70% of Salesforce projects do not reach the expected benefits – this is primary due to user-resistance

Heard at Dreamforce conference 2018: 70% of Salesforce projects do not reach the expected benefits which is primary due to user-resistance. This properly sounds crazy, but according to Salesforce there is a natural explanation: Salesforce implementations are often driven as IT projects and not as a business development initiative, which means there is a heavy focus on the technical aspects and less on anchoring new behavior.

Salesforce suggests the following guideline for successful implementation and anchoring:

  1. Define your Salesforce success criteria and communicate them over and over again to your organisation. Furthermore, build Dashboards that are aligned with those criteria.

  2. Conduct an online and anonymous survey that measures the understanding about and motivation for Salesforce in you organisation – adjust following initiatives according to the findings.

  3. Communicate to the whole organisation – preferably too much and early on rather than too little and late in the change journey. Keep in mind, communication must be tailored your different stakeholders-groups.

  4. WIIFM (What’s in it for me?): be clear and concrete about the user-benefits AND be prepared to handle resistance.

  5. Have an actively engaged executive sponsor involved. One who has the ability and mandate to lead. Make sure all the middle managers are role-models, because if not a ”if-my-boss-doesn’t-do-it-why-should-I” effect starts to spread.

  6. Use data from Salesforce Dashboard from day one to drive the new business processes and behavior.

  7. Training with a focus on why, what and how. All too often it is found that the focus is primarily on how. Include your organisation’s code of conduct in the training and utilise Sandbox.

  8. Design an effective training format. This can vary depending on your organisation, employees and norms/culture. Train-the-trainer is the most cost-effective in combination with drop-in training.

  9. Have a feedback channel ready from day one, and make sure the insights accumulated here get translated into reinforcing initiatives.

  10. Reinforcement – make a plan for how to retain users and introduce new features.

At Dreamforce it is repeatedly emphasized that change management must be in integrated part of Salesforce implementations. Despite being a resource demanding discipline, it is promising that more and more organisations include this in their projects. 

ChangePeople work at the intersection between Salesforce and change management. We are often asked to take on the role as Change Managers and in that sense support the project manager with the above task. You are always welcome reach out to us for a casual talk about Salesforce implementations, change management and everything in between.


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