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Salesforce Adoption: Guide and Potential Problems

Salesforce adoption

Salesforce is considered a useful investment for business owners who seek to grow their companies. In case of successful Salesforce adoption, it is a well-customized solution that helps improve the ways you sell, so your business will definitely benefit from it.

However, adopting Salesforce can be a real challenge since there are a number of obstacles that companies come across most often. These can include the failure of users to enter data correctly, the lack of willingness among users to enter any data at all and poor adoption of user Salesforce in general.

To ensure your company will not face these or other troubles with Salesforce adoption, you should consider the potential problems that may occur and the approaches to tackle them. Knowing these will help you make Salesforce integration trouble-free.

Strategies for Salesforce Adoption

Of course, system integration will not be an easy task for both the management department and the team. The reason is that you need to prepare your subordinates for the changes they will go through in their usual work routines, which will see some resistance.

However, there are several Salesforce adoption tips you can follow to make the implementation of Salesforce a bit less of a challenge for your team.

1. Provide End-User Training

It is obvious that your employees will not be able to work with data if they are not familiar with how it actually needs to be done. So, starting with a tutorial is the best way to ensure you prevent delays in the workflow or errors with data in the future. Interestingly, there are even books dedicated to how Salesforce is to be used, which makes it reasonable to consider training implementation. The good news is that you don't have to prepare any tutorials, as they are readily available.

Besides providing a thorough explanation of how the subordinates must use Salesforce, you should also explain why you want them to do so in the first place. Putting it differently, mention such benefits of Salesforce user adoption as an easier number forecast and estimation, along with simpler monitoring. In such a way, the team will understand why they should cope with the challenges caused by a Salesforce user adoption plan and are likely to become more eager to learn how to use it.

2. Achieve more with AppExchange

As a marketplace for a ton of useful addons, AppExchange provides you with the possibility to customize Salesforce, adding features that are missing in the default functional. Additionally, it is a great opportunity to introduce integration from the software your employees are familiar with before switching to Salesforce if you plan to keep it. Among the offered apps, there are great solutions for Project management in your team, HR and recruitment processes, Customer service apps and much more. Apart from the paid options, there are also plenty of free apps you can test with your Salesforce.

3. Gain Stakeholder Engagement and Support

Regardless of whether you introduce Salesforce as part of reorganizing the whole company or a specific business unit, it will result in workflow changes for all team members who will be using this system on a daily basis. Not all the changes are easily accepted, which is why it is of the utmost importance to properly communicate these changes to your employees. If the reasons behind such a decision are properly shared, highlighting the benefits at the company level will bring more transparency to the communication inside the company and makes the process of getting used to the new changes less painful. Having the top management engaged in the communication can facilitate this process, as it instills workers’ trust in their leaders.

To ensure Salesforce user adoption plan implementation goes well, do not limit your interaction to subordinates. Instead, involve senior management as well to gain more control over the workflow and make things clear. Discuss your plans with the management department and share your view on the importance of Salesforce integration along with ways to make it successful. You'll get the support you need and the resources you may be lacking.

For example, you may need to hire a Salesforce admin. Additionally, the approach to using Salesforce will become general across the company, and hence, your subordinates won't have much choice besides learning how to use the system.

4. Turn Chatter into Resource Centers

Salesforce Chatter allows creating a general yet separate social network where all Salesforce users can communicate. The chat makes it easier to manage the workflow and guide Salesforce adoption. In case there is an issue, users can use the chat to find a solution to their problem within several minutes.

In addition to making the content, your employees exchange information and education, keeping them engaged with the use of Chatter as well. They will want to be active in chats more often if there's something entertaining for them. Eventually, using the Salesforce system for communication will help employees get used to interacting with it and learn how it operates faster.

5. Create a Demand

Create a vision where using Salesforce is compulsory to make sure employees perform their duties well. Here is how you can achieve it simply:

  • Make Salesforce a part of the business workflow, meaning users will not be able to close a deal or initiate a transaction without doing it in their Salesforce account. Introducing these measures for daily tasks will help your employees to get used to it quickly.
  • Eliminate the number of systems that perform the same function. In order to avoid confusion, leave only Salesforce functional, and show your employees how it can be used and what other benefits it has compared to the old tools.

6. Adjust and Customize

Salesforce is not only great because of its built-in features; you can enjoy the enhanced performance by modifications and adjusting the functionality, which is peculiar for your company. You can change the default records, modify page layouts, create new dashboards and even customize the interface to reflect all the information which may be helpful in everyday work. Making CRM convenient to use will definitely contribute to user adoption.

Salesforce is pretty flexible in how you decide to use it, which lets you make it as convenient as possible. However, it can appear confusing if you are not familiar with the system well enough.

