User experience makes a big difference in the value employees derive from Salesforce’s CRM platform. That's the conclusion New York City-based Bluewolf drew in its fourth annual State of Salesforce Report (registration required).

So to maximize your Salesforce investment, get your employees on board.

Bluewolf, a business consulting firm, found companies are three times more likely to attribute measurable business outcomes to Salesforce when employees believe Salesforce makes their jobs easier.

When asked how businesses can get the most out of Salesforce, Bluewolf CEO Eric Berridge told CMSWire that a lot depends on employee engagement. “Use employee feedback, research and sit with the end users to improve the employee experience. No convincing will be required if Salesforce makes it easier for employees to do their jobs,” he said.

Bluewolf's survey is timed to coincide with Dreamforce, Salesforce's annual user conference that kicks off next week. Bluewolf surveyed more than 1,500 Salesforce customers, primarily from enterprises with more than 1,000 employees. A third of companies cited an employee experience related initiative as one of their top three objectives in 2016.

Last year, Bluewolf found 70 percent of Salesforce CRM users were diverting budget from on-premises to cloud-based solutions, down slightly from about 75 percent in 2013.

Employee Adoption

Bluewolf CEO Eric Berridge
Last month, Salesforce introduced a major refresh of its flagship Sales Cloud, including a streamlined, mobile friendly user interface. But no platform is flawless, and companies should anticipate that some users are going to have problems.

“Every enterprise technology is prone to low adoption if implemented poorly or if there aren’t enough resources dedicated to ongoing innovation,” Berridge said.

“Investing in employees is an investment in a company’s bottom line. From user adoption to employee retention, we’re seeing more companies ensuring that the employee experience is just as important as customer experience in achieving business outcomes.”

Other findings from the report include:

  • 64 percent of Salesforce customers plan to increase their Salesforce budgets in the coming year
  • 11 percent plan to increase spending by more than 50 percent
  • 49 percent are invested in two or more Salesforce clouds
  • 22 percent are invested in three or more Salesforce clouds
  • 59 percent of service professionals believe it’s easier to use their company’s Salesforce instance today than it was a year ago
  • 60 percent of marketers cite poor or inconsistent data quality and lack of data access as their biggest challenge. One in five companies believe their marketing messages are extremely personalized.
  • 68 percent of companies will increase their investments in analytics in the coming year

Berridge noted that 61 percent of users want the Sales Cloud mobile experience to be easier and that employees and are two times more likely to think Salesforce makes it easier to do their jobs when they can access it from a mobile device.

“Mobility is essential,” he said. “Thankfully companies are responding: 79 percent of companies said enhancing sales reps’ ability to work on a mobile device was a priority for 2016."

The survey was taken before the release of the Lightning update, which seeks to unify the mobile and desktop experiences.

More Analytics

Analytics are the most impressive improvement in Salesforce’s CRM since last year, he said.

“What’s unprecedented about Analytics Cloud is its raw capacity and robust processing to power billions of transactions,” he said. “We’ve been waiting to see Salesforce further penetrate the BI market — and in typical fashion they are going to make a tidal wave of disruption.”

Berridge said Salesforce should extend Salesforce Lightning to every cloud’s desktop experience and keep focused on enhancing the user interface.

“Employees are the very force that enables customer success,” he added. “The more engaged employees become, the more value they can provide to customers, and the more ROI companies will see from Salesforce.”

Title image by Benjamin Child.