User Adoption: The Daily Struggle

How to increase User Adoption of your CRM platform? Remember everyone struggles with this regardless of what industry they are in or what platform they choose.

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The biggest struggle any company with a CRM platform has is boosting and maintaining User Adoption. However long it has been since you implemented your CRM platform user adoption will always be an issue. With a platform like Salesforce it can be a daily struggle for any Administrator to keep User Adoption up since they regularly upgrade Salesforce 3 times a year. Some releases are bug fixes but majority of them introduce new services or products and as well as upgrading and improving current ones. With a company like Salesforce that regularly upgrades and fixes their own instances for all of their customers at once Admins for smaller companies may struggle to keep their users up to date. Not every user is tech savvy or a quick study.

I find that as an Administrator I struggle with keeping up user morale and convincing my users that Salesforce is a good system. It gives you a 360 view of your customer relationship regardless of what industry you are in. How do you convince a group of users that a system like Salesforce is worth investing their time and energy in? Salesforce is good for making things simple. I find as an administrator it’s my job to translate the complexity of the system into simple easy to understand steps. Training, training and more training is what will boost user adoption. A companies Salesforce team cannot expect that once they train their users that the buck ends there. Most companies have multiple programs to run their businesses and not everyone will remember what was trained during their initial days on the job. Refresher training is a must! Small power sessions I find are the most useful. When you get a couple of users from different departments together in a mini session you get better feedback.

I also believe it is the Administrators job to not only know the system inside and out but they should know their business. You can expect your users to get the most out of their CRM system as it stands out of the box. It has to be molded to their industry, to their business styles and processes built to make the users jobs easier and more efficient. An administrator and developer cannot expect a company to get the most out of their platform if they lack the business knowledge to translate their needs to the system. If those in charge of a platform do not understand their users how can they expect their users to understand their system?

Salesforce has quite a few tools to help boost user adoption. They suggest metrics to help boost adoption by reporting and measuring who is actually logging into the system and using it. I find that the rewards and badges they have created under Chatter works wonders. My company boosts different locations so not all employees work face to face. We find that Chatter allows us to connect socially and professionally. We share company events and good news via chatter but we also reward each other for jobs well done. This has boosted morale across the board as well as adoption. As users get better acquainted with Chatter and seeing their fellow team mates using it they start exploring the possibilities more. Another way you can boost adoption is showing your users how the system can save time and building processes that stream line data for them. Salesforce has plenty of ways to automate services as well as saving time when it comes to reporting that may be used weekly, monthly, and annually which can be set up automatically to run on a clocked basis.

Regardless of how many users you have or how intricate your build your platform it is always a good idea to stay organized. It allows you to keep track of training users across the board as well as planning for upgrades which Salesforce schedules and announces at least a month before it is due to launch. It is always a good idea to have a communication plan to keep your users informed of any changes that may be coming including any training you may be putting together. Keeping your users in the loop and even encourage suggestions they believe could improve their job and experience. This will get them into the CRM conversation and forces them to really take a look at the platform and see the potential it has and not just another burden or task to complete.

Of course as the CRM Administrator I believe my first priority is to be positive and encourage my users to believe in our platform. I am here to encourage my users to use the system. I prefer to call myself a Chatter Cheerleader and Salesforce Supporter. If I am not using the system to the fullest then my users will not either.

Related Articles:

https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewSolution?id=000025306&language=en_US

http://www.cirrusinsight.com/salesforce-user-adoption

http://www.bluewolf.com/blog/7-secrets-drive-salesforce-adoption

https://blog.internetcreations.com/2013/03/6-ways-to-increase-salesforce-user-adoption/

http://cloud4good.com/how-to-increase-user-adoption/

http://www.mansasys.com/salesforce-user-adoption

http://blogs.perficient.com/salesforce/tag/user-adoption/

Balancing Life and Work in a Healthy New Year

Welcome to a new year and resolutions abound. I find that I never keep my resolutions so I have stopped making promises I know I do not intend to keep. This does not mean there are habits I should ignore or not strive to improve this year. As a mother to young children and adult step-sons I find the most difficult task is finding a healthy balance between work and life. There are scholarly articles about this very subject. I have stumbled across many social media blog pieces about estimated number of Americans who did not take a vacation day in 2014. There are those who need thrive on working. They relax while doing their job because it fulfills them. Majority of us though are working a job to get from point A to point B. Those of us working for other means are the ones who need to start using our vacation days.

This is not a good way to start another year. The holiday season is over but as parents we are already starting to plan for the next one in the back of our heads. We are seeing everything we want to give to our children and maybe even to ourselves. These ideals and material things wear heavily on us. Because if this we force ourselves to work longer hours and sacrifice our personal time as we make ends meet or try to propel our careers ahead to this imaginary place where everything will be better.

