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For Successful Salesforce Adoption, Get the Metrics Right

Deploying Salesforce is a big step for any organization. But between buying licenses and actually seeing the promised ROI, a lot of work has to happen. Much of that work involves establishing a framework that accurately measures success. 

Here, I’ll explain four things to do in the first 90 days of a Salesforce deployment to ensure your organization sees the ROI it anticipates.

1: Define “Adopted”

Once the decision to use Salesforce is made and the licenses are purchased, it’s natural for an organization’s leaders to be eager to start using the platform and seeing results.

Before that can happen, though, Salesforce users have to fully adopt the platform. To know whether and when that’s happened, your organization has to clearly define what “adopted” looks like.

Early on, Salesforce itself defined adoption in terms of logins. The thinking went that if an organization bought 500 licenses, say, and every license holder logged in regularly, the organization would, before long, be transformed.

Since then, that thinking has changed. Logging in doesn’t necessarily equate to desired behavior, and it’s the actions users take once they’re logged in that can really move the needle. Salesforce partners like Saggezza recognized this and now recommend that organizations use more sophisticated strategies and metrics to measure adoption and serve as guideposts to real business transformation.

What those strategies and metrics are vary based on an organization’s goals. To define them, it’s best to look at your current performance on various metrics, including these:

  • Productivity measures
  • Sales or service cycle times
  • Revenue by product

Get benchmark measurements for each metric that matters, then set a target for where you’d like to be when your team is fully up and running with Salesforce. This target is your organization’s definition of “adopted.”

2: Agree on How “Adopted” Will Be Measured

Once your leaders have agreed on what Salesforce adoption looks like, it’s time to agree on how you’ll measure adoption efforts.

On the one hand, these measurements will be unique to every company.

On the other, there’s likely to be significant overlap; some behaviors, including the following, are essential for Salesforce success in any organization:

  • Logins and login frequency
  • Using the right parts of the platform (accounts, opportunities, etc.)
  • Creation of new contacts, new accounts, new opportunities, etc.
  • Amount, type, and quality of data being entered in the system

If you’re not sure which behaviors will be most transformational for your organization, you don’t have to guess. An experienced Salesforce Architect can guide you based on what’s worked (and what hasn’t) in organizations similar to yours.

(Note: If you do enlist the help of a Salesforce Architect, you’ll also be able to tap into their knowledge about the universe of plugins and add-ons that can enhance a Salesforce organization. This is important because the “basics” of Salesforce can improve outcomes for any business, but customizing Salesforce for your industry and your team can lead to both better performance and a better experience for your team. We’ll address this in more detail in future blog posts.)

3: Create Your Adoption Score

Measuring adoption practices is important. Just as important: capturing those measurements as a single number that instantly communicates how far along your organization is on its path to adoption.

As with choosing which behaviors translate to adoption, creating the algorithm that calculates your adoption score is easier when you’re working with someone who’s been through the process before. Here’s how we typically approach this task:

  • Define the metrics that will determine success for each line of business (as explained above).
  • Create goals for each metric (e.g., log 15 calls per month).
  • Assign each metric a relative importance or weight (expressed as a percentage).
  • Create an algorithm to combine each weighted adoption metric. That’s your adoption score.

(For more depth, see my detailed explanation of creating an adoption algorithm.)

As you can imagine, there’s likely to be some trial and error even when working with an experienced partner. Correctly weighting metrics and rolling up adoption scores across lines of business requires some finessing. As you assess your adoption score, it may help to run a few hypothetical scenarios to determine whether the score reflects where you’d actually be if those scenarios were true.

For example, if your first hypothetical shows that you’d be 99 percent of the way toward adoption when creation of new accounts is well below target, you may need to weight that metric more heavily.

4: Measure, Adjust, Repeat

Once you have the algorithm for measuring your adoption score, it’s time to start using the platform in earnest and tracking your progress.

For most organizations, that path isn’t linear. At a tactical level, it requires training and incentivizing team members expected to use the platform. At a higher level, it may also require rethinking company culture to get everyone on the same page about the value Salesforce offers.

Even when it’s bumpy, though, the journey is worth the effort. Achieving full Salesforce adoption sets companies up for significant growth in win rates, sales revenue, and lead conversion, among other things. It makes teams more agile and positions organizations to stay competitive in their industries. In most cases, it’s nothing short of a game changer.

For Big ROI from Salesforce, Get Adoption Metrics Right

Without a solid adoption plan, your organization is unlikely to see the ROI Salesforce touts. Enacting that plan in the first 90 days of transitioning to Salesforce sets the stage for long-term success in the platform.

For most companies, the surest path to a successful first 90 days (and therefore the desired ROI) is to work with an experienced Salesforce partner who can help you think and talk about adoption metrics from your first meeting.

Saggezza’s team has that experience. Set up a time to talk with us today, and we’ll help you visualize your path to Salesforce ROI.

Meet the Author: Shawn McCormick, Senior Director of Salesforce Practice

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Shawn is a senior leader in our Salesforce Practice. He provides strategic leadership to our project teams and helps our customers continuously realize business value from their Salesforce investment. His approach to transformation couples process optimization, data-driven insights and innovative Salesforce features to achieve the client’s business objectives.

Prior to joining Saggezza, Shawn held Salesforce consulting and leadership positions at several global consultancies.

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Saggezza is a proven technology and consulting partner that delivers personalized, high-value solutions to accelerate business growth.

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