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Gaining and Sustaining Salesforce User Buy-in

One of the biggest challenges we observe with clients implementing Salesforce (or any CRM) is their struggle to achieve consistent team buy-in when integrating the tool into their business development process. Lack of adoption is one of the most common reasons that Salesforce implementations fail. If your sales and marketing teams aren’t using the system, your data becomes stale and outdated. And without consistent use, Salesforce quickly loses its value.

Through our CRM consulting, we’ve observed a number of different strategies that can help you achieve team-wide buy-in for Salesforce. If you’re preparing to implement Salesforce, or if you’re trying to breathe new life into a failed implementation, here are a few tips on how to increase adoption numbers and keep them up for good.

1. Have a purpose

You have good reasons for implementing Salesforce, and you need to communicate these to your team in a way that connects with them. Executives may be convinced by the on-demand insights that will be available once all their sales and marketing data is in one place. The sales team, however, probably won’t find that as motivating. They’re probably more likely to be persuaded by hearing about how they’ll be able to track all their sales activity in one dynamic system that syncs with their calendar. Use stories to communicate a purpose that is meaningful to those you’re trying to convince. Don’t just tell people why they should want to use Salesforce; prove to them how it will help them by addressing their real pain points.

2. Ask your users

The success of your Salesforce implementation depends entirely on your end users. Make sure that everyone who is going to be expected to use the system is represented somehow in the process of deciding how the system should be architected. People will be less likely to push back against using a new system if they’ve been involved in the planning process. The more your system can be customized to reflect how your team actually works and provide solutions for current issues that exist, the easier it will be to sustain your user buy-in.

3. Hire an admin

All aspects of your Salesforce org need to be tended to regularly, including your user adoption rates. A dedicated administrator can keep users accountable to using the system. They can listen to and respond to user feedback, implement changes, and provide user training. They can also keep track of system ‘wins’ — those times when Salesforce proves its worth. Wins can be used to continue to foster buy-in for the system.

4. Keep it simple

If you’re implementing Salesforce for the first time, roll out only the most critical functionality at first. Salesforce provides so many ways to expand your implementation beyond their core offerings; that’s one of the many reasons to choose Salesforce over competing CRMs. However, building out a highly customized and complicated system before you have any real users will make it harder to onboard folks, and will make it more likely for them to stray back to the systems they already know. Start with the simplest implementation. As changes and additions are suggested, your admin should be ruthless in vetting them. New functionality should be absolutely business critical or address an issue affecting a majority of users. When implementing a major change, make sure you have a plan for gaining buy-in from all users who will be affected by the change.

While these are four of the most common ways you can start to improve the adoption of your CRM inside of your agency, we understand your agency is likely to have its own unique challenges. If you’d like to speak with us about how we help agencies adopt and sustain CRM best practices, you can get in touch with us here.

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