Focus On These 3 Things Before You Do Salesforce Training

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

So, life on the PTO (parent teacher organization) Board is getting more exciting. School begins next month, and we are planning our first events.

However, I still have a huge problem. I don't know what to do.


I wouldn't be writing about my experience as a PTO treasurer if it didn't apply to you. 

But I know it applies to you.

It applies to every business and every nonprofit, great or small.

Whether you are hiring new employees, bringing on more volunteers, or rolling out new cloud systems...


We like to bring on new assets without a clear idea of what those assets are actually going to do. And instead of making a clear path, we put up roadblocks.

For this blog post, we're just going to talk about people, and how we make jobs harder than they need to be when we aren't clear on what people are supposed to do.

As a volunteer treasurer, my job has now been made 10x more difficult because there is no clear process for what I'm supposed to do. I'm expected to invent new procedures and figure things out, even though this job has been done for over 7 years by others.

When we do this to employees and volunteers, it's like asking a bunch of friends to come help you move before you've actually packed everything into boxes. When everyone shows up to your house to load the truck, their work is slowed down because nothing is ready to go.

They were supposed to just move boxes from your house to the truck--a job that should be finished in under an hour. But now they are packing boxes, throwing away trash, and taking apart bunk beds while you are running around trying to figure out how to orchestrate the chaos.

None of the prep work was done beforehand to help your friends do what you called them over to do. Which makes your friends frustrated ("This took way too long") and it makes you frustrated ("Why is everybody just sitting around?").

So, what prep work needs to be done before you ask volunteers to be treasurers, hire new employees, or roll out Salesforce?

I'm glad you asked.

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Topics: Salesforce adoption

You Are Explaining Salesforce Wrong (Here's How To Fix It In 6 Steps)

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

Here's a typical explanation about what Salesforce is...

" is a cloud computing and social enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider based in San Francisco." (TechTarget's definition)


You might also hear something like this...

"It’s an extremely flexible and scalable CRM system that is delivered via the cloud." (Tidewater's definition)

Explain Salesforce.002.jpeg

Nothing is wrong with those descriptions if you are talking to somebody who understands the lingo and the context.

But if that's how you explain it to your coworkers, don't expect any light bulbs to turn on.

The problem with those explanations is that they are meant to make you, the person explaining Salesforce, look smart. But explanations should focus on helping them, your coworkers who are learning about Salesforce, feel smart.

When you first train employees on Salesforce and explain what it is, skip the jargon. Forget all of the "interesting" details. And leave out the TLAs (three-letter acronyms).

Instead, package your explanation using guidance from Lee Lefever's book, The Art of Explanation:

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Topics: Salesforce documentation tips, Salesforce adoption

Three Changes to Make to Your Salesforce Training Right Now

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

Ready to run a training session for your co-workers? Well, before you fire up the Webex (or GoToWebinar/Joinme/ect.), see if you need to make any of these 3 changes to your material.

If you're not sure, take advantage of our coaching service.

1) Ditch the detail

The majority of Admins I speak with are great at their Admin jobs. They love getting into the nitty gritty of Salesforce. Understanding all of the backend connections. How this object interacts with that object. How workflows work. Coming up with a clever concoction to make everyday life simpler.

The problem is, the folks being trained don't care about the details.

See, what makes an Admin so good at her job is her ability to focus on the details (many Admins are analytical and detail oriented). And what makes a Sales rep so good at his job is his ability to completely ignore the details (many reps are focused on results, no matter how they get there).

That's a bit of a joke, but it holds some truth.

When a sales rep is selling, he doesn't run through every detail of the product with the client--he usually conveys a high-level vision of what a product or service can do. He focuses on the results. That's what great selling is. And it carries over into the sales reps' world of Salesforce as well.

Most sales reps are not motivated to learn all of the details of Salesforce. They only care about what pertains to them.

That's not good or bad. It just means that you will have to modify how you deliver your training. While you are very excited about the details and the backend, your audience is not. So leave that stuff out. Only include what is absolutely necessary for your audience to do what they need to do.

Cut everything else out.

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Topics: Salesforce adoption

A Little Friction in Training is Good

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

Did you know that if you leave gasoline in a power washer too long, your power washer may not start?

Doesn't matter that the power washer is brand new. Doesn't matter that you spent over $300 on it. If gasoline is left in the tank for a few months, a chemical reaction happens inside that results in a power washer that won't start.

Want to know how I learned that? Because I now own a power washer that doesn't start.

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Topics: Salesforce adoption

Does Actually Work?

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

"Does actually work?" That is what some of your resistant users are asking themselves. They also ask questions like, "Why do I need to enter all of this information?" or "Things were working just fine - why change?"

As a Trainer and an Admin, you've been put in charge of answering these kinds of objections. The tricky part is that many of your users don't actually ask these questions out loud - most just don't sign in or update data. 

So, how can we get everybody to "dance?"

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Topics: Live Training, Salesforce adoption

"You Can Be Their Salesforce Hero..."

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

IMG_1513Technology is frustrating and intimidating, until somebody shows us the way. 

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Topics: Salesforce adoption

3 Reasons You Should Use Video in Your Salesforce Training

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

I came across a great presentation by Phil Nottingham from a conference called MozCon. Phil discussed some of the flaws behind the current strategy for using video as content, and I thought his advice was applicable to anyone who is creating content for teaching purposes - e.g. Salesforce Admins or consultants who are in charge of training.

Why do we make video?

Sometimes, we just want to create a video because video is impressive. So we approach the video creation process by saying, “I want to make a training video… what should I make it about?” 

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Topics: Salesforce documentation tips, Salesforce adoption

Why Your Friendly, Open-Door Policy Might be HURTING Your Salesforce Users

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

iStock_000028636690XSmallIt might seem like a good idea for you to always be available and stand over everybody's shoulder to point them through screens - it's fast, it's friendly, and it gets the job done. But in the long run, it might be doing more harm than good.

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Topics: Salesforce adoption

1 Question You Need to Ask Before You Hire a Salesforce Consultant

Posted by Jonathan DeVore


Just the other day, I was forwarded an email from a friend whose colleague was in quite the predicament:

We are in the process of implementing Salesforce, but before we can roll it out organization-wide, we need to document how our staff members will use the system so that everyone is on the same page and data is entered and used consistently - unfortunately the consultants we engaged to handle the install have no materials to share.

Does anyone who uses Salesforce have documentation they can share with us? 

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Topics: Salesforce documentation tips, Salesforce adoption

Where Does ScreenSteps fit in with Your Salesforce Training Plan?

Posted by Greg DeVore

iStock_000006457786XSmallRecently, at the Dreamforce 13 conference, we answered a lot of questions about where ScreenSteps fits in an organization's overall Salesforce training plan.

This was our typical response: Training your team on Salesforce is not an event - it is a process. Your training program is only successful if your team actually uses Salesforce correctly to meet your business goals.

It doesn't matter if your trainees pass a test.

It doesn't matter if they give your course a 5-star rating.

All of that is irrelevant if they don't actually use Salesforce.

Three jobs your training program needs to perform

At it's very basic level, a training program must do three things:

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Topics: Salesforce adoption