Salesforce Training: if Content is King, Context is the Throne

May 12, 2014 Appirio

By Aron Kale and Mike Brennan

Cornerstone for Salesforce

Choosing to implement Salesforce.com is fundamentally choosing to empower your salespeople with the best-in-class CRM technology to help them reach their potential. As many organizations already know, however, choosing to implement Salesforce is just the beginning. The fastest car on the planet isn’t worth much if you don’t know how to drive it.

Even if the software is easy to use, you still need to enable people to use it, in part, through training on sales processes and the application that supports them.   Yet as my colleague, Bill Reilly, pointed out in his 5 Sales Training Mistakes to Avoid post, organizations often don’t get the return on investment they expect.

One reason training often misses the mark is that it lacks real-time context.  What exactly do I mean by real-time context?  Picture your typical software training environment.  1 of 2 scenarios likely comes to mind:

  1. A classroom session far removed from the work that trainees really do. An instructor speaks to [or at] you for awhile, walking through how to use the new tool, where to click, when to click… until, finally, trainees are released from this “mandatory training” and allowed to return to “what really matters.”
  2. An online course that is not compelling enough to keep you from multi-tasking – i.e., doing “what really matters.”

In either scenario, there is no real-time or contextual component to the learning, little real engagement with participants, and no effective way to measure if the training hit the mark.

The best training takes a “day-in-the-life” type approach, focusing more on how the new technology aligns with the sales process and the salesperson’s day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Training has to include frequent hands-on opportunities that allow learners to practice the tasks they will actually need to execute back on the job. These hands-on opportunities should mirror actual work as closely as possible.  By adopting this more tailored and holistic approach, organizations can increase the likelihood of successfully achieving the training outcomes they desire.

Cornerstone for Salesforce (CfS) technology is emerging as a platform to develop and deliver tailored, hands-on training hosted within Salesforce itself. CfS allows for “Just-in-Time” training – training that is triggered by key actions within the system (e.g., creating an opportunity, opening a client case, etc.) and is delivered to users in context and in the moment. By doing so, CfS creates a seamless and transparent learning environment, which extends the brand experience and provides trainees with the information they need when they need it.

Training Delivered through SFDC Interface with Optional ‘Triggers’

CfS also allows sales managers and training administrators to truly measure the impact of training investments through Salesforce’s reports and dashboards. By tracking who completes what learning activities and correlating this behavior with key outcomes – such as increased sales, decreased case volumes, more customer contacts – you can carefully measure the actual impact of training and correlate that to business results.  Not to mention, this insight can then be leveraged in the screening, hiring and salesforce planning exercises to be sure you have the right profile of sales reps.

CFS-Driven Analytics Help Maximize ROI

With the combination of a day-in-the-life approach to training efforts and the power of CfS, organizations now have the ability to make the most of their training investments and ensure that users are ready to leverage the power of Salesforce from the moment they Go-Live. What has worked for you and your organization when it comes to training? Do you think this approach will work for your organization?  Drop a comment here or visit us at Cornerstone Convergence – stop by the Appirio Booth!

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