8 Steps to Creating a Culture of Adoption

It’s one of the biggest questions you face as a Salesforce leader: You’re responsible for your team not just using but correctly using Salesforce, how can you create a culture of adoption to make it happen? 

Not to worry, Spekit CEO Melanie Fellay has broken it down in this quick 20-min Q&A session on Salesforce user adoption best practices! Not feeling like a video? We’ve pulled our favorite eight tips for you below.

Step 1: Understand that you are the salesperson 

What? No… 

Yes! You are an internal Salesperson in your organization! It is your job to sell your users on why Salesforce is going to make their life easier and ultimately get their buy-in. Think about it, if you build the most robust and comprehensive solution that should be a game-changer for your org but no one is using it, does it really make a difference? That’s why the first step is to put on your sales hat.

 

Step 2: Sell the “why”

To sell people on using Salesforce every day, they and you need to understand the “why.” What value will it give to them? What impact does user adoption have on the business? This means talking to all the different teams using Salesforce. Find out what concerns they have, what’s holding them back and what success would look like for them.  Finding out the challenges will lead you to create solutions people want to use.

 

Step 3: Start from the ground up

It’s easy to assume that your best bet to drive better adoption is to start from the top with the leadership team. However, your best bet is to start from the bottom and work your way up. Why? In order to show leadership why this initiative is useful and how it will make a positive impact when it comes to top-line objectives, you will need to have some buy-in from users first. If day-to-day use in Salesforce is low, how can you convince leadership they should direct more money and resources into it?

 

Step 4: Make it fun

Creating a culture of adoption does not have to be painful. Make it as fun and easy as possible for users to drive home the value of Salesforce. Start with creative ways to do training sessions or communicate changes. Instead of the same old email packed with details, try having lunch and learns, do an internal competition, or recognize achievements. The sky’s the limit! Get creative, have fun, and make it as painless as possible.

 

Step 5: Find internal advocates

It’s much easier to get people on board if their coworkers are already excited about the tool. If someone on the Sales team is using Salesforce to crush their number, other reps will want to jump on board as well. Identify someone (or multiple people) on each team who already are perceptive of your adoption initiatives. This will make it a much easier lift and drive usage from within each team. 

 

Step 6: Identify the quick wins

Start with the low hanging fruit. What would make your users’ lives easier right away? Maybe it’s a dashboard on the homepage that consolidates all the information they need to know at the beginning of every day. Maybe it’s as simple as an email template they can use that will get them to work in Salesforce and not around it. Find out what small action you can take to make their job easier and keep them from falling back on outdated legacy systems.  

 

Step 7: Leadership buy-in 

After you have buy-in from the bottom up, it’s time to take your initiative to leadership. When it comes to selling the leadership team on a project you are undertaking in Salesforce, lead with math. Yes, math. Identify a top-line objective and tie your initiative to it. Then show them why it mathematically makes sense. For example, if you are implementing a new solution, try something along the lines of the following: 

“By implementing (INSERT TOOL HERE), we can save (x) minutes on every doc that gets created. Every rep creates (5x) docs per week so it will save (x) amount of time per month!?”

The formula for executive buy-in:

Identify a top business objective + showcase how this project ties back to that + why does it mathematically make sense = leadership buy-in!

 

Step 8: Reinforcement 

Salesforce adoption is a continuous process. Every time you make a change, an update, implement a new tool, etc. you will need to get buy-in all over again. Make it a continuous process. Don’t wait until people stop using it, keep them moving forward and recognizing value with every change that comes. Hold quarterly training sessions, communicate with users face-to-face (or video call!). This will be the difference between short-term and long-term adoption. 

 

And just like that, you’re well on your way to driving Salesforce adoption in your organization. Get ready to feel like a rock star.

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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 Adoption: If you don’t have a strategy you’re missing out

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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Mariner Wealth Advisors saves “an immeasurable amount of time training and driving adoption” with Spekit

Spekit gives Mariner Wealth Advisors a flexible, scalable, modern approach to digital training that combines adoption and enablement to empower employees.

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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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