Cloudy the goat standing with a laptop under text that says, "Drive Salesforce Adoption with Enablement."

3 Tips to Drive Salesforce Adoption with Enablement


If you’ve ever worked with sales stakeholders, you know that adoption can be a real challenge for new processes, features, tools, and technologies.

And a big reason why new tools and technologies fail to be adopted is that persuading people to do something different, regardless of what it is, is exceptionally challenging. Half of all change management initiatives fail outright, and only 34% are deemed a “clear success.”

This is particularly pertinent right now. The external selling environment is becoming more challenging, and currently only 1 in 3 of our sales colleagues will get to quota.

In short, there’s significant business pressure to make every rep as effective as possible.

But oftentimes, the very tools that make selling easier aren’t adopted by reps.

In order to drive adoption of the tools and technologies that admins are responsible for, we need to support our sellers through change. Enablement is a great way to do that.

What is Enablement?

Let’s take a step back.

Enablement is a newer business function that’s emerged in the last ~15 years. It’s laser-focused on making reps as productive as possible. Here’s a summary of its key responsibilities:

  • Content and training: Do reps have the right stuff and right skills to sell effectively?
  • Processes and technologies: Do reps have (and follow) the right processes with the right tools to drive predictable revenue?
  • Onboarding and retention: How do you get reps ramped up to productivity quickly, and how do you extend their tenure at the business?

To service those needs, Salesforce launched Enablement late last year, which is designed specifically to help reps. To do this, it delivers training programs and content in the flow of work, so reps aren’t swivelling between different programs. It validates that training is changing how reps actually do their job, and it ties that new behavior to revenue outcomes reps care about, like their quota.

None of which matters, of course, if reps don’t actually use it.

How Enablement helps admins drive adoption

If a new process or tool is rolled out to the sales team, but no one adopts it, does it matter?

This summarizes the challenge that faces admins.

But Enablement can help drive adoption in three key ways.

1. Aligns seller interests with tool/process adoption.

Ultimately, businesses want to deliver a unified experience that has their customer at the center of it. And sales is often a key part of that experience. However, sales reps are incentivized and, frankly, paid, by hitting their number. Their primary interest is what’s going to help them move their business forward.

What this means is that if you want your Salesforce adoption to improve, you need to clearly link your program to business metrics reps care about. Reps need to understand what’s in it for them to put in the effort to change how they do their job.

Enablement can help bring “what’s in it for me” front and center.

By building adoption and enablement programs that tie to specific revenue outcomes, and surfacing those same revenue outcomes directly in Salesforce, it makes it clear why reps should be using the tool. It shows what reps need to do to improve their performance. And by highlighting the outcome to the rep, it demonstrates to the rep that the business is focused on the same metrics they are, which vastly improves alignment and thus, adoption.

The Enablement product's user interface.

2. Supports reps where they work.

It takes 10 tools on average to close a deal today. That’s a lot of time reps are swivelling around to look for different information in different formats, logging in and out of various tools, not to mention the cognitive load of so much task switching.

So when it comes to CRM adoption, either overall or a specific process, reps are naturally reluctant. They don’t want to swivel between different products and change how they work. It’s already hard enough!

You need to enable and support reps within their existing flow of work. What you don’t want is for reps to learn how a process works in one tool, then do the process in another tool—especially if there’s a big gap between learning and doing.

Here’s an example. The screenshot below shows a program designed to help reps sell a specific product. We can see that it’s within Salesforce, where you want your reps working anyway. We can also see that it’s a complete step-by-step guide to reps closing a new product deal.

By supporting reps in Salesforce, we’re not only making Enablement much easier to access, but we’re also driving adoption by showing sellers that no matter what they need to do, the CRM is the place to do it.

The Enablement product showing guidance center.

3. Makes adoption bite-sized.

In app guidance embedded video functionality.A key challenge we see with adoption is too much change, too fast, without enough reinforcement. Even when sellers are bought into a change, actually executing it becomes problematic, if for no other reason than 90% of what you teach them they’ll forget within 30 days.

That’s why you want to divide your change into small, bite-sized pieces. By moving step-by-step with contextual guidance in the app, you can both train reps on a new process, and reinforce it over time with prompts and reminders.

In app guidance embedded video functionality.

For example, let’s say you have a new field you want your reps to fill out. You might provide a three-step guided walkthrough to show reps exactly what to do and demonstrate why. After a few times doing that process, reps likely don’t need a whole guided experience, so you might switch from a guided walkthrough to a prompt, which acts as a reminder and reiterates why reps should fill out the field (remember—we have to tell sellers what’s in it for them!).

How to get started

There are tons of ways to get started, but let’s focus on a hyper-actionable one you can deploy today.

1. Identify what, if any, adoption gaps you have.

Have you rolled out initiatives recently that you’re not seeing outcomes from?

Have you changed your Salesforce instance and seen a spike in user feedback, or released a new field that still isn’t being populated?

Other common adoption programs include:

  • A new tool
  • New content
  • A specific sales methodology, like MEDDIC, Sandler, or SPIN selling. (P.S. These often come with required customizations and field creation!)

2. Develop step-by-step guidance that tells reps exactly how to do what you need them to do.

Now that you have the process you’re attempting to improve, you need to write step-by-step guidance for what you want sales reps to do. Keep it short, and keep it actionable.

3. Drop your guidance into an in-app walkthrough.

Almost every Salesforce Admin has access to free walkthroughs included with their Salesforce licenses. You can use these to drive adoption of your new process or methodology.

In app guidance showing contextual tips for selling.

By providing guidance to sales users, all within their flow of work, you:

  • Make it easier for reps to know what to do.
  • Remind them, when it’s relevant to them, of what they’re supposed to do.
  • Reiterate how to do it right.

Combined, these types of prompts make adoption a much easier lift on the reps, and help admins improve adoption of the programs they run.

Wrap up

Salesforce adoption is a perpetual pain for admins and businesses. Not only does poor adoption erode the value of the CRM for the business, but it also makes reps’ jobs more difficult. Without adoption, making data-driven decisions to maximize growth is difficult, if not impossible.

Fortunately, despite the inherent challenges of change management, there are a few things you can do to make your teams a bit more enthusiastic about using a new process or tool. By surfacing exactly why it’s important to the reps, you can drive alignment between you and your sellers. You can make it hyper-clear that adoption will help them, but also that you support them and are focused on the metrics they care about most.

By supporting them in the flow of work (especially if you can do it from the start with onboarding) you can make Salesforce the place where work happens—and, conveniently, reduce the amount of swivelling around that reps have to do, an exhausting and time-consuming task.

Finally, you can separate your adoption into bite-sized chunks, and surface it for reps only when it’s important to them. By making it simple, guided, and contextual, it’s much easier for sales reps to change. Less friction inevitably leads to better adoption metrics.

Adoption is the key to running an effective business using Salesforce. Hopefully, these tips make your journey a little bit smoother.


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