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Imagine this: Your company is implementing Salesforce and, as the admin, you’re excited by the great job you’ve done on making Salesforce perfect for your team. You imported data, customized the interface, and extended functionality based on stakeholder requirements. You even created custom reports and designed awesome dashboards. You’ve demoed to your execs and they love it— and now your manager loves you. Full of confidence and eager to share your new expertise, you roll it out to a team expecting to hear that productivity and key metrics are through the roof. Instead you hear crickets.

What went wrong?

It doesn’t matter how great your Salesforce solution is if users don’t—or won’t— use it. It’s not enough to just give your team a great app, you also need to train, support, and give them a sound reason to adopt it. In other words, you need to plan your rollout strategy just as carefully as you planned design, development, and testing.

We talked to some of the most successful Salesforce customers who offered up 6 best practices to drive end-user adoption of Salesforce. 

1. Leverage executive sponsorship, aka “We're doing it because the boss said so”

Having an executive sponsor for the project is key, but it shouldn’t stop there. Your senior leadership needs to say: “If it isn’t in Salesforce it doesn’t exists”

2. Train everyone

You can’t just tell people that the new way is better, you need to show them how it's better. It all starts with good training. Organize a customized, hands-on training for every employee and make sure:

  • It’s relevant and tailored to the specific audience.

  • You've made it mandatory: no training means no Salesforce account.

  • It's hands-on, and taught in the context of day-to-day responsibilities. (Try running through scenarios in a sandbox.)

  • It's taught by a Salesforce champion who is from the same department as people receiving the training.

After the training, you will need to provide on-going and easy-to-access support, such as office-hours, refresher training, cheat sheets and Chatter groups.

3. Make it requirement for the job

Make sure everyone knows that you have to use Salesforce to do their job properly. Here are a few tips for building that mindset quickly:

  • Integrate Salesforce with mandatory business processes so people have to use it. For example, opportunities must be closed in Salesforce in order to generate an invoice or get paid.

  • Cut access to duplicate data sources and systems. Remove workarounds. If your old tool was a spreadsheet, show and tell how Salesforce is better (for example, it’s a single source of truth that provides real-time data).

4. Empower users with data 

Allow end-users to access reports and dashboards that will offer relevant data for specific roles. This allows the to see how the business is performing and how their role adds specific value. You should take the time to show users how simple and easy it is to build their own reports.

5. Make each employee an expert in Salesforce

Identify a Salesforce champion for every role or department and have him/her roam the office frequently to answer questions or provide best practices for using Salesforce. This kind of coaching will make it easier for employees to become experts on Salesforce. Another idea:  Ask your team leads to coach and reinforce usage during team meetings.

6. Utilize gamification around the office

You can make using Salesforce fun. Start by organizing spiffs to generate excitement, and turn it into a game to generate that competitive spirit among employees. What could be more fun than broadcasting it on a big screen at work showing a report showing who is generating the top leads or closing the most tickets through Salesforce?