Increasing Salesforce adoption seems to be extremely topical today, and for good reason. 35% of delegates from Dreamforce ’14 said that they have major adoption issues (ImprovedApps.com). Quite honestly, I believe this number is actually higher because not everyone likes to admit they have major adoption issues. Customization, training, constant improvement, support and change management are all factors of platform ROI as well, but the argument can be made none of those factors hold significance unless end users actually adopt the platform. If end users are not logging activities and data, your data integrity will suffer. Garbage-in-garbage-out: if you put inaccurate or missing data into Salesforce, that is exactly what you’re reports are going to look like – inaccurate or just plan missing.

Since Salesforce adoption is at the center of platform ROI, it is important to determine which strategy(s) to employ. Based on discussion with our customers and reviewing many blogs, I’ve boiled down many thoughts into three main strategies. If you feel one is glaringly missing, please comment on this post and I’ll update the article.

 

1. Rule with an Iron Fist

We’ve heard this one a lot. Essentially, the strategy here is to crack down on end-user laziness by penalizing them for not reaching a benchmark of logged activities. The form of the penalty seems to take a few different shapes but predominantly it appears that reducing commission from sales reps for not reaching a minimum threshold of activities. At first glance, this does seem like a harsh tactic. However, as I said above, unless you get end users adopting the platform, you’re essentially burning cash every month the Salesforce bill comes in. That’s a lot of cash you’re organization is burning for every month that passes with poor adoption.

One of our customers had instituted this strategy and it was close to completely ineffective. Their end users just didn’t seem to care about the penalties and continued to plow through their sales cycles without logging anything into Salesforce. Getting them to sign agreements that they would log activities after customization was done to their specifications also didn’t increase adoption.

 

2. Encourage Competition

This is a much more positive strategy than the one above as it tickles the competitive nature of salespeople. Salespeople love competing for closing deals, so why not have a competition for the most amount of activities logged per week? Does Joe really want John to beat him in the world’s easiest competition again this week? Of course he doesn’t!

Garry Galvin wrote a great post about his Salesforce adoption strategy. He set up daily and weekly benchmarks for his reps to hit. And the best way to track it? In Salesforce!

Each activity a sales person performs, he has to record it in Salesforce. If it’s not in Salesforce it doesn’t exist. As a result, they are forced to use Salesforce all day, every day.

Points are assigned to each activity. Calls = 1 point, Scheduled Meeting – 5 points and a Signed Contract = 15 points. 22 points is the daily minimum and 110 is the weekly minimum.

 

3. Leverage the AppExchange to streamline the process

Why don’t reps bother updating Salesforce in the first place? We asked 150 customers before they entered into our sales cycle why they do not regularly update Salesforce. 93% of them said it was too many steps to be worth their time.

It takes on average 8 steps to move from your inbox, to Salesforce, search for the record and log the activity under the appropriate object. A productive rep should be updating Salesforce nearly 100 times per day. This translates into 800 actions that need to be taken just to keep Salesforce up to date on a daily basis. Is it such a mystery that inside sales teams spend only 33% of their day of actual selling?

Email integration is critical for Salesforce customers to get acceptable adoption of the platform. There just doesn’t seem anyway around it. An interesting question is whether email integration should be instituted from day 1 of a brand new rollout. I believe so, and am having conversations with our implementation partners to see if they agree.

Our customer that had tried using the Iron Fist strategy eventually turned to our email integration. Once our solution was rolled out to their team, the combination of the two strategies doubled their email compliance within 30 days. Tripled it in 6 months and has now increased it 5 fold in the 10 months that our email integration has been deployed. This is leading me to believe that leveraging the AppExchange as well as another strategy may be a winning combination of strategies.

Which of these strategies have you employed in your organization?

If you’re an end user of Salesforce, which one of these has your manager attempted to get you to update Salesforce?

Have you tried a combination of them?

Do all of them simultaneously?

Comment below with your thoughts. I’d like to update this post or create a new one with your thoughts. I solemnly believe Salesforce adoption has the most influence on platform ROI.

Resources

Improved Apps – Delegate Feedback Dreamforce 2014 (http://improvedapps.com/dreamforce-14-delegate-feedback/)
ToutApp – Why is Sales Productivity such a huge deal? (http://www1.toutapp.com/blog/why-is-sales-productivity-such-a-huge-deal-pt-1-of-2/)