7. Provide Value That Helps Them

There is a common misbelief that only top management needs to use analytics. Allowing your end-users to have access to the reports will be also beneficial for other employees in your company. Help your team members save time by teaching them how to use the existing dashboards and create new reports. Decide what information is required for effective daily work and find out how it can be integrated into your Salesforce accounts. Reducing the manual work by adding automatic reminders about certain actions will help your team stay productive and achieve common goals, which is also an effective method of team building.

8. Prioritize Clean Data

Since your entire business runs on data, it is crucial to ensure you keep it in the right order, shape and form. Most likely, your pursuit of a proper look of your data is what has led you to start Salesforce adoption in the first place. You can now manage your dashboards, reports and other types of information channels more carefully and share them with employees easily.

But you need to monitor the entries to prevent any issues caused by not-so-clean data. For example, your sales rep can make mistakes by creating duplicate entries, which end up changing all the calculations and, therefore, the view of the workload. In the long-run, you risk failing to keep up with the predictions if you don't set a priority to clean the data.

9. Hire a Salesforce Admin:

Unless your team is already staffed with the Salesforce experts, you will definitely need to introduce a Salesforce Admin to it. It applies to companies of any size. Taking this step will help you save a significant amount of time and resources spent on learning how to work with Salesforce. During your regular work, this person will be able to support you and facilitate the adoption by helping to install some applications, sharing some tips and tricks on the most optimal usage and answering questions you or your team members may have regarding different functions.

10. Gamification

After your employees learn how to use Salesforce, their interest in working with the system is likely to drop. Therefore, you have to keep them engaged in some other way. A fancy idea is to turn the use of Salesforce for sales pipeline into a game: set weekly or monthly goals for the subordinates, monitor whether they achieve them and reward those who manage to do so.

In such a way, you create a mindset that working with the system you're adopting can bring more benefits for each employee in particular. That's how you can maintain their levels of motivation and make Salesforce user adoption smoother.

11. Empower Enthusiasts

The team identified prospective users who were enthusiastic about the Salesforce initiative. Twenty-five of them, representing each affected department, formed the “Champions” group which served as a communication conduit to and from the frontlines, relaying messages, sharing success stories and reporting back questions or issues.

12.Track Adoption Rates and Motivate Personnel

A good thing to mention about Salesforce is that its dashboard, which you can access on Appexchange, allows you to track user adoption metrics as well as share this information with the entire team. With a variety of tools, you gain an opportunity to change the data into a leaderboard.

Then, employees who are rare users will be located at the bottom of the board. This would set an incentive and signal for their need to improve. As a result, the entire team can see who is losing a so-called competition, which would motivate the latter to put effort into their performance. At the same time, recognize the heroes that manage to show excellent performance and can serve as a good example for others, in addition to sharing their Salesforce knowledge.

However, the success of this approach depends on the culture of your team since the goal is not to make the members of your team feel ashamed but encourage them to move forward. Still, if you believe your team is suitable for this approach, be sure to apply it over the course of Salesforce adoption.

It is also important to receive timely and relevant feedback and usage reports to see how users interact with Salesforce on a regular basis. Acting on the info received, you will be able to see what changes are necessary in order to increase usage. You will be able to see who needs to be more encouraged, and whether there are some drawbacks or information inconsistency in training delivery. In addition, it will allow you to make amendments in future communications and see what features will be useful for your employees.

Potential Problems With Salesforce Adoption

Similarly to any CRM adoption, implementing Salesforce is going to provoke some types of issues at some point. To find solutions quickly, you should be familiar with what issues can occur before they do so you can either prevent them entirely or prepare for them. In such a way, you'll manage to minimize the losses over the course of Salesforce adoption and avoid having any delays.

Here is the list of the most common problems you can face when implementing Salesforce.

1. Data Corruption During the Migration Process

Sometimes, after the migration, you spot that the old data clutters the new interface or old information is not relevant anymore. This may decrease the Salesforce usage rates. Thus, you need to develop a plan for how to keep the data clean and comprehensive after the transfer to Salesforce. In this case, data management software may come in handy. Take a look at RingLead or DupeCatcher for these purposes.

Also, there exists Salesforce Labs’ Data Quality Analysis DasSalesforce Dashboards Package, which will be helpful when it is necessary to confirm the correctness and integrity of your records. This free application can be used to check all the data or separate fields you specify as important ones.

2. Low Login Rates

A low login rate can be a common problem in companies and is definitely a concern to take care of. In fact, it is also a sign of a poor and often irregular use of the system, which can falsely predict low user adoption rate in the future.

