Why Salesforce Training is Important: The Unbiased Picture

  Regarded as the first, largest and most influential SaaS company, Salesforce ultimately offers just two functions for businesses: workflow and reporting. Unfortunately, both functions can be useless and misleading if the sales team is not properly trained in the first place. For all its capability, Salesforce is only as valuable as the end user is technically proficient.   For a sales executive, the value of Salesforce is seeing the larger picture. Pinpointing inefficiencies and replicating success is crucial to grow and…sell more. For a sales representative, the value of Salesforce is in improving workflow: being able to log and instantly recall critical information is required to…sell more.   But if the end users, that is the sales representatives, are burdened by what is perceived as a tedious or cumbersome process of inputting data, the next best option (think paper and pen) which allows them to spend more time with customers becomes optimal even if it is overall less efficient. A less efficient workflow is preferred to a workflow that is not understood.   Training is the key to unlock the power of Salesforce. But without training the sales representatives don’t utilize critical functions in Salesforce causing the executives to not be able to see an accurate picture in their reports. What could be a clear map showing the way to higher revenue, becomes clouded with the bias of misinformation.  

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  For Salesforce to give a true and objective view of a company’s status, end users must be trained to fully adopt the CRM into their workflow.  

Hire Talented Sales Professionals, Train for Salesforce Talent

  salesforce training map   An ideal candidate for a sales team will have a talent for closing a deal and a solid understanding of Salesforce. But if a choice had to be made between the two, the candidate with an understanding of how to sell is more valuable than a candidate who is technically inclined.   If a company were to go about hiring in the other direction by prioritizing Salesforce CRM experience, they would be gambling on the individual’s ability to learn and effectively use newly adopted interpersonal skills. Changing inherent qualities tends to be more difficult than changing a person’s understanding of a CRM system, making the gamble unlikely to be a win for the company.   Salesforce can be taught, but the ability to close a deal is rare. This matters a great deal for sales managers and executives who are looking to optimize the performance of their team.   The fact that Salesforce can be learned, opposed to being an innate quality of the person, frees a company to choose the most talented sales representative despite their experience working with the Salesforce CRM. However, it is then up to the company to ensure their talent is then trained to utilize the features and processes of Salesforce.  

Salesforce Training Increases Accountability

  While it might be tempting for a company to rely on the talent of their sales representatives alone, the incentive to invest in Salesforce training begins with holding those talented team members accountable.   Honest reporting removes ego and favoritism to reveal who is meeting and exceeding their quotas, how much it is costing to get there and much more.   It is possible that the top salesperson also works with the smallest profit margin, and if their process were replicated the profit margin of the entire team would suffer. In this scenario, there could be a sales representative whose process used significantly fewer resources but was overlooked in reports that didn’t give a full and detailed picture.   One side of accountability is ensuring that each employee is pulling their weight and meeting their goals. The other side of accountability is making sure successful strategies and processes are being replicated, while underperforming ones are left behind.   Without accurate numbers, neither aspect of accountability can be held.  

Ongoing Salesforce Training, Continuous Improvement

  salesforce training and reports   Continuing with the analogy of a Salesforce report being a map, every new piece of data entered into the system and every updated algorithm gives more detail to the terrain, draws symbols to scale, and altogether makes the image sharper and the directions more clear.   If you want to experience the full benefits of your Salesforce CRM purchase, you must use all of the available features relevant to your company or else settle for a blurry map.   This happens to be an ongoing challenge for large and growing companies that experience continuous change. It may be an influx of new hires, a restructuring of the department, changes in leadership, a shift in company direction, or even shifts in the market itself, all of this means that the relationship employees and executives have with Salesforce will need to adapt over time to account for new factors and disregard irrelevant practices.   On top of the changes that occur inside a company, Salesforce also changes with the release of updates and new features three times a year. The benefit of these updates is that each one is intended to make the process more convenient and the data more valuable. The downside is that this requires a lot of maintenance to keep up.   Prioritizing Salesforce training goes far beyond making it the first step for onboarding a new hire. To keep up with changing business conditions and improving versions of Salesforce, training must be ongoing. Should a company neglect ongoing training, the efficiency of the end user will diminish and the reports will become less accurate.  

Balancing Training and Selling

  So what’s the catch? Most training methods take time away from the true function of the job, selling. Reading manuals, mimicking processes, viewing training videos – none of these directly result in more revenue for the company.  

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  With Salesforce especially, there is a significant amount of possible training to go through. The free end user training available on Trailhead includes content that is expected to take just under 49 hours to consume. There’s even more training available if you’re willing to pay for it and yet more available in the ecosystem of Salesforce services that exist outside of the company itself. And to really see the scope of the training time burden, consider it on top of learning about the products being sold and the strategies to do so.  

The Salesforce Training Solution

  If your dilemma appears to be too much training and you are not optimizing for sales, or not enough training and you aren’t able to optimize, then you haven’t yet found the right Salesforce training solution.   Consider integrating a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP).   Where traditional training methods pull users away from their work to learn, DAP’s like WalkMe add contextual guidance to your existing Salesforce for employees to receive instructions as they need while they work.  

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  In addition to the benefit of staying on the sales floor, learning in this way has been shown to increase retention and reduce errors. Time isn’t wasted reviewing a manual or re-watching a tutorial; instead, the DAP is able to identify when the user needs information and deliver it in real time.   Investing in innovative training is just one way to sidestep the expense of taking sales representatives away from revenue generating activities. Companies no longer need to decide between neglecting training, which results in less than optimal reporting, or neglecting selling for the time it takes to train.  

Better Salesforce Training Improves Your Bottom Line

  The importance of training goes a step further than improving workflow or better documenting and actually benefits the business’s bottom line. Training is the grassroots way of making the entire system optimized for better performance.  
  WalkMe pioneered the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) for organizations to utilize the full potential of their digital assets. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, WalkMe adds a dynamic user interface layer to raise the digital literacy of all users.  

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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.