Salesforce User Adoption: The KPI leading all others

Resistance to change is a human psyche. It’s a well known issue in every innovative project, but not an insurmountable one. See Why User Adoption is as important as tricky...

Salesforce User Adoption: The KPI leading all others

For any solution companies buy, if nobody use it, it’s a fail, a waste of money. And we know money is the key driver for companies, their reason to be. (Quick reminder for business sceptics: Companies must make profits. If it fails doing it, it dies.)

First, let’s have a look to some basics about user adoption.

What is User Adoption ?

User adoption is the ability of users to use/adopt a technology that companies buy.
What enforce companies to buy a new solution is to fill a specific or new need. They transfer from an legacy system to a new one that is better, faster, more comprehensive, and altogether more efficient, in theory.

Changing systems is a risk for your company. And a failure is a waste of money. So if there is doubt about a new solution efficiency, do not buy it and keep benchmarking.
As a business owner or a manager, if you have doubt on the values brought by the solution, think about what your employees could perceive… worst!

User Adoption’s Public Enemy n°1

We know that people are often a bit uncomfortable with drastic changes:
“Why should I use this tricky CRM when I am so productive with Excel? Is Salesforce implementation only a way for managers to better control every of my activities? One more tool to learn & manage in our extremely busy daily workdays….”

I’m sure you already heard about almost one of it. (And maybe it was you who said so..)
This is resistance to change, a human psyche. It’s a well known issue in every innovative project, but not an insurmountable one.
Another reason why User Adoption is as important as tricky is that it's the n°1 KPI, the one leading all others. If User adoption is OK, it means :

  1. Employees perceives values in the new solution like it ease their daily activities
  2. Employees are satisfied with help given through this investment and are so more productives or can free more time to accomplish valuable tasks
  3. Customer will feel more accompanied that enhance retention and improve relationships & interactions
  4. Business will grow faster and you are on the way to reach ROI & maximise benefits

Now, if employees do not adopt the technology offered, you’ll logically hit the wall of failure as users are the started point on the way to success.

Give your team a way to love Salesforce

Understanding benefits is a point (and not a tiny one), loving a solution for what it does will permit to overcome expectations in terms of Employee Satisfaction, Business & Customer retention.

Communication is key there. Values you can see are not necessarily what everybody sees. A typical example is the misunderstanding between Sales and their Manager about Salesforce. Even if the Manager could think about productivity enhancement or Employee Satisfaction improvement, Sales often see the CRM as a way to control field teams.

As a manager you have to inform, train, explain, accompany… As you would do for a customer.
When you sell a product to a customer, a key is to think about what customers need and not what you product can or can’t do. When you implement a new solution, do not think about your business productivity first, think about what your team tell you, what they need.

IT teams are also responsible for the Solution setup, at least. They so play a key role in animating transition between systems (from the legacy to the new one).

What are the levers to boost Adoption?

We already mention some ideas to counteract resistance to change and improve adoption among company.

Think about what you expect when someone talk to you about a new technology product he’s selling:

  • Does it solve any of my issues?
  • Can I use and understand how it works quickly?
  • What are the benefits to me? to the company?
  • Is it a performant and responsive tool?
  • Is it a permanent solution or will we need to move again in a few months? Can I take risks to invest time in it?

We will see in the next articles from this blog serie how to answer those questions and to active levers to reach success in User Adoption. The 3 mains area we'll focus on are:

  • Involvement & Training
  • UX & automation
  • IT matters: Integration, responsivity & maintainability

What can we remember from this article is:
Implementing a new solution (technology, systems..) make your users out of their comfort zone. Don't let them alone with the change. Accompany them as you would do for a cstomer. The best way not to exhaust yourself is to push people to do things against nature and to tackle the nature of what they do.