Successful user adoption. The goal. The summit. The promised land. The key to a strong return on your Salesforce investment. But sometimes it can feel like herding cats! Everyone benefits from a better understanding of Salesforce. So what's the secret to success? Make it FUN. Learning Salesforce is way more engaging, not to mention more exciting, when a healthy dose of competition and gamification are thrown into the mix. In fact, that's why Trailhead is the fun way to learn Salesforce, a differentiator that's been a huge part of its success.
As part of the Salesforce Innovation and Transformation Center (ITC) team, let me share how we bring the Trailhead spirit of fun to life with engaging learning paths and competitive challenges to drive adoption across all users and boost team productivity.
Back in 2015, a large global technology enterprise rolled out Sales Cloud to 25k+ users. They came to us less than a year later concerned about adoption. And concerned they should've been, too! The Total Login Percentage (TLP) was less than 50%. “What's going on?” they cried. “Why isn't this working?” The hard truth to face is...humans naturally resist change. Especially with traditional companies that rely heavily on their good reputations and existing customer relationships to do business. With a new digital customer relationship platform at their fingertips, they simply didn't know what to do to get the most value out of Salesforce.
Luckily, their Customer Success Director quickly addressed the situation and implemented a pilot Adoption Challenge. Designed as a series of short activities that were to be completed on a weekly basis, this pilot was used in one of their slower-adopting countries, the US. After just 12 weeks, the results were astounding! There was an enormous boost in TLP from the low 30s right up to the 60s, peaking at 68%.
After the success of the US challenge, we here at the ITC team became involved. We took this initial Adoption Challenge and developed it, together with the customer, into an ITC Adoption Journey. This included a series of activities targeting various countries, roles, levels, and audiences within the company. But the underlying theme of it all was fun! CRM doesn't have to be just an administrative task, but an exciting dynamic of working with customers on a daily basis.
Looking at these results, I began to realize we were just scratching the surface of what could be achieved. I helped develop the next set of tasks, but this time included different levels (Bronze, Silver, and Gold) for advanced users. We also introduced a country-level competition element by setting up goals and points and rewarding with prizes (really good prizes, including iPads, Apple Watches, and more!). We made these Country Challenges a part of the broader adoption strategy, getting the senior managers in Marketing and Sales involved. These managers fully supported the Challenges via Chatter, and rewarded the winners.
In this case, each Bronze, Silver, or Gold Challenge was a set of predefined user-assigned training tasks in Salesforce. For example, “Create a Chatter Group,” “Update an Opportunity,” or “Report like a Pro.” Users were notified of tasks, progress, success, and generally managed challenges via Chatter in their own org. This, in turn, promoted usage and promoted further engagement.
Each Challenge set ran for 10 to 12 weeks, based on the popular theory that after 100 days you establish a habit. Each level progressively built on the participating group's Salesforce skills base and experience, driving adoption and ultimately delivering business value. And adoption quickly grew, all captured in an Einstein Adoption Dashboard that measured the pre-established KPIs.
After just a year using this new gamified approach to Salesforce adoption, this customer had an incredible TLP of 84%! Unquestionably, a hugely successful outcome. Using Journeys and Challenges, adoption is growing steadily and further improvements are being generated as more users become engaged and new functionality is delivered.
The best scores reported were on the creation of Contacts, Opportunities, and Leads. And in fact, these challenges have been adopted so deeply that the company is continuing to award successful end users with prizes and even corporate awards. The company loves the approach and are looking to expand it further for other roles and functions, as well as exploring other ways in which gamification can bring success to their business.
They even started to thread in Trailhead badges throughout this experience to fill out the learning experience and empower employees to carve out their own learning journeys. They're excited to see how myTrailhead will be another game changer in their adoption metrics next year.
Based on the phenomenal success seen with this pilot program, I decided to try the same approach by introducing gamification to the Salesforce Customer Success Group (CSG) EMEA North team. As a Trailhead ambassador, I wanted to lead the way and create more role-based trails to promote learning. Again, it worked! With the incredible growth of 2,700 new badges being earned across 108 CSG team members in just 2 months. Plus, around 50% of the team now have Ranger status, having earned over 100 Trailhead badges and 50k+ points.
The results simply speak for themselves. Gamify learning to make it more engaging by introducing more fun and healthy competition and you WILL see an uplift in adoption. Could your business benefit from a more gamified approach to learning? Get your teams ramped up with Trailhead (with fantastic new features including personalizations and a vanity URL), create and share relevant content with trailmixes, then get the competition going with Trailhead Tracker. And stay tuned for more details on myTrailhead that's set to reinvent learning and enablement at your company.
For more hints and tips, explore how Salesforce User Adoption Services can help drive adoption and support your success.
Dennis Keizer joined Salesforce two years ago. He is based in Amsterdam and lives with Susan and their two daughters in the Netherlands. Since starting with Salesforce, he's been on an amazing ride, performing three roles for clients in seven countries. In his current role as Business Architect in the ITC team, he works in Switzerland, where he also likes to hike in the Alps.