This mindset of “sacrifice now for a better future” is not real if we are constantly sacrificing now every day but never actually getting to our ideal future. Finding a healthy balance between work and life can help clear the cobwebs and may even motivate you in the areas that need better focus. There are studies that prove taking a vacation day (even just one day!) to rest and recoup makes you a better employee. There is a reason why companies give their employees vacation days. They know their employees who regularly take vacations come back recharged and better than before they left.

There are small ways to make big changes. Taking the time to get up an hour earlier in the morning to spend with your partner, children or even just reading can make a huge difference. There are articles and blogs written by people who have started these small habits and from their own personal experiences have seen the benefits of just taking small amounts of time for themselves. I have found when I have a difficult task at work and I am hitting constant road blocks that the answer comes to me when I least expect it. I have forced myself to go and play with my young children making up silly stories and just laughing with them and all of a sudden the answer to my work problem presents itself. Why? This is because I stopped stressing over it and relaxed. The endorphins cleared the clutter and I was able to think clearly without anxiety because I was calm. This also helps keep us healthy. The more leisure time and rest we give ourselves the more we are able to avoid getting sick especially during the winter months.

You do not have to start a crash diet or make unreasonable promises about going to the gym 7 days a week. Small changes make the difference. Getting up an hour earlier and playing with your kids can help your energy level. Going to bed early instead of staring at your work computer for an extra few hours while not getting anything productive done can make a difference in how well you sleep. Reading before bed can help you fall asleep faster especially if you are reading an actual book instead of a lighted screen. Small baby steps  to change engrained habits is what will make a New Year’s resolution successful and  make you see a difference not only in how productive you are at work but at how much you enjoy your personal time.

Related Articles

http://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/protect-health-13/balance-life?page=3

http://www.ted.com/talks/nigel_marsh_how_to_make_work_life_balance_work?language=en

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/work-life-balance/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2014/11/04/4-work-life-balance-tips-for-people-in-work-hard-cultures/

http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/work-life-balance/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work%E2%80%93life_balance

Old School Sales Process vs. Social Media Sales and How it Can Impact Your Way of Thinking

I recently worked at a manufacturing company that has been in business for almost 60 years. This particular company is very innovative in their particular field. They are good at what they make and they have molded and changed their own industry to their very own standards. The problem they have which will eventually impact their business in the long run is not their product or lack of creative engineering but their old school sales process. Their Sales team is excellent at selling but they lack good communication skills both internally and externally. There is a very large gap between the Sales process and the Sales team themselves. Of course the sales men are very good at selling but they are the ones who do not stop or take a breath. They are “on” 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

We had a team meeting where we were brain storming and trying to come up with a formalized business process and a plan for the last 3 quarters of the year. This was the most painful meeting I have ever participated in. Being in the room one could see how talented every sales person was; seeing their strengths and even their weaknesses.  The problem is with social media and everyone having a smart phone nowadays old school sales tactics do not work. One of the sales members insisted that postcards drove business. As nice as that sounds (and you know the post office loves it) post cards do not work anymore.  Most of us do not read junk email let alone junk snail mail. As soon as I suggested social media all of them had a meltdown. Of course they were thinking MySpace or Facebook. Of course I think facebook would have been good idea but that was not what I was focused on. They assume because their ideal clients are hotels or individuals with extra money looking for an easy small business venture that they do not use social media.

Everyone is using social media, EVERYONE. To assume that (an example) an older Asian American family is not using social media and smart phones is narrowing your own thinking. By doing just that you are putting yourself in a box instead of reaching “outside the box” as most Sales people strive to do. This will than prevent you from giving new potential clients the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to Social Media, Technology and Communication always assume everyone is using Social Media.

Social Media is a powerful sales tool and can revolutionize any industry and sales team. Social media should be on the top of every sales team process list. It should be one of the many ways you keep in contact with your current clients and how you reach out to new potential clients. Old School sales tactics did work at one time but we have to admit when things change. To improve our own processes individually and as teams we have to be willing to understand the world in which we live in. We no longer live in the 1950’s when housewives home baking and raising children. We no longer live in the time when the only way to really communicate with a new market of people is by mail or door to door salesmen. Now everything and everyone is available at our finger tips literally. You can reach millions through social media if you do it right.

When I had suggested Social Media to my sales team at the time I was thinking something more along the lines of a weekly blog or a monthly newsletter. Some of the sales people had really strong strengths such as particular tips for new business owners and layout designs they did on their own time. Why not share that information? Not only would you enlighten your own client base but you will attract attention by your knowledge depth and your willingness to share tips and tricks with a larger audience. They are not just focused on getting the product out of the factory but building businesses that will make an impact on their respective markets. Sales teams would show their clients, customers, industry competitors that not only are they innovative and creative where their products are concerned but in their sales tactics as well. Most Sales guys are very good at what they do; just remember why you got into sales in the first place. Always remember the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” does not apply to People, Sales, Social Media and Technology.