There’s one thing that exponentially increases Salesforce ROI, yet 49% of users have trouble doing it. And that is simply adopting the software and using it regularly.

According to a Forrester study in 2012, of all the CRM project problems users reported, 22% had to do with “people” issues. Of these people issues, one of the biggest threats to CRM success was that a whopping 49% of users were slow to adopt the CRM software in question.

When a company spends thousands of dollars on a program like Salesforce – and then no one uses it – the program becomes an expensive burden to higher-ups and sales teams alike.

Yet, when companies are able to onboard their teams successfully and get them using their CRM software, they see results. They are able to track leads better, create helpful reports for their sales teams and their marketing department, and close more sales.

Here’s the problem: Humans hate change.

So, how can you overcome basic human nature and salvage your investment in Salesforce?

You’ll read a lot of articles that tell you things, such as “Demonstrate the value to your sales people,” “provide training,” and “gain buy-in.” Yes, these are all good things to do – but how do you actually do any of that? What do the actual steps of implementation look like?

Here are some details and specific actions you can take, so your team won’t be part of the 49%.

Make it easy (in just 4 simple steps).

We know you’re anxious to get some practical nuts-and-bolts advice out of this article. So, we’re going to give you our 4 top suggestions of ways you can customize Salesforce and make the program itself as easy as possible for your team to adjust to. Just these 4 things alone can make a huge difference in how easily people adjust to it – but then keep reading past these bullets for even more ideas you can implement to get everyone up and running with Salesforce.

  • Make the homepage easy to use. If the homepage is set up correctly to begin with, it can become more than just a dashboard and point of entry – it becomes a powerful command center for your team. Having a great dashboard/homepage will also save your team from extra clicks and having to hunt for what they need, which in turn saves time and frustration for your change-resistant team. Make it fun. Make it easy. Your team will be more likely to jump on board. (This kind of customization may take hiring a consultant who knows what they’re doing, unless you have an in-house development team that’s familiar with Salesforce. Either way you go, it’s worth the investment to get it right.)
  • Encourage social collaboration within Salesforce. Using an application for collaboration, such as Chatter (also from Salesforce), does more than just let people chat with each other online and share business information in real time throughout the day. It lets you tap into the same kind of habit creation and behavioral rewards that social media uses to keep everyone connected and online. BONUS TIP: If you can get your c-suite level execs using whatever collaboration platform you choose, more people will be likely to jump on board, because they won’t want to miss anything.
  • Automate whatever you can. Look for opportunities within your process and your cycle to automate certain steps. For example, when web leads come in, how can they automatically be assigned a follow-up task for your reps? When someone buys your product, can a task automatically be generated for someone to follow up with them about renewing in a month, six months, a year? Automation means less menial task work for your sales team and more consistency in customer service overall.
  • Integrate Salesforce with the systems your sales people are already using. Integrating Salesforce with your current office software means two things. First, sales people won’t lose all the documents and tools they’ve already built over time in places like Word or Excel. Second, if Salesforce integrates seamlessly with what they’re already doing, then they’ll be more likely to use Salesforce, because it won’t require that much more effort.

That’s what you can do to customize Salesforce to make it easier to use. Here are some other things you can do upon implementation to win the hearts and minds of your associates!

Identify super users.

This is an important step in gaining buy-in from the people who will be using Salesforce the most. While you’re still in the planning stages, identify which group or groups are likely to be the heaviest users of your CRM platform. Beyond your sales and sales development teams, these could be your marketing department, your call center managers, and other teams that work adjacent to the sales people. By getting major players involved early, hopefully they can start talking up the software and the new process to their colleagues. (And having buy-in from colleagues is usually more effective than having things dicated from upon high.) The other advantage is that as the people who will be using the program the most, hopefully they’ll contribute good ideas about how best to implement the software and which features and reports will be critical to them – and that’s a great way to head trouble off at the pass.

Make Salesforce a data hub for your sales and marketing teams.

By housing all the data in this one spot and making it the go-to program to get the answers they need, sales and marketing teams will not only quickly get into the habit of using it, they’ll be encouraged to use it in order to get the answers they need to do their jobs better.

Designate an administrator.

One of the best success strategies out there for implementing Salesforce or any CRM program is to hire an administrator, someone who knows (or can learn) the program inside and out. Someone who can take pride in becoming the subject matter expert for the software and be a point person for addressing everyone’s issues and questions. It doesn’t matter if you hire someone new or shuffle people around within your current company to fill the role. And it shouldn’t necessarily be an IT person. One of your best super users may be a fabulous pick as administrator. (Just make sure you add the time in their job description and day-to-day duties to fill the role properly.) Having an accessible point-of-contact who can help your employees in real time helps get them up and running quickly, keeps them using the software, and boosts morale.

Reassure them that their leads are still their leads.

One thing that can make sales people nervous is the idea that any leads might be taken away from them or not credited properly. It’s really important to emphasize to sales people and everyone using the system that not only will Salesforce generate more leads for everyone but it should make it easier to qualify, track, and close on those leads.


The buzzword these days is “gamification” – the idea that you can increase engagement and participation in any task by using the same design strategies that video game makers use to get people hooked on their games and to keep them playing. Whether you do things like assign point values to daily tasks or run contests to get your sales people competing against each other in their new CRM software, if you make it fun and use rewards to encourage people, your team is more likely to learn the software and use it regularly. Check out this article from Cloud Sherpas for more ideas on how to use the psychology of gaming to help you implement Salesforce.

Force them to use it.

This one doesn’t sound as warm and friendly as the other methods of encouraging engagement and adoption of Salesforce. However, the reality is that once you commit to Salesforce or any CRM system, you have to commit 100%. No philandering allowed. If even one person doesn’t use the system, it can bring everyone down. The data, reports, and tracking you want to get from Salesforce won’t be accurate if you don’t have everyone using it regularly. Also, if even one person is let off the hook, others will want to follow suit. Everyone has to use it. End of story. No ifs, ands, or buts.

But that’s why you’re going to use all the other tips and tricks in this article to motivate and engage your teams and get them on board with using Salesforce – so that ultimately, you can exponentially increase your Salesforce ROI and make implementation and adoption of Salesforce easier on your team.

These are just a few of the best ideas we’ve seen that are both effective and easy to implement. For a few more ideas, check out this article on, “13 Tips to Get Your Business Team to Use Your CRM Software”.