
- Alerts to users about updates
See the Whatfix site to get a quote.
Whatfix works well if you are juggling a lot of tools that you need to be able to train your employees on. It is also great for tailoring individualized learning plans to make the learning experience more customizable and understandable for individuals.
Our favorite Digital Adoption platform?
If you’re looking to only implement walkthroughs to train new users on your application, WalkMe is probably the tool for you. If you are looking for integration at the metadata level and access to a robust existing Salesforce data dictionary, Whatfix probably isn’t the tool for you either.
If you’re looking for a digital adoption platform that’s easy to set up and provides multiple ways to train your team across multiple applications, we suggest Spekit. It is a simple but powerful digital adoption platform that meets all of your initial and ongoing learning and training needs. See for yourself by signing up for free now.