user-training
You might be surprised to learn how many companies start training their employees on salesforce.com without determining their long-term training strategy. Training is so crucial to user adoption. To increase adoption, you must be able to provide training to employees in a way that involves them intimately with your implementation strategy.

Training also helps to align employees with the changes that come with any implementation and set expectations up front. That’s why having a great training plan is crucial to the success of a Salesforce implementation. Your training strategy needs to include your business objectives, key requirements, existing pain points, current challenges and obstacles, training types, and training schedule.

For this post I’ll focus on what type of training you can consider using with your overall training program.

Prerequisite Training

Look to start training users with prerequisite training. This type of training helps to create awareness and excitement for the employee. At a minimum, this can be as simple as 5-10 minute video recordings or short brochure documents that explain the goals of a training course. Ensure that you answer the “What’s in it for me?” question for the employee.

Train-the-Trainer

The Train-the-Trainer method is what it sounds like. It’s to train other internal instructors or evangelists that will ultimately train end users from the materials that you have developed and align with the overall training strategy of the company. This method usually works well in a company culture of employees where they have authority to make and own their decisions. The content for this type of training should include reviewing the overall training strategy of the company and the content of the specific training classes.

Management Training

Unfortunately, your management team can be adoption killers if they don’t buy into the company’s overall Salesforce strategy. The goal of Management Training is to align the company’s management team with the overall Salesforce implementation objectives of the company and to train them on the Saleforce application. This is often the most overlooked type of training companies fail to include in their overall training strategy. This training should look to provide them with the necessary knowledge to hold their teams accountable.

Focus on presentations from the Salesforce executive sponsor discussing the overall Salesforce implementation objectives. Answer the question of “What’s in it for me?” from the manager perspective. Combine 15-20 minute presentation lectures with 15-20 minute hands-on interactive exercises for each manager. Also, don’t forget to discuss the company policies and procedures with regard to using Salesforce. Consider providing handouts they can take and refer to later to help them answer questions from their direct reports after training is complete.

End User Training

Companies tends to jump straight into this type of training when they start talking about training, for good reason. The goal of this type of training is to provide hands-on, interactive training that is relevant to specific job roles. Consider using virtual training when in-person training is unavailable to remote employees. Use presentations from your Salesforce executive sponsor discussing the overall Salesforce implementation objectives. Combine 15-20 minute presentation lectures with 15-20 minute hands-on interactive exercises for each employee. Again, answer the “What’s in it for me?” question for the employees. Provide handouts or cheat sheets that the employees can take and refer to later to help them answer questions when performing their jobs’ roles.

Brown Bag/Lunch & Learn Sessions

Brown Bag or Lunch & Learn training sessions are a great way to keep the training conversation going with your employees. They provide an informal setting where more broad or in-depth training topics can be covered. It can be used as an introduction for future employees or for employees not directly involved with training to learn more.

Brown Bag training session are also a great way for trainers and executive sponsors to acquire feedback which then can be incorporated back into the overall training program. The content for these types of training that we’ve seen be most successful concentrate around discussions and demos of new features, advanced training topics, or simply just Q&A. Also, consider having your power users talk about how the application has helped them to achieve their goals.

I hope this insight into different type of training activities that you and your company can use is helpful in your achieving your goals. Providing great training isn’t difficult, but it does require planning, effort, and an ongoing commitment. Tell me what type of training you have found useful for your company.

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