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#DF15: Attending the Circles of Success Breakout Sessions 


Trying to figure out what sessions to attend at Dreamforce can be one of the toughest things to do during one of the most exciting weeks of the year. And then there is just getting to the sessions on time in order to make the most of your week at this absolutely epic event. But one of my favorite types of sessions are the Circles of Success. These sessions focus on specific challenges in a round-table like environment and foster dialog and ideas between the participants. One of the participants today said for him these sessions are like therapy.

I had the opportunity to sit in a session titled “Weathering the Storm of Change Management” this morning. My table had participants from small local companies with a couple of hundred users to large global companies with thousands of users and many different Salesforce orgs. Despite the differences in scale, there was still a common challenge experienced by everyone at the table: how do we manage the chaos of change with a solution as easy to configure as Salesforce in a fast-paced business environment?

Our table focused on the challenge of user adoption. This topic alone really needs more than an hour’s discussion. It can often be one of the main contributors to a failed solution implementation. Nonetheless, it is an area of pain for nearly every organization, whether new to Salesforce or a longtime customer.

Many issues result from not having a solid user adoption strategy. Of course, the first thing we think about is people not using the system. But that is usually just a small part of it. Other issues that impact the health of the solution include quality of data issues, difficulty with onboarding new hires, solution knowledge and awareness, misplaced expectations, and in the big picture of all of this, a measurable negative impact to revenue.

User adoption is a science and an art. There are numerous books written on this topic as well as excellent blogs written by other Perficient authors on this site. But one key takeaway that came out of today’s discussion was drawing a distinction between Stick vs. Carrot approach. Both are necessary in a good user adoption strategy. But like everything else, there needs to be a balance between them.

Traditionally, the stick approach has been employed to drive use of a solution. The stick is often realized as the top-down-driven messaging of use the solution, “or else”. Perhaps not worded as strongly as that in most organizations. However, the idea is the same.

Often companies seek to drive adoption by leaning on the management and executive sponsors to create policy to state that all users are required to login and use the solution a certain way. While it’s important to have executive sponsorship helping to promote the use of the system, this should not be the only motivator strategy because it can lead to users finding the quickest and easiest way to enter what they have to in order to make sure they’ve met the minimum requirements of the policy’s expectations. The balance to the stick is the carrot.

The carrot is the “how does this benefit me” or “what’s in this for me” explanation that users are looking for when they are using Salesforce. Users need to find value in the solution beyond the requirement of entering data that seemingly provides no immediate and direct value to them. Consider the messaging to your users and leverage identifying areas that will improve their quality of life directly from the use of Salesforce.

For example:

Time Savings – Identify inefficient business processes and build solutions in Salesforce to address them thereby making it easier for users to get the same results in a fraction of the time.

  • That paper form you had to use to create an account in the ERP has been deprecated and now everything can be entered through Salesforce.
  • The excel sheet you used to have to fill out each week to communicate your forecast or pipeline numbers to your manager is no longer needed because we can pull that information from what you enter into your opportunities.
  • The emails and phone calls and cat herding you had to do to get an approval for your quote can now be done by the push of a button.

Support through Motivation – Consider transparency to incentives and other strategies to help motivate users to want to use the system.

  • Being able to see commissions real-time (or near it) on an opportunity or dashboard is a powerful incentivizer to promote desired behavior in a system.
  • Use Apps to employ a points-based system tied to incentives to drive behavior. In the Circles of Success session, our table discussed using an Appexchange app called SuMo. There are several apps on the Appexchange that provide this kind of functionality. This particular app happened to be used by one of the participants very successfully. Using an App like SuMo you can drive behavior through goals in the solution and provide incentives around performance. This is often referred to as Gamification. You’ll find many articles online discussing strategies on this topic.

These are just a couple of strategies that we discussed during our session today. As I said, it just begins to scratch the surface of addressing User Adoption. I recommend exploring and reading more around User Adoption. Consider partnering with Perficient to help define a strategy, and be sure to include it as part of your overall Change Management strategy.

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David Schild

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