Low login rates do not necessarily signify the failure of the Salesforce user adoption plan but may mean your team members still choose to refer to previously used systems and you need to think over the reasons and ways to receive higher engagement rates by making the work in Salesforce easy and convenient for your workers.

3. Lacking Support From Top Management and Stakeholders

Leading by example is applicable in all the management spheres, and Salesforce user adoption issues are not an exception here. Once a company decides to introduce a new working tool or other regulations, it is extremely important that the employees see the top management support the new changes and actively help with onboarding. A good point here would utilize the incentives received from Salesforce usage during the important meetings and encourage their team members to use it by setting the requirements to provide the reports generated in Salesforce and during the meeting to illustrate the Salesforce dashboards so all the other employees see its value in everyday work. It means the Salesforce training should be conducted not only for the lower and middle management but in the first turn for the executives as they define the company culture and encourage all other employees to adopt their behavior.

4. Resistance to Changes

In addition to the new selling tools, sales reps will have to say goodbye to traditional tools and spreadsheets with Salesforce adoption, at least at first. That's why they would not be happy to transition to Salesforce while they will be required to change how they do their job daily with no exceptions.

5. Time and Effort Spent on Data Entry

Once you start the integration of Salesforce, beginning from scratch or replacing another business platform, it may seem like a challenging task, especially if there are no automatic ways to conduct data migration. In this case, your team members have to invest their time and physical resources into this monotonous work doing it manually rather than participating in some more creative tasks such as marketing campaign management or focusing on their primary work duties. It seems to be a waste of time and people’s resources, but a justification for this work can be found and later turned into a powerful motivation: entering this data now will save you time for the investigation and inventing of new solutions in the future. However, you must first make sure all possible solutions for migrating data are tried, as it may appear there is a workaround to import this data.

6. Issues with Data Entrance 

Low user adoption can also be manifested through irregular data inputs in Salesforce. That's how sales managers start to fail with tracking progress properly. Deals are to be updated according to the changes in their statuses, as well as the same needs to be done with customers' contact data. The reason is that any lack of regular updates in Salesforce can bring about client losses. Some of the causes include the inability to contact a client because his or her contact information has changed without the entry being updated, or any call or meeting missed because the discussed time was not put into the system.

7. Misleading Data Entries

Another way of how a Salesforce user adoption plan can be ineffective is when sales reps don't enter the entire piece of data or enter some parts of it inaccurately. Most often, this can happen with fields that are not mandatory or do not require any specific explanation. Obviously, such cases lead to a confusing miscommunication within the team and cause a drastic effect on the workflow and progress.


Implementing a new system is not going to be easy. People get used to things, and changes aren’t always welcome. However, it's really about how you present the innovation and what benefits you introduce.

With Salesforce adoption, you have to put a lot of effort into the process. Take into consideration all the problems you may come across when adopting the new system, some of which are mentioned above, and select strategies you will take to minimize the impact of these problems.

Eventually, your managerial efforts will do the job and help your team learn how to create an adoption dashboard in Salesforce and get used to using Salesforce in order to generate meaningful results.

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Written by

Dmitriy Ogol

Experience in various CRM systems as Zoho, SugarCRM, Hubspot and Pipedrive helped to reach the right expertise level in the CRM systems, which, consequently, lead to significant Salesforce potential. So now, Dmitriy helps to create various solutions on the Salesforce platform.
Starting from 2008, Dmitriy helps in the development of CRM solutions for such industries as Real Estate, Marketing, Insurance and Healthcare.

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    Comments (7)

    • David Walsh

      How to start? Take advantage of Salesforce and put everything your team needs in one place and simplify access. Think about the information you need daily and determine if it added to Salesforce.

    • Susan Alley

      We used gamification, and yes; it works! We created a table of top users to see who logged in the most in the last month. The goal is to keep the number of uninterested and “lazy” users to a minimum. This will simplify your work.

    • Peter Foster

      Too many implementations, to begin with, is a set to fail. Every improvement must be justified.

      • John Bailey

        I will add one thing to the previous comment. If something doesn’t work, just fix it. Take for granted the developing nature of the platform.

    • Virginia Mathis

      Initially, we’ve used the tool as an internal social network, then we implemented a reporting
      platform, followed by chat and mail, phone, and social networks. Gradually, everything in the
      sales department unified, and it led to savings in licenses for other apps.

    • Francisco Santos

      I’ve been using, recommending, and implementing for my sales teams at several digital and advertising organizations for ten years. I can affirm unequivocally that
      CRM software has gone from being an add-on to a must-buy business tool.

    • Brian Nutt

      It was difficult for my company to get to grips with Salesforce because there were too many advanced features included initially. But when they began to apply their skills in real-life conditions, things started to go well.


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