One of the key qualities to a successful Salesforce Admin is the ability to communicate effectively. Previously I wrote about The New Habits of a Successful Salesforce Admin, included in those habits is communication. Effective communication will not only drive adoption, but will actually lower the amount of time you spend supporting user requests. For this post I would like to unpack that habit more and give you some action items that you can start executing today, as well as ones that we can get a head start on so that we maintain effective communication throughout the year.
Why Communication is key to success
A company or organization is essentially a group of people at it’s core. The group concept is important to understand because while we may label people as ’employees’ we are all group members. As a group member you work hard to understand the values, norms, and goals of the group. What can be an impediment to that understanding is a lack of communication. Poor communication among group members- especially from the leader, like a Salesforce Admin- can give group members the feeling of being excluded and worse yet- a lack of understanding about what is right and what is wrong. Remember everyone wants to do what is right. Without effective communication, group members won’t know what is right, and will generally not participate. Low adoption numbers in Salesforce isn’t because of a lack of features it’s a lack in communication. (Tweet this)
Plan early, and often
It’s early in the new year, that means for the most part calendars in your organization are fairly clear throughout the year. Let’s take advantage of that and schedule all of our monthly and quarterly meetings with leaders and stakeholders. We know that a habit of a good admin is to meet quarterly with leadership to understand the goals and direction of the organization, as well as monthly with stakeholders- those who have a process that Salesforce supports. So why not take advantage and schedule all of those meetings this week? This gets the meetings on the calendar now, and forces them to cancel. Remember with leadership it’s easier to get on their calendars now, the pry your way on later. Schedule those key meetings now while they are more likely to accept.
Here is a quick list of the meetings you need to schedule this week:
- Quarterly meetings with leadership to discuss goals and direction of the organization.
- Monthly meeting with stakeholders to review business process and feature requests
- A meeting with various departments to “Eat & Delete” old reports, content, etc.
- If you utilize governance, now is the time to block those meetings on calendars as well to drive attendance.
In addition to those meetings, put a block of time on your calendar to do some SABWA. That is to do some Salesforce Administration by wandering around. Spend 15-20 minutes visiting with users and doing some over the shoulder time. Understanding how they use Salesforce versus how it was intended will be key to rolling out new features.
Too much communication
Simply put, there is no such thing as too much communication. Effective Salesforce communication means that each and every user receives the message at least twice. When communicating with your users one email isn’t enough. One Chatter post isn’t enough. One of anything, isn’t enough. Users gather information from various sources, emails and chatter posts can be easily missed. Remember missed communication can leave group members feeling left out and excluded- which is not the goal.
When planning a communication around a new release, a new feature, or training I want you to think about the three M’s of communicating to users:
With any communication you will always want to communicate first with management. Give them the information they need to answer questions and drive adoption among users. In addition, give them the tools to pass that message on to their users. Management is key to helping drive adoption and the message to users.
Email is only one medium and you need to plan on multiple- like three or more. If you send an email plan on posting the same message to Chatter and if you have an intranet post it there. Or if you don’t create a newsletter or handout to distribute to everyone. Your goal is that no matter where a user goes for information there is something there from the admin. And it’s your backup incase Management didn’t cascade the message.
When communicating with users I don’t want you to send the same email more than once. That’s not effective communication. If your first message was in paragraph form, write your second message in a shorter form with bulleted text. And when sending multiple emails be sure to change the subject line. Email programs now are a big fan of grouping emails together, changing the subject line will make your multiple communications stand out.
Your communication goal this year is simple- make sure no one feels left out. Ever. By the end of this year your users should be telling you that they never felt left out or they didn’t know what was going on. When they tell you that you will see adoption numbers increase and users will start helping other users- lowering your support time.