We all of us coming from a similar platform (Sales) and we face a common challenge. I’m sure you all will agree that sales teams globally are evolving at a very rapid pace, talk about approach, processes, and technology, that’s the reason why upskilling and rescaling is the need of the hour and you just can’t go without it.
It is something which is a top priority for enablement, leaders, and sales leaders. There are two trends which are at the top of this list, one is virtual selling, and the second is the customer-first approach.
A lot of organisations are back at the office and some may be working in a hybrid setup. Virtual is the way to go and that’s how we’re going to work that’s the reason why hybrid selling has evolved as a new pattern and slowly virtual onboarding training and enablement have become one of the top priorities, how things were done earlier is no longer going to work and it’s time to reinvent the wheel and think about okay, how do we do it?
The second one is the customer-first approach. I’m sure all sales leaders and enablement people can agree with me that a good salesman always puts the customer first and that in itself leads to the need to rescaling the team to be able to understand what’s the customer’s need, try to cater to what their challenges are and not just talk about your solution and your application.
With these two macro trends at play, it becomes really important that we equip our sales teams with market knowledge, process knowledge and platform knowledge to be able to excel at what they’re trying to do. On average, an enterprise salesperson uses at least 14 applications on a daily basis to get their work done. The more important part is some of these applications are more complex than others. Of course, it depends upon the challenges that they solve for the organisation. But something which is common for all organisations and sales teams is a few common applications. Think of a CRM tool. Every decent size, organisation or sales team will have a CRM tool to be able to create opportunities to track their movement, and keep the pipeline in check, followed by CPQ applications, contract management solutions to sign and store contracts, invoicing, expense management solutions, closing with commission tools, and finally an SEM application to get paid. Looking at a small subset of applications a seller has to use on a day-to-day basis, I realise how difficult their lives are right? At the end of the day. It’s not about learning one of these applications, it’s about learning all of them. Also learning how to use them in context with your company’s sales process. And that just magnifies the problem so much More. So the complexity that we’re talking about is extreme and that is where there’s a need for upskilling.
Let’s dive deep into the adoption challenges organisations face with Salesforce and how can they go about improving end-user adoption as well as productivity. If you think about the top three challenges,
Customizing Salesforce instances
Salesforce, just talking about the application in itself feels like a very standard solution. But, every organization customizes for their own business use case. The reason behind that is every organisation prefers to customise Salesforce because every company has a different sales process. Every company has a different workflow and it’s important for them to ensure that they are using exactly catering to their needs. But that poses another challenge, I may come from another company where I have learned how to use Salesforce, despite that, I will be as good as a new onboarding seller in this organisation because the instance has changed, how it functions, the processes, the different sales stages, even the work, the workflows, all of that has changed.
Lack of Continuous Training
Lack of continuous training actually leads to poor knowledge retention and application training. An organisation has to move away from that event mindset, it could be onboarding, which is when the person moves to the organisation or is new to the organisation, and more towards more of a continuous approach. Where users can learn while they are working. It’s a term or a phrase rather, which is used often in the learning and development community, called learning in the flow of work. Which is embedding learning within one’s workflow, so that you can help them retain knowledge better and lead to better adoption. As a seller you should not have to set aside time just to learn a particular technology, it should be something which is a part of my day-to-day work and process.
Every time I think of where I need to go to find the right information as a seller, I am going to take a couple of clicks and a couple of platform logins to be able to find that information. Secondly, it’s not contextual. I have to use my own head and brain and of course, scroll through pages and pages, or maybe tabs of Google Drive to be able to find that particular asset. We’re talking about not just one single repository where all of this content will be present. Think of confluence, Google Drive, and enablement tools like Highspot. So what we need essentially, in this particular case is support, in the moment of need. I can get the right kind of information right in front of me without me having to go to maybe 10 different people. These are the three factors which mainly contribute to poor user adoption of Salesforce in large enterprises.
Research suggests that three out of four sales reps never take full advantage of the software applications at their disposal. Traditional training methods need to be used in collaboration with other training methods, which align better with modern sales teams. People no longer want to sit in a room, whether virtually or in person and just learn in theory how to use an application, which is as diverse as that of Salesforce.
The Forgetting curve
The biggest reason behind poor retention is the forgetting curve. Think about the last time you were in a training session, which was a traditional classroom training session and what percentage of information are you able to retain from it. Studies show that it takes less than a week for us to lose 90% of that information, which we’ve learned in classroom training and that’s normal and that’s something which is a part of human behaviour, we are not able to retain 90% of that information, that’s where the problem lies.
Loss of Productivity Time
The second major problem is lost productivity time. Analyst research firm, IDC report tells, about how 30% of the time is actually spent in silos and just looking for the right information. Think about if I as a seller can contribute this 30% and actually build my pipeline in making those calls and writing those strategic emails or even doing that research for my account, instead of actually having to research for the content that I’m gonna send across to that account.
