Software is only as effective as the people using them. Training employees to use a complex business software like Salesforce properly takes a mix of strategic planning, team commitment and some creativity.
It is important that your employees complete their tasks successfully. If used improperly, customer relations could be damaged. Gartner analyst, Michael Maoz writes, “CRM process flaws and inadequate technologies could derail customer loyalty strategies.” Companies need to ensure Salesforce processes are taught and carried out correctly before moving on to the next training step.
However, proper training isn’t the only concern. Training should also be time-efficient. Decreasing the time between when a new employee is hired and when they start to become productive – also known as ramp time – is very important for improving overall productivity as well as decreasing labor costs.
Here are 5 tips to make that ramp time shorter and more manageable.
1. Identify your company’s goals
Before onboarding can begin, sales leaders must ready themselves with a defined strategy. Often, organizations suffer because they cannot accommodate for rapid expansion, due to a lack of sales strategy, well-documented processes, sales goals and metrics. Additionally with regards to ramp time, you must define what productivity is. After all, you need to know what threshold the employee needs to reach before they are considered productive and no longer require formal training. Some metrics to measure this include: time to revenue, social reach, and pipeline generation and management.
2. Make sure Salesforce training is specific to tasks
Salesforce is flexible enough to be used in a number of different ways, but that doesn’t mean that your new hires will have to master all of them. Think about the tasks that they will be performing and cater your training towards that. Ask yourself if it’s really necessary for them to learn something at this certain point and time in order to perform their job well. If it’s not, then it should be saved for a later day. Trying to train your employees in too many areas can end up overloading them and causing them to shut down.
3. Assign a mentor to quicken the learning process
Assign a knowledgeable sales rep as a mentor for new hires to lean on. According to research by Bersin, companies with mentoring programs had 13% stronger business results than companies with no programs. Mentors are very effective in teaching because they are more relatable than traditional training, offer more practical on-the-job knowledge, and answer any questions new employees might have. Their advice will be valuable when Sales Managers are unavailable for assistance.
With consideration to mentoring programs, make sure that there is confidentiality between employee and mentor. Mentors should not be delegated as an extra supervisor. Rather, they are a teaching and training tool that ease new hires into the field, and speed up ramp time.
4. Implement on-the-job learning using real-time guidance software
Proper implementation of technology in improving ramp time is important, because they contain unique, cost-effective services that are impossible to emulate through traditional means. Services like WalkMe offer real-time guidance software that simplify the Salesforce user experience and decrease confusion. The Salesforce learning curve can be decreased dramatically by implementing this system, while increasing knowledge retention and delivering a platform for continuous learning. It’s also important to implement this guidance as a post-training performance support. Remember, even if training is carried out well there will be some new users that will need to relearn how to perform a particular process later on. In order to minimize time spent wasted on retraining, or waiting for help desk assistance, it’s valuable to provide “in the moment” process support that can aid users as they perform a particular Salesforce process.
5. Transition into practical applications immediately
The longer you wait between teaching employees and having them apply their knowledge in Salesforce, the more likely it is for them to forget what they have learned. This tip ties in with the two previous ones, but you should still make a note of its importance with specific guidelines and programs. Mentoring programs help by providing individual support and practical teaching, while real-time guidance software offers ways to work more independently.
Create opportunities for new employees to apply their knowledge by putting them in controlled situations. This guarantees a smoother transition to when they become fully productive and independent.
Guest Blog Post Written by Amanda McDonald
Amanda is the Lead Author & Editor of Rainforce Blog. Amanda established the Rainforce blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Salesforce usage. Amanda is also a Sales Administrator at WalkMe, the enterprise-class guidance and engagement platform, which simplifies Salesforce usage so that users can work efficiently and successfully. Connect through LinkedIn or follow the blog at @rainforceblog.