Solving Salesforce Motivation Issues

Posted by Greg DeVore

Salesforce_motivationIf you suffer from Salesforce adoption issues, you aren't alone. We talk to a lot of organizations that struggle with getting folks to actually use Salesforce.

In a previous article, I outlined 3 reasons why people might not adopt Salesforce in your organization. In this article, I am going to do a deep dive into one of them - motivation.

Why your team members aren't motivated to use Salesforce

If your team members aren't motivated to use Salesforce, then it is probably because they receive no direct benefit from using Salesforce.

Let me give you a common scenario. Many organizations implement Salesforce so they can get better information about how their marketing and sales teams are functioning. Most of the time, this is done through dashboards - a data visualization tool that provides all sorts of great information at a glance, and typically used by managers.

There's only one problem - the folks who use the dashboards aren't the same folks who enter the data that make dashboards so valuable.

The result is a manager who is very motivated to get the data and and an employee who derives no direct benefit from collecting (and entering) that data into Salesforce. Most likely they don't even view data entry as part of their job - they were hired to get sales or to collect donations. Since data entry won't help them do their job better (they don't use the dashboards for their job), the motivation to enter data is very low.

Common approaches to solving motivation issues

This problem isn't new and it isn't unique to Salesforce. Here are some common approaches organizations have taken in the past:

  • Mandate adoption
  • Penalize non-adoption
  • Reward adoption (e.g. gamification, social recognition, financial incentives)

Each of the approaches above maps to one of four sources of motivation that team members are going to respond to:

  1. Fear
  2. Social recognition
  3. Financial rewards
  4. Job satisfaction

These sources range from least effective to most effective, and you can get a pretty good idea of how effective the adoption approaches will be by determining which motivation source they are tapping into. Let's look at a few examples.

Mandate adoption

Mandates by themselves really only speak to fear. And if they don't carry any consequences, then they defintely won't do very well. So, if you plan is to just say "Everyone needs to do this because we say you need to do this," then good luck. But I don't think Salesforce adoption is going to go very well.

Penalize non-adoption

This is a little better than a mandate without any consequences, but not much. Penalizing might be something as drastic as terminating an employee, to withholding a bonus, to receiving negative reviews by a supervisor - all things that motivate out of fear.

You may get the desired action, but you won't get the desired attitude - and that can lead to problems down the line. Job satisfaction can decrease, employee turnover can increase, and you are much more likely to get bad or incomplete data in your system.

Why are you more likely to get bad data? Because when someone is motivated out of fear, they will do the least amount of work possible to remove that fear. That means you will get exactly what you ask for and nothing more.

Reward adoption

This is certainly less draconian than negative consequences, but if your "positive rewards" aren't significant enough then you may not get the adoption you want. Positive incentives could include anything from individual praise, to leader boards, to financial bonuses (social recognition and financial rewards).

Once again, you will mainly get what you incentivize, which can actually backfire on you. If you aren't careful about what you reward you may not get what you really want. For example, if you offer a bonus to the person who enters the most leads into Salesforce, you will get a bunch of leads, but the quality may drop.

The ultimate motivation: make Salesforce useful for them

In all the talk about motivation, the most effective approach is often overlooked - improve job satisfaction.

What if you actually made the folks entering the data into Salesforce (e.g. your sales reps) more successful when they use the information they are entering? People are usually pretty satisfied when they see that their actions are having a positive impact and making a difference.

For this approach to work, you need to align the interests of the managers and the sales reps. For example, let's say you want to capture 3 data points about each new contact you enter into your Salesforce CRM:

  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Location

Your managers may want this information so that they can track where your most successful leads or most profitable customers are coming from. Your sales reps would like this information so that they could target their messaging or offers based on the prospect's profile. 

So align interests by providing your inside sales reps with targeted information that they can send to a prospect based on the prospect's profile that was entered. Now they're not just filling out data fields, they are gathering information that will help them be more successful.

Motivation matters

In our blog, we talk a lot about creating great Salesforce documentation and how that can help with user adoption. But in the end, knowing what to do and how to do it isn't always enough - motivation matters.

Simply "mandating" Salesforce usage is a lazy approach that, in our experience, rarely works. Come up with a way to align interests so that your all of your users get real benefits from using Salesforce, and tap into the highest source of motivation. If you can't do that, then at least see if you can put in place some positive incentives.

How have you motivated your team members to use Salesforce? Let us know in the comments.

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