Sales Strategy

11 Strategies to Increase Salesforce Adoption

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Photograph of a revenue leader pumping a fist and holding a laptop

Salesforce adoption is one of the most overlooked factors impacting broader organizational sales performance. According to business strategist Gene Marks, most organizations don’t even realize what lackluster CRM adoption is costing them.

A CSO Insights sales operations optimization study evaluated the sales operations of 300 companies and found that only 45% of the organizations had a CRM adoption rate of 90% or above. Furthermore, it found that organizations needed to achieve at least a 75% adoption rate to experience any "notable improvement in win rates and quota attainment."

Having an industry-leading CRM like Salesforce in place isn't enough to guarantee results. It can only improve sales performance if reps use it. Follow the 11 essential Salesforce adoption strategies below to boost sales productivity and revenue.

Why Salesforce adoption is critical

The customer data, activity history, and reporting capabilities available in Salesforce play a critical role in improving sales productivity, training, and optimization. It also helps individual reps better manage their time, pursue leads, nurture customer relationships, and generate results.

However, encouraging sales teams to adopt and take full advantage of a sophisticated CRM like Salesforce requires careful planning.

We've broken down 11 essential Salesforce adoption strategies into three main categories:

  • Before Salesforce implementation
  • During Salesforce implementation
  • Ongoing Salesforce adoption strategy

If you've already implemented Salesforce, skip down to the ongoing strategy section. Remember, a potentially daunting process is far more manageable when approached in phases.

Before Salesforce implementation

Before implementing Salesforce, it's essential to understand that while some individuals may embrace change, others will not be so enthusiastic. Meeting users in the middle will help maximize Salesforce adoption.

1. Audit user needs

It's a big ask to suddenly introduce an entirely new way for end users to do their jobs. So instead, create a "growing together" moment with reps by taking the time to understand their concerns about how Salesforce might impact their day-to-day workflows and performance.

Consider creating a working group with key users from each department, team, and role. Augment that effort with a survey to all users to best understand what they need to get out of Salesforce and how it can better fit into their workflows.

2. Create a 6 month strategy

An entirely new process can seem overwhelming, especially when adopting a technology with as many features as Salesforce. However, nothing is more reassuring to end users than knowing there's an implementation strategy that doesn't require them to fully adopt Salesforce overnight.

Create a 6 month strategy that includes rollout, training, feedback, and optimization. Focus on ways to make Salesforce fit more seamlessly into the reps' workflows. Next, share the plan with end users. This will help set expectations and also communicate that you've thought through how this decision will impact them.

3. Lead by example

Leadership is critical when making significant organizational changes. Modeling impactful ways of leveraging Salesforce will help maximize adoption. Taking the time to become an internal Salesforce expert and getting critical buy-in from other higher-ups in your company will enable you to reinforce three key messages:

  1. Salesforce is here to stay
  2. Salesforce is beneficial for everyone
  3. Leadership is investing in making Salesforce work well for every user

During implementation

Creating a positive first impression of any new technology will have a big impact on initial adoption. That's why the implementation stage is so important to get right. These four Salesforce implementation strategies will help you succeed during this critical phase.

4. Kick off implementation with a pilot program

Implementing Salesforce is a complex process, so reduce errors and widespread confusion by dividing it into stages. Start with a pilot program to allow smaller groups to adopt Salesforce first. This will enable you to address issues before they have the chance to generate confusion and resistance.

Pro tip: Invite vocal resistors to be in the first group of Salesforce users. By offering them a unique role in the implementation process, you have a better chance of turning these would-be late adopters into Salesforce adoption advocates.

Screenshot of Groove flow activities around a Salesforce cloud logo

5. Leverage the Salesforce Trailblazer community

The Salesforce Trailblazer community brings together institutional knowledge and Salesforce expertise into one easy-to-navigate place. As a result, your end users don't need to struggle in the dark when issues arise. Instead, by quickly accessing an ever-growing bank of Salesforce knowledge, your end users can ask questions, find solutions, and learn as they go.

6. Bring Salesforce into sellers' workflows

One of the biggest challenges with Salesforce adoption is that going into Salesforce takes the user out of their normal workflows. Implementing Salesforce and a Salesforce-native sales engagement platform at the same time can help maximize adoption by bringing relevant CRM data right into a user's email inbox and calendar.

Native solutions like Groove make it easy for users to update Salesforce from where they are already working. You can also improve adoption by customizing the CRM data displayed in the inbox by role, so each user only sees information that is relevant for them.

7. Eliminate or consolidate legacy solutions

As your end users begin adopting Salesforce's many benefits and features, make sure that you are phasing out unneeded legacy solutions. It's not unusual for late adopters to stick with what they know. If old tools are now redundant, remove them as you go.

Extending the capabilities of Salesforce with a sales engagement platform can help consolidate the number of tools rep need to use by eliminating existing tools like online meeting schedulers, auto-dialers, activity tracking tools, and sales campaign management solutions.

Ongoing strategy

Implementing Salesforce isn't a "one and done" project. It's important to embrace ongoing strategies and best practices for keeping your sales teams updated on new and underutilized Salesforce features. If you already have Salesforce and are struggling with adoption, these strategies are for you.

Screenshot of Groove product showing sales activity in email inbox

8. Continue upskilling as Salesforce evolves

Salesforce is constantly evolving to anticipate the needs of its users. As CRM capabilities become increasingly sophisticated, Salesforce pursues new ways to improve the user experience.

If you have users that need to live in Salesforce vs. accessing and updating the data via a sales engagement platform, you can help these end users stay up-to-date through training apps (like the Salesforce Trailhead Playground Starter), which offer low-cost/no-cost ongoing training tools. A sales engagement platform can keep Salesforce's complexity at bay by allowing users to access and update Salesforce from their email inbox.

9. Audit automation opportunities

You should also be conducting an audit of automation opportunities at least once per year. You can maximize Salesforce adoption with regular audits that help your sales teams embrace automation to minimize their time on busy work and administrative tasks.

Here are just a few standard automation processes your organization can achieve with Salesforce:

  • Data integration and exporting capabilities
  • Workflow automation of internal procedures
  • Approvals automation
  • Adaptive business logic and strategy suggestion automation
  • Other custom automated actions tailored to your unique business needs

A sales engagement platform can also work in tandem with Salesforce to automate important tasks like tracking activities, advancing deal stages, auto-importing contacts into sales flows, and more.

10. Track usage and adoption rates

Salesforce also offers tools for tracking user adoption. Use these tools to measure Salesforce usage per user and track resulting business outcomes. If you're experiencing low adoption, survey your users to find out why.

A sales engagement platform boosts adoption by making it easy to view, update, and create Salesforce records directly from their existing workflows. A Fortune 50 bank boosted CRM adoption to 90% by adopting a sales engagement platform.

11. Regularly audit Salesforce data for quality

Salesforce offers several tools to assess data quality, including the Data Quality Analysis Dashboards app. Monitor this information to ensure that sales reps receive the best feedback possible and channel their efforts into the best strategies for closing more deals.

The bottom line is that no CRM strategy can afford to be static or uninformed. Whether you're a revenue operations leader or Salesforce admin, your goal is to remind everyone what they stand to gain from using new technologies. That's a key ingredient of any recipe for maximizing Salesforce adoption.

About Groove

At Groove, our specialty extends far beyond our knowledge of Salesforce. Our Salesforce-native sales engagement platform plays an important role in helping our customers maximize Salesforce adoption. Learn how to drive 90%+ adoption with a flexible platform that your team will love and use. Schedule a demo today.