Five Tips for Effective Salesforce® User Training

Tip # 1 Train in Small Doses

Quality over Quantity

  • Individual attention spans have declined dramatically.Recent studies have suggested that humans have about an 8 second attention span.

  • Therefore, keeping your content short and to the point is critical.Present only the exact tasks and features you need to train on and eliminate any additional filler.

Other People’s Courses are of Minimal Effect

  • Each company uses Salesforce differently; if you direct your users to templated training courses or online videos that contain content that is not relevant, your users will become disengaged and confused.

  • Note the specific objects your organization uses (Cases, Opportunities, etc. and train to those objects as you use them.Furthermore, separate groups should be trained separately; users who use Opportunities only do not need to learn about Cases, etc.

Don’t Assume Users Know Anything

  • In some companies, the functionality of Salesforce can be overwhelming to a new user.

  • Don’t overestimate your user’s technical competency. Therefore, your plan should be organized into ‘basic’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘advanced’ user level skills.

  • Learning how to run a report would fall into basic training; customizing and exporting would be an intermediate user level skill and more complex reporting such as joined reports or creating dashboards would be an advanced level skill.

Mobile Device Training

  • Accessing Salesforce via a Mobile device today is critical. Be sure to train users how to use the mobile applications if they plan to use Salesforce on their phones or tablets.

  • Don’t over-estimate their mobile device competencies; many new users get tripped up just attempting to install and set up the mobile interface.

Tip # 2 Create Online Courses

Webinars Have Limited Effect

  • Many companies host live web session conference calls to train new users.These can have mixed results.The web sessions are typically ‘one-way’ to the user; the trainer may not be able to assess whether the training is effective.

  • And web training calls can involve dozens of participants; there are background noises, login issues and an overall inability to determine if the user is even on the system during the training.

  • True attendance tracking is not possible with web conference calls;users may dial in, put their phone on mute, and ignore the training completely.

Online Courses are Easy to Create

  • There are several low-cost hosted LMS (Learning Management Systems) available which can host narrated presentations and other authoring tools.

  • Creating a series of online courses which contain small, learnable concepts such as ‘How to Create an Opportunity’ or ‘How to Customize Reports’ allow the user to view the courses at their convenience as well as to review the courses again later.

  • The LMS system will also provide detailed tracking of who viewed the course and whether they viewed the entire course or just part of it.

Tip # 3 Use Understandable Terminology

Explain in Detail

  • If you have been working with Salesforce for an extended period, you likely use Salesforce terminology and acronyms which can be lost on new users.

  • Confusion is common around the discussion of an ‘Account’ record.

  • To most people, an ‘Account’ means a customer.

  • In Salesforce, an account means a ‘Record’ and an ‘Account’ can be a non-customer as well.This can confuse new users.

  • Be careful how you use Salesforce jargon.Discussing ‘permission sets’ or even ‘value lists’ may not mean anything to a new user.In addition, new user training is often occurring when the employee is also new to the company- and the company has its own business jargon or acronyms.

  • Consider providing a cheat sheet on terminology for the user on both Salesforce terminology and company acronyms.

Tip # 4 Use a Variety of Trainers

Use Peers for Training

  • Using an individual’s peer for training is often more effective than using a formal trainer.

  • The peer can understand specifically what the new user will need use, and focus them on these features.

  • Peers also provide more credibility to new users.

Develop Power Users

  • There are typically individuals inside the company with a high level of technical competence.

  • These users will embrace the functionality as well as provide new ideas for feature improvements and helpful Apps to consider.

  • Formally identifying these ‘Salesforce Power Users’ and harnessing their excitement about - and familiarity with - the system can provide a team of potential training experts who are close to the new users who need training.

Tip # 5 Set an Example

Do as I Do

  • Showing new users how you use Salesforce effectively sets the best example.(This is why peer training can is effective).

Seek Out Alternative Reporting Tools to Eliminate

  • New users such as salespeople may encounter a manager who demands spreadsheet-based reports regularly.Frequently the data required to fill out these reports will come from Salesforce.

  • Phasing out these alternative reporting methods is critical; users who request them undermine the use of Salesforce and should be instructed on how to create the report they need inside the system for themselves.

Run User Login Reports

  • Some users will login daily, others sporadically.Identifying those users who have not logged in will help direct you to those in need of training.

  • Sending out weekly login reports will also alert managers if those on their team are not using or updating the system.And of course, the users not logging in will see how their lack of use compares with their peers and others in the organization.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect those of, Inc. or related vendors. Examples cited in this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world situations as they are based only on limited and dated open source information. Salesforce & are trademarks of Inc.

© 2017 Edgemont CRM, LLC. All Rights Reserved - May 2017

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