What Sales VPs Can Learn About Field Adoption from Salesforce.com


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There are many ways to get more from your sales force. Sales VPs constantly have ideas on new initiativesJared_Litwin to implement. When implementing new initiatives, a big risk is adoption. Will your team adopt your new initiative?

SBI’s CEO, Greg Alexander, recently conducted a webinar with Jared Litwin from Salesforce.com. Jared is the Sr. Director of Learning Strategy for SFDC. Founded in 1999, SFDC is a $3B+ industry leader. Companies with this level of growth thrive by making new initiatives work.

In his 10 years with SFDC, Jared has sold and worked in sales enablement. His background lends great insight in helping sales VPs think about field adoption.

Learn how to make your strategic initiatives stick. Listen to the webinar recording here.

SFDC Got the Field to Adopt a New Initiative webinar

Following are some of the valuable insights Jared has to offer enterprise sales leaders.

“The Problem with Analog”

Your sales force likely mirrors the 80/20 rule. The top 20% of your reps generate 80% of your revenue. In a large sales force, communicating best practices is a big challenge. When implementing something new, you want this to happen quickly to avoid failure. 

In the second minute of the webinar, Greg and Jared discuss “analog approaches.” Too often, sales leaders use things like:

  • Deal forecast calls
  • Weekly team meetings
  • Face-to-face one-on-ones

These meetings slow field adoption. They are rigid and take too long. They are appointment-based versus the speed of instant information. Greg terms these “analog approaches” leaders use to try and replicate the top 20%.

Jared reveals about how SFDC uses Chatter to eliminate “analog.”

“It Takes a Village”

As SFDC grows, their sales leaders have to solve for adoption. Deals have become harder to win. Sales cycles are getting longer. The complexity of the sale has increased.

Getting deals across the finish line takes more than 1 person. In an increasingly busy world, getting everyone together is often too difficult.

At the 4 minute mark, Greg and Jared discuss this. How SFDC gets the right people. In the right deals. At the right time. Through the use of technology, they are able to collaborate more effectively.

“Selling in a Social World”

Your sales force lives in a social world. Facebook. LinkedIn. Instagram. To drive field adoption, you need to operate like your reps do. You need to share information like a social media platform. Real time.

In minute 7, Jared breaks down how SFDC does this. He discusses how senior sales executives can quickly gain insight into active opportunities.

“Unlocking Key Information”

In minute 10, Jared covers the impact information has had on SFDC’s sales force. By being agile, information is shared real-time across the organization.

SFDC rolled out chatter 3 years ago. In minute 13, Jared mentions he’s never seen something so quickly and widely adopted. In fact, the availability of key information enabled by Chatter dropped email volume 34%.

“The Early Adopter Culture”

So, how did SFDC drive adoption with the sales force? In minute 15, Jared discusses SFDC’s early adopter culture. He provides 3 key insights into how they’ve gotten early adoption. Listen for these:

  1. Give them a reason
  2. Executive Sponsorship
  3. Use an Expert Panel to create “fast followers”

Early adoption is an indicator of a change-tolerant sales organization. Your new strategy relies on quick wins and fast followers.

“Give them the Keys”

At minute 20, Jared explains what he would do differently after this experience. For sales leaders looking to drive field adoption, he provides 2 great best practices. One of these was a pleasant surprise they didn’t see coming.

Jared provides some final advice on adoption. He recommends “giving them the keys” so your reps can stumble and learn.

The Benefits of Agile

SBI’s research has found the following benefits of agile implementations:

  • Probability of success is 2x
  • Results are generated in half the time
  • User testing (i.e. the field) determines design
  • Adoption starts immediately
  • Results-focused vs. Process-focused

SFDC drove down productivity killers and improved adoption.

Perhaps, you’re considering the rollout of a new strategic initiative. If so, Jared’s insight on driving field adoption will help you.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ryan Tognazzini
Ryan is a recognized thought leader in business-to-business sales force effectiveness. During his time at Sales Benchmark Index, he developed many of the evidence-based best practices housed in SBI's database of 11,000 companies. Ryan has more than 15 years of experience focused on increasing sales productivity through improvements in account segmentation, lead generation and sales processes.


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