Have you had Salesforce for a while and are seeing low involvement and spotty data? Are you new to Salesforce and want to make sure your new tool is utilized to its fullest? Here are six core practices to raise user adoption.

1) Measure

Think of this as your homework. There is an old saying, “You can Manage it, if you don’t measure it”. Simply put, you can’t know what your user adoption levels are until you measure and track how much your employees engage with Salesforce. You’ll want to do this before, during, and after every user adoption campaign. The easiest way to continuously measure user adoption is by creating saved reports on some key metrics. Here are some basics you can measure:

  • User Logins: Salesforce automatically keeps track of every time a user logs into the system! You can go to a user record and see the details for a given person at the bottom of their user page. Better yet, you can pull a report showing every user’s last login date and time. Logging in is a pretty low bar, so let’s look at some more robust measures of engagement.
  • Records Edited: Seeing that someone logged in is not the same as seeing that they engaged. Reading the data is great, but participation is what you’re after. So pull a report on your key objects, such as Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities and Activities, to see who last edited them. You can group reports based on the user that last edited them to see record counts and get a sense of who is engaging the most.
  • Records Created: Go one step further and see who’s adding data to your system. You can similarly pull reports on key objects and then group by who created them and when to get a sense of who are your biggest contributors.
  • Group Your Reports into a Dashboard: By making your reports into a dashboard of charts and lists, you can publicly share a summary of who’s doing a great job and who can improve. There’s nothing quite like a little public shame or praise to boost adoption!

2) Practice

Once you have a sense of how you’ll measure engagement in your database, you can focus on proactive efforts to increase adoption. What you’ll want to do is find ways to get your users to practice their database skills. This can come in many forms and ideally should be delivered in a several different methods to allow for different learning styles. Here are some things you can do to help your users practice their Salesforce skills:

  • Hold formal trainings with hands-on guidance: A good majority of your low-usage folks will fall into the categories of “I don’t know how” or “I’m intimidated”. Perhaps they are new to the company or wary of technology in general. Whatever the reason, a great way to make these folks feel guided is through a training. You don’t have to make an elaborate training or a long one, just something that covers the basics and allows for guided practice. For these types of sessions, make the presentation portion 15-20 minutes long. Then spend 40 minutes with them logged in on their own computers completing basics while you help them navigate and answer questions. Consider offering these in small groups and offer them frequently, not just once.
  • Point Users to Trailhead: Salesforce has a fun e-learning platform called Trailhead that is great for people who want to learn on their own terms or in their own time. This can be good for self-starters, advanced users, and people who like competition. Super-charge the competitors by installing Trailhead Tracker and letting users compete against each other!
  • Provide written instructions for basic business processes: Some people learn best from following written instructions. Also, written instructions can be a great form of documentation. This is the most labor-intensive option, but it also has the most longevity. Write out a bullet list of basic steps for some of your business processes in Salesforce. Then under each bullet, list out the detailed instructions for how to complete each step. Including screenshots can be beneficial. You can also consider creating short videos instead!

3) Incentivize

Knowing how to use Salesforce is a good first step, but motivating engagement is what’s needed long term. Positive reinforcement can greatly increase adoption and make things fun!

  • Create a Public Leaderboard: Exemplifying good behavior can illustrate how other people should behave. Using some of the measurements you made above, create some public leaderboards. These can be physical charts made of paper on a board, or digital newsletters sent out via email. Whatever the method, make it public and send it out often!
  • Give Prizes: Prizes can range from no-cost recognition like stars or points, to small gift cards, to bonuses or even raises. It will help to chat with your executive level about how to best incentivize your employees, but the more the company buys-in to adoption, the more employees will also.

4) Set Clear Expectations

Many companies have low Salesforce adoption simply because employees don’t know what they are supposed to do with the system or why they should engage with it at all. Usually this comes from a lack of communication and leadership around how Salesforce measures and affects company goals. To get to a better place on this issue, consider setting some good-better-best expectations for how to engage with Salesforce.

  • Set Attainable Baseline Goals: Create metrics and tangible ways for users to engage with Salesforce that don’t feel too daunting. Perhaps that means logging in every day for 3 weeks at the start, just to form good habits. Maybe that means holding everyone to a standard of creating at least one record each week. Whatever the minimum is, set it and clearly communicate it. This will be your foothold to better engagement.
  • Create Realistic Reach Goals: Once you have a better base of user adoption, pick out a few good targets for monthly and annual goals. These could be things like: all sales are recorded in Salesforce by the end of the month; every contact that you own has an accurate email address; or all cases older than one month are closed out.
  • Tie Engagement to Company Goals: In order for the usefulness of Salesforce to set in, you need to communicate how accurate and rich data affects company goals. Consider getting executives involved in this messaging for greater impact. Company goals can’t be met if you don’t measure them accurately.

5) Integrate Email & Contacts – Lightning for Gmail or Lightning for Outlook

This is the only tool-specific recommendation we’ll make in this article. Let’s face it, there are too many technology tools that employees have to log into and keep track of these days. Salesforce has a great way for users to engage with Salesforce directly in their email inbox via the Lightning for Gmail or Lightning for Outlook integrations. The burden of data entry is a huge barrier to Salesforce adoption, especially for busy professionals. So reduce your users’ loads by giving them an easy way to sync their contacts and emails without manual data entry.

Allow Feedback

The final method of increasing adoption is through transparent feedback mechanisms. You need a way to track problems, questions, and requests for new functionality that is public and easy to submit. Your email inbox is not the place to do this!

  • Utilize the Case object to track problems and feature requests to add to Salesforce: You could certainly create some sort of shared spreadsheet to track feedback, but why not put it in Salesforce? The Case object provides an easy, out-of-the-box way to track suggestions, questions, and issues individually. Using Chatter to communicate about cases will allow for resolution to problems to be public in your org.
  • Follow-through on questions and requests, don’t let them linger: Opening up a channel for feedback can be a double-edged sword. If you don’t respond to the feedback in a timely manner, you risk decreasing adoption. But the rewards are worth the investment if you can keep on top of it! If employees feel like they are part of making the tool better and easier for themselves and their coworkers, they will engage even more.

With these few simple steps, you can be well on the way to improving user adoption and helping your sales team develop better habits for closing more sales. By staying in touch more often with clients, they will learn that they can even grow their repeat business portfolio.