The learning behaviour is changing. We’re talking about modern sales teams, what may work for you as a learning pattern may not really work for me, I may be a person who needs a traditional PDF with a screenshot attached to it to be able to deliver that presentation. Well, in your case, it could be Hey, I just need a two-minute video, just give me an idea. One important factor to keep in mind is we are in the age of instant gratification, and that’s why we are right where we are today. Whether it is movies or food, think of goods and services that you buy apps like Netflix, and Amazon, all of them provide us with the results instantly. So why not expect the same thing on the professional front? Everything is available at a click of a button in our day-to-day lives, right? So why not expect that out of the applications that we use as well? Why not make that simpler? So we as human beings have evolved to expect that we want the same kind of an experience at our workplace. We don’t bifurcate on the basis of those experiences that here’s my personal life, and that’s another piece of the puzzle.
Spent on Training
We are spending about $3,000 on average spend for every sales rep on his/her training, this is everything internally within the organisation or anything that you get external help for.
If you talk to people in the enablement groups or sales leaders as well as ask them in general, how long it takes for their reps to get ramped up, that number will come somewhere upwards of five plus months, at least on the good side, or the bad side, it could be somewhere upwards of nine months as well. So think about the amount of money and the amount of time which is spent on just training ourselves. The industry is doing so much. But is all of this worth it? Is it really important for a seller to take six months before they can get ramped up and start getting revenue for your company? Now that the entire problem statement is completely clear, let’s see a few other things which you need to keep in mind for a better Salesforce adoption.
Now, these are the factors that hinder the salesforce adoption but how we can improve the adoption of Salesforce?
When we talk about Salesforce adoption, it’s not just about the individual contributors. It’s also about the leadership in your organisation and how they are going to use Salesforce. How do we enable that? You have an option of being able to personalise that onboarding according to each of these different sales motions. You need to handhold the users right at the time of onboarding, when they’re new to the company, through the mandatory tasks. Guide the users through the high-value features, which you can do with the help of product tours, demonstrate the value of the application and help them understand what it does.
Sales users do not have the time to be able to go scramble for the right kind of content, the right kind of assets, right kind of training videos as well. So give them the information in the flow of work when they need it in real-time, without them having to reach out to someone like sales operations, sales enablement, or raise a ticket with it. When you offer real-time in-app guidance, which is more of step-by-step instructions on how to complete a particular task. It could be something as simple as creating an opportunity to create a report, generate or create or no recall, any of that can be easily done with the help of in-app guidance. Instead of telling them, you can actually help them do it. When they are on the application. It’s more practical knowledge instead of theoretical knowledge. The second thing you can do to give them real-time guidance is to offer contextual tips and recommendations.
Offer Contextual Support
Offer contextual support to increase the adoption on demand. A seller should be self-sufficient and be able to go ahead and find relevant information. So, if I could be on say a tab of Salesforce, which is opportunities, and if I click on one of the widgets, I will be able to see information, which is exactly according to opportunities with Contextual support. It will also be contextual, according to the role of the person and the right kind of information will be given to the user.
Seamless change management
It’s not easy for an organisation to change their CRM and for them to bring in those new features and functionalities as well on an ongoing basis. When a seller has spent one plus or over six-plus months in the organisation, they’re used to doing things a certain way. Breaking that habit, breaking that pattern, is helping them understand that you can do the same task much more easily in a lesser number of clicks, which is yet a difficult thing to do. Even if it makes their lives easier. It just requires change management. In most cases, most of your sellers will first miss out on what has changed in the platform, they will also not be able to understand what’s new, what changed for me, and how would be my entire sales flow, which I was following on Salesforce. You need to help them with seamless change management by giving them clear communication on what has changed in terms of features, and processes and you have to make sure that your sellers are up to date on it.
All you have to do is all support content should be up to date at all times and in sync with the changes to the features. That’s a difficult thing to do. But with the help of the right application in a place like a digital adoption platform, you will be able to do it very easily and you will not have to worry about that. With the digital adoption platform, it can be much easier to do. But, the key point here is to drive seamless change management.
Engage with tailored experiences
I could make an announcement on Salesforce, and I can help people understand here’s what’s changing, here’s what’s happening or here’s downtime with the help of a digital adoption platform. Those nudges can also be personalised, I can send across a nudge only to the sales managers to check their pipeline two weeks before the quarter ends because I want all of them to do anything like that which is contextual and personalised. It’s really important to continuously collect feedback to optimise in-app experiences on Salesforce.
The Digital Adoption Platform is an underlying layer across any application type and there can be multiple types of applications. Think of your HCM application (Workday/SuccessFactors), CRM application(Salesforce, Oracle), or any of the others, which are helping your employees perform better and healthier productivity. The other type could be customer-facing applications. It could be a native mobile or a tablet application as well or it could be a desktop application. Digital Adoption Platform creates a middle layer between those users and those applications, the underlying application could be absolutely anything, whether it is on a browser, mobile or desktop application.
The digital adoption layer comes with multiple different things that you can do with it and all of that interacts with the users on the other side. The Digital adoption platforms will help you with the help of surveys, user feedback, small nudges, and even analytics on how the application is performing and what part of the application is not performing. The most important use case of that is step-by-step guidance. If I have to create a dashboard of my own, and I don’t want to go back to my CRM administrator, I can actually take that step-by-step guidance, which is going to help me in real time. It’s not a simulation, I will be following those steps on my application and at the end of the day, I will have my dashboard pre-created. This is in a nutshell how a digital adoption platform interfaces with your base technology and helps those users increase the adoption of it.
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