Six weeks from now, my life will be changing. Big time. My wife and I are expecting our first child – a little boy! We are about to experience an upheaval like no other. Millions of diaper changes, crying and screaming, little to no sleep, endless feedings…and yet, I am beyond excited! While daunting to think that this little person is going to be fully reliant on my wife and me for 100% of his needs, I know that it is only temporary. Within a matter of years, he will grow up (too quickly according to some) and be totally self-sufficient.

Sometimes, Salesforce users can be like children. Not in a derogatory way, just a “you-are-the-expert-and-I-need-your-help-like-a-parent” kind of way. Three years ago my [now previous] company implemented Salesforce and I am still changing dirty data diapers, cutting training up into bite-sized pieces to prevent asphyxiation and answering an endless supply of questions. Some days I feel like those parents who say “if I hear Mary Poppins sing about a spoonful of sugar one more time…” But I decided early on that my youngsters didn’t (and don’t) deserve a deadbeat Admin. I wanted to ensure their success (and make certain they don’t move back home after college)!

1. Create a Support Model

Your home needs to be stable and full of resources. Users are going to need help. They will have questions. A good support model should specifically outline who to contact, and how, when questions or comments arise. I wrote about this in a previous post and believe that it is a vitally important first step. If you already have a support system, fantastic! Make sure it is working. Don’t be afraid to adjustment as necessary. If you are the only support person for your organization, recruit a few folks to help out. Remember, it takes a village…!

2. Develop Great Training Material

Education is important to personal growth and building independence, which is why it is important to develop superior training material. Quality materials will make all the difference. It should be well organized, easy to digest, include lots of pictures (most kids prefer picture books) and easily accessible. Don’t forget to keep it up-to-date. Training material shouldn’t be as fragmented as the Android platform. (I’m not an Android hater. Let that be known.)

3. Don’t Assume Anything

My three year old niece is perfecting the art of potty-training. During a recent family gathering, she rushed upstairs to use the restroom and quickly returned to help set the dinner table. No one questioned whether or not she washed her hands and I watched in horror as she was handed the dinner plates. Parent’s shouldn’t be quick to assume. Anything. Often, we conclude that our users know what we are talking about when we use the words “object” or “Case Detail” or (sadly) “browser.” For your sanity (and health), don’t presume everyone knows the basics, like when to wash hands.

4. Encourage Self-Help

Four year old girls are so curious that, according to one study, they ask nearly 400 questions a day! I don’t know about you, but I don’t always have time to field and answer 400 questions when I am managing projects, engaged in strategic planning sessions and conducting training’s. You need to empower and encourage users to seek and find their own answers as a way of developing independence and self-reliance. Administrators, ball falls squarely into your court. You are vital to making user self-sufficiency a success.

Take every question or request as an opportunity to teach and enlighten. Don’t do it for them, do it with them. Teachable moments are everywhere. We need to be investing time where it counts. Take 30 minutes to teach a user how to build the report they want versus building it for them. Provide knowledge, not answers. Otherwise, you build an entitlement mentality, and entitled youths end up on Rich Kids of Instagram.

5. It’s Never Too Late to Start

Waiting to take action and create self-sufficient users can cause hosts of heartache in the future. Regardless of how long Salesforce has been around in your organization, make the decision to start. Young implementations have a leg up because standards are easily established early on. Older implementations may see aversion and push back, but rest assured these changes can be made! It will be like sending your adult child to rehab; no fun for anyone. Sometimes tough love is required to ensure success. Create a plan and stick to your guns. Be that parent who, when their child is throwing a tantrum in aisle 9 of the grocery store because you won’t buy them that candy bar, just walks away. When you cave in, your hard work has been all for not.


3 thoughts on “ 5 Keys to Creating Self-Sufficient Users ”

  1. This is great.

    We have seen an issue with end users not fully understanding everything that was implemented. Given that a lot of the project work we do is very custom per customer, we decided to build a place where we can create different knowledge bases for our different customers and their individual users. In this knowledge base we create documentation the customer can display to their end users so they can get a good understanding of what was implemented, how specific features work, the business reasoning and how it helps them with their jobs.


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