The training phase of a salesforce.com implementation is the best opportunity to drive end user adoption. To increases your chances of success, follow these training best practices:
1. Role Based Training – training should not be the same for all roles; it should be tailored to each role, and start with the managers; focus on showing them the value of the tool and how to get the info they will want from it; they don’t need to know how to convert a Lead to an Opportunity as much as they need to know which reports will be most useful to them and how to run them
2. Scenario Based Training – end users don’t need to know *what* all the screens and features do as much as they need to know *when* to use salesforce.com; instead of describing each screen, take a real world example and walk through it together; it ends up almost being business process training more than it is software training
3. Train as Teams – it is crucial to have the manager in training with the end users (after making sure the managers see the value of salesforce.com, of course); with their manager present, the end users know there is management buy in and expectation, and they are less likely to say or think “this is a waste of my time; I’m not doing this”
4. Train on Live System – it’s tempting to train on a dummy org with fake Leads and Contacts and other data, but then you have to rely on users to take what they’ve learned and translate it to the real world; instead, have them do *real* work with *real* data (e.g., bring their stacks of business cards to class and enter some real Leads during training); that way, they have already started using salesforce.com when they finish a day of class; it’s much easier to *continue* using a new tool than to *start* using it!
5. Hands on Training – this one may be obvious but needs to be stated: most people don’t learn by listening to an instructor or watching videos and e-learning; they learn by doing; each student should have his or her own workstation or device and should practice every process taught in class
6. Reinforce Training over time – research shows that two weeks after training, people typically retain 2-4% of what they learned… unless they’ve been actually using what they learned; one-and-done training strategy doesn’t cut it, because even your quickest adopting end users probably will not use evening taught in training during the first week after training; you must review and refresh after a week and again after a second week
End user adoption can be one of the hardest things to accomplish with salesforce.com, but it is also one of the most important. With the initial and ongoing support of direct managers–along with these best practices–any organization truly can expect and enjoy high salesforce.com end user adoption rates.
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