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How to Avoid Salesforce Implementation Challenges and Boost User Adoption

Salesforce suggests a 37% increase in revenue, post-implementation of its Sales Cloud. Impressive, isn’t it? However, research suggests that at least one-third of CRM implementations fail, making Salesforce no exception to the rule.

Organizations choose to implement Salesforce due to its versatility. But, if a successful Salesforce implementation can transform your business and automate your regular tedious tasks, a failed Salesforce implementation can leave you high and dry with a fancy platform that no one is willing to use! A noteworthy observation here would be that most of these Salesforce implementation challenges are people-centric and can setback your user adoption and ROI.


To avoid this worst-case scenario, let’s look at the common implementation challenges and how they impact Salesforce adoption.

Challenges Associated with Every Salesforce Implementation

A Salesforce implementation is not only a technological change but also a cultural change. To implement successfully without any glitch, a holistic implementation strategy should be in place, which addresses the following challenges:

  • Lack of Clarity: While migrating from the existing CRM to Salesforce, it is crucial to understand the scope and differences between your current CRM, Salesforce and where the improvements lie. If you lack clarity, you might fail to convince your team for the Salesforce migration. Your communication strategy should highlight the reasons for Salesforce implementation & how employees would benefit from it.

  • Roll Out Plan: A phased rollout strategy ensures a higher success rate when compared to a full-fledged rollout for your entire organization. Define clear project timelines and migrate a pilot group first. It allows you to gauge what works best with the pilot group and scale accordingly for other employees.

  • Customization & Integration: Salesforce is a feature-rich platform with a provision for extensive customization and integration, as per your requirement. Ensure that you have a setup rightly customized and integrated according to your requirements before going live. Else, there is no incentive for your workforce to start using Salesforce as instead of improving their productivity, it will hinder their work on a daily basis.

  • Data Migration & Integrity: Data is the fuel that powers Salesforce. It is simple! Salesforce follows the ‘garbage in garbage out’ principle. If you ensure data quality during data migration, Salesforce will outperform your expectations related to reporting and insights. Data should be up-to-date, correct and reliable for users to revert to Salesforce for obtaining actionable insights. Conversely, data quality depends on validation and user inputs establishing a two-way relation between data integrity and user adoption.

  • Difficulty in Content discovery: Getting people to use a complex application like Salesforce is a Herculean task. If, in this case, content discovery time is high, they would avoid using Salesforce and revert to legacy software and methods. So ensure that it is easy for your teams to get answers. Keep it low touch and automate processes as much as possible, making it easier for your teams to use Salesforce.

  • Steep Learning Curve: To become a Salesforce expert, you need weeks of continuous training (including both self-learning and instructor-led sessions). The learning curve would depend on the customization of the instance and how you intend to use it. Still, there is no guarantee that you will be able to use Salesforce like a pro, as remembering the flow and clicks to execute a task is difficult.

Several user reviews on G2 state that the platform isn’t interactive. The information overload makes the experience overwhelming for the new users.

Now that we are aware of the challenges that can cost you your implementation success. Let’s take a look at how they affect long-term Salesforce adoption, if left unsolved.


How Can These Challenges Manifest into Low User Adoption?

If left unsolved, how can these implementation challenges manifest into lower adoption? Low user adoption is a clear indication that your Salesforce implementation is on the verge of failure. Following behaviour patterns depict how low user adoption looks like.

  • Continued Reliance on Legacy Systems: Users develop a comfort level with the legacy CRM systems, or worse, the spreadsheets, to execute their daily tasks. You might also observe low Salesforce login rates. In such a case, leaders should highlight the disadvantages of not using Salesforce. You can take control of the situation beforehand with effective change management communication and strategy.

  • Higher Number of Support Tickets: When you implement complex CRM software like Salesforce, the dependence on support teams increases and the support staff gets overwhelmed with an increasing number of support tickets. If you have opted for a standard Salesforce success plan, your best bet for support is through online portals and communities like Trailblazer. When your workforce is working remotely, the number of support tickets increases further, thereby increasing the overall response time.

  • Poor Data Quality: If user adoption is low, you can observe irregular data entry from your sales team. The onus of maintaining data hygiene depends on its users. Although not all fields are mandatory, skipping details or irregular updates may cause confusion within the team.

This behaviour highlights low engagement with the Salesforce platform. But, if you play your cards right, your employees will most likely fall in love with this solution, and you will have your expected ROI.



Strategies to Improve Salesforce User Adoption


According to Whatfix CRM Survey 2020, 40% of sales reps avoid using CRM as data entry is time-consuming, while 35% of reps don’t feel equipped to use CRM like Salesforce. The following pointers will allow you to embrace the implementation challenges and bridge the adoption gap-

  • Invest in End-User Onboarding & Training: You must be implementing Salesforce to increase employee productivity. But, with improper user onboarding and training, your team members might not be able to see this benefit. These training and onboarding challenges will amplify, especially when your workforce is remote and spread across different geographic locations.

  • But, just imagine, if there was a way to reduce all the technostress. You didn’t have to remember all those difficult flows and clicks within the Salesforce platform. You could receive on-demand support and step-by-step guidance, as and when you need it. Wouldn’t you want to explore that? Well, that’s why you should consider a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) as a part of your implementation and adoption strategy.

  • A Digital Adoption Platforms (DAP) like Whatfix acts as an overlay on the Salesforce application to provide contextual guidance and a personalized onboarding experience.

  • Communicate changes: Salesforce rolls out continuous updates to improve their platform. But, more often than not, employees are unable to consume these features well because of a lack of awareness. You can also leverage Salesforce Chatter Groups for the same.

  • Incentivize people to use Salesforce: You must look out for the influencers and early adopters in your organization, encourage them to be salesforce champions and make them the go-to persons. Rewarding and recognizing employees for their efforts can go a long way in increasing the adoption.

  • Plan DAP rollout alongside Salesforce Implementation: A DAP like Whatfix is your one-stop solution to drive Salesforce adoption and productivity. It increases employee productivity by leveraging learning-in-the-flow-of-work & automating several tasks, thereby reducing time-to-value. It aims to foster a self-serve culture by providing a self-help widget, thereby reducing the pressure on your support staff.



See how Experian drives Salesforce adoption globally with Whatfix and experiences a 72% increase in productivity within the first year of digital adoption.

  • Leverage the AppExchange: make up for the missing default functionalities and introduce integration with familiar apps.

  • Define Success Metrics: Set up KPIs to measure the effectiveness of Salesforce adoption by monitoring Salesforce usage, data quality and user feedback. You can also leverage Salesforce custom dashboards to understand the areas of concern.


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