Published on 7-21-2016

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As a Salesforce Admin, you are probably aware how important ongoing training is for your end users. Training can become an even larger issue when most of the end users are remote, working across the globe. I encountered this very situation last year on a project. I was brought in as a consultant with the sole purpose of training sales reps on how this company used Salesforce to manage opportunities.

The training program that was in place consisted mainly of PowerPoint decks, covering how this company wanted reps to enter opportunities. Their opportunity management was a complex process and it was made even more complicated with the training decks. The slides were very busy, and if you were new to Salesforce, you would get frustrated with the tool very easily. Adoption never really took off, and with some reps having never logged into the tool at all! Add to this a mostly remote sales force, it was obvious the training was definitely due for an overhaul if Salesforce adoption was going to increase. 

Being a former sales rep, I could relate to the complaints I was hearing from the field reps that there was too much required to enter an opportunity into the tool, so they just basically didn’t do it. Looking at only the PowerPoints, I could see why reps were overwhelmed. I was even confused by the training decks! With that in mind, my first tip for training is KEEP IT SIMPLE. I ditched all the existing decks and created simple, uncomplicated decks, with screenshots. I basically wrote them in a way so that any person, whether a Salesforce user or not, could easily pick it up, and get started. These decks were easily accessible to all reps at any time. Being that the reps were all remote, clear, simple communication and instructions are a must.

Now, while PowerPoints are a great tool for reference, I really detest using them for training. These decks weren’t increasing adoption, and I was still getting tons of calls about simple aspects of the tool daily. This brings me to my second tip: Demo in Salesforce. ALWAYS. I decided to ditch the PowerPoint as the main training tool, and implemented an ongoing weekly webinar series, with repeating topics. The sales reps could hop on whenever a subject they wanted clarification on was being covered, and they could see me navigate the platform in real time. Often, they would click along with me. During the live demos, I often would hear a lot of “ooh, I didn’t know I could do that!” and so forth, which, as a trainer, is what you hope for! I would also use my time on the webinar to just show them general Salesforce timesavers—demonstrating the sticky collapsible section was basically a mind blower for most of the end users! The magic of some features gets lost in a PowerPoint, but not during a live demo.

Having the reps join in the webinars was also a way for me to hear what their frustrations were, and help them on the spot. Often if one rep was experiencing some confusion about how to do something, another one was as well, so it was great to help multiple people on one call. This brings me to my third tip: Keep the dialogue flowing. Engagement is probably the number one issue that arises when in-person communication is lost. You can easily counteract this by asking a lot of questions and being available to help your remote end users think through the training they are receiving, instead of just handing them a deck and sending them on their own to work it out.  Keeping an open dialogue also helps remote workers feel more a part of the team.

Training remote workers doesn’t have to be any more difficult than in person training. Follow these three tips, and you’ll have your end users feeling like Salesforce Super heroes in no time!

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About the Author:

 Amy Oplinger

Amy Oplinger is a Certified Salesforce Administrator, currently working as the Sr. Customer Success Manager for NC Squared, makers of the Lead Distribution app, Distribution Engine.