One of the biggest ways you get value from Salesforce is through the new features and enhancements we release three times a year.  How do you stay on top of this cycle of innovation and how do you ensure that you implement the features that will have the most impact for your organization?   

Well, we have a great webinar scheduled on just this topic next week.  We'll introduce you to our 6-step framework for choosing the right features, testing them, communicating to your users and then training them. This is the ideal lead-in to the revised Spring '14 release.   Register here for one of our two sessions!

Session 1 runs at 4PM GMT, 8AM PDT on March 26:
Session 2 runs at 3PM PDT on March 26 (or 9AM AEDT on March 27):

1. Review the release and decide what you’re going to implement

With roughly 150 features in each release, where do you start? We’ll look at the best ways to identify the right features for you. Our advice - don’t boil the ocean! Concentrate on the product areas you currently use and map features to your business priorities. Start thinking about specific use cases that will be of value to your users and mark the features you’re most interested in.   

2. Assess the level of effort to implement

Look at the features you’ve selected in terms of the ease of implementation, ease of cultural adoption, and amount of training needed.  Most of our customers find it useful to categorize the features into major and minor changes and then gauge where they can have the most impact. You may find that some features are right for you, but you’re just not ready for them yet – put these onto your roadmap and review regularly with your change leadership team.

 3. Test, test, test

Look at your options for exploring new features – sandbox preview, pre-release org – and work through your use case scenarios to make sure the feature is providing benefit for your users. Here’s where you can get your change leadership team involved again to help you test. We’ll cover this in more detail on the webinar and point you to some best practices.

 4. Communicate and train

To get your users ready for any changes, make sure you communicate – tell them what’s in it for them, when the changes will happen and how they will be expected to use it.  Think about how you train your users – training doesn’t just have to be in a formal class setting... a simple example is getting your power users to show how they would use the new features in their daily work.

 5. Deploy 

Create your own release schedule internally. Many customers decide to align with our release schedule and roll out their changes 3 – 6 weeks after a major release. What we’ve seen work well is to have major releases quarterly, minor releases monthly and simple config changes on a weekly basis.

 6. Measure success

Think about how you want to measure the benefit of new features – it may be difficult to map to changes in your top metrics, e.g., revenue, but you can for example focus on how increased productivity saves time, allows more sales calls, etc .. and you can extrapolate how that impacts the bottom line. At a more operational level, we’ll give you lots of examples of general adoption, user satisfaction and productivity metrics you can measure.

Want to learn more?  Register here for one of our two sessions on Wednesday 26th March when our own Eanna Cunnane and customer Jamie Grettum will be showing you how you become a Salesforce hero!   

Session 1 runs at 4PM GMT, 8AM PDT on March 26:
Session 2 runs at 3PM PDT on March 26 (or 9AM AEDT on March 27):

Join our conversation on the Success - Maximize Adoption group and tell us how you manage releases and share any recommendations you have.