3 Tips for Decreasing Salesforce Onboarding Mistakes

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

Checklist_photo_-_croppedWhen you hire new employees (or your existing employees change roles), getting them up and running can be a headache - which is why I recommend creating a quick onboarding guide that you and your users can reference.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is bringing somebody onto your team and making sure they are set up and ready to go. It can include signing NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), filling out paperwork for taxes and insurance, and taking compliance training such as security awareness. 

It also includes getting users set up with user accounts, modifying permissions, downloading software, altering settings, and learning how to do basic workflows.

If your users are properly onboarded, life can resume in peace. Everything is set up appropriately so users can immediately begin working, and they have a knowledge of how to perform basic workflows. Here are 3 tips for making a Salesforce onboarding guide that will help you smoothly bring new folks on to Salesforce.

Tip #1 Create a checklist

When I worked at a consulting firm, we had employees bouncing around projects all the time. For each new project, there would be unique NDAs and training that needed to be completed, and specific web applications, web sites, and desktop software that needed to be accessed or downloaded.

It was in this type of environment that I learned the value of using checklists. When we got a newbie on our project, we just sent them our checklist of things that they needed to do before they could begin working on the project. 

What should the checklist have?

Everybody's checklist will differ slightly, but the main items should include:

  • Training that needs to be completed
  • Forms that need to be filled out
  • Logging in
  • Downloading additional software
  • Permissions that must be granted
  • Settings that must be checked
  • Basic explanations and example workflows

You can have a checklist of things you need to do, and a separate checklist of things your users need to do. When everything on your checklist and your users' checklist is complete, your Salesforce users should be ready to begin work without any hiccups.

Tip #2 Make instructions for the checklist

It's not really that difficult to communicate what needs to be done:

  • Create a campaign
  • Fill out a NDA
  • Log in
  • Change a setting
  • Grant a permission

The trouble comes when you try to communicate how these things need to get done. You really have 3 options when it comes to explaining checklist items:

  1. Let them guess
  2. Stand over a shoulder and point through screens
  3. Create some form of documentation that can be referenced

My recommendation is that you create documentation. To continue my example of when I worked at the consulting firm, having documentation was awesome - it was great for new team members because they could complete the majority of the tasks by themselves.

If you do have to help new team members by pointing over their shoulders, documentation will be a helpful guide for you because chances are you'll forget some of the steps, too. 

Admin instructions

Even though you're the Power User in your organization, you should still create a set of instructions for your checklist. For one, you may not be in the position of onboarding new users forever - so you need to be able to hand over the process to somebody else. For another, if it's something you do once a month, you might forget the "how," and there's no reason to waste time trying to remember how it's done.

End user instructions

Chances are, Salesforce is just one of several applications your organization uses as part of its operations. So you can't assume that people are really familiar with it - to them, it's just one of a dozen things they use to do their job. Make some clear instructions for each checklist item.

Tools for making instructions

Some checklist items are going to be pretty simple and may not require very detailed instructions. Things like, "Take awareness training" only require a link to the training course. Items such as "Fill out a NDA" might just have the name of somebody who manages NDA forms.

But if you and your users have to do any on-screen steps to get up and running, I highly recommend making some detailed instructions. They don't have to be fancy - they just have to be helpful.

There are several tools you can use to make "how to" instructions for performing on-screen processes:

If your instructions are clear, your onboarding process will be much smoother. You won't make any mistakes while running through your checklist, and brand new users can essentially be self-sufficient with hardly any contact from you.

Tip #3 - Automate what you can

There are a lot of options to automate the onboarding process. Some may be farily involved, requiring certain actions to be taken prior to being provided an account. I am aware of some systems that won't allow for user accounts to be created without certain tasks being completed first.

Others just require you to set up Salesforce user profiles so that when you assign somebody a profile, it automatically sets up permissions, page layouts that can be viewed, etc.

Use your onboarding guide

Make sure to actually use your onboarding guide. Most documentation immediately goes into the "drawer," never to be seen again - don't let that happen to your onboarding guide.

As soon as you get a new user, bring out the checklist with its instructions and just run through the routine. Make sure to keep adding to it and updating it so you have a valuable resource for you, your users, and your successors.

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Topics: Salesforce documentation tips