How Admins Can Become Better Trainers

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As Salesforce Administrators and even Consultants, we create innovative solutions to solve our organisation’s business problems. We know that the solution will save time and increase productivity within the business, but even the best-made solutions can fall flat if users aren’t adopting the platform. 

Training is an important part of increasing user adoption and ensuring the success of your projects. It’s your opportunity to show your users how this solution you created for them will save them time and make their lives easier. Often that is easier said than done, with many of us Admins or Consultants being thrown into training delivery when we’ve never done it before! That is why we are going to look at some techniques that will raise your training game a notch higher. 

Use Instructional Design to Up Your Game

Learning how to use Salesforce is like learning a new language or a new subject matter in school. This is why gaining at least a basic familiarity with some tried-and-true methods of instructional design will help you improve your training skills.

  • The ADDIE method is one of the most popular methodologies. It stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. Sounds similar to the Salesforce life-cycle? It’s the same cyclical approach to gauge your audience and their learning gaps before moving on to designing, developing and delivering your training. As with any good Salesforce project, the evaluation phase allows you to understand what did and didn’t work – and make it better next time. 
  • Backwards design is much like reverse engineering. It’s starting with the end goal and working backwards. Ask yourself what you would like your users to be able to do by the end of your training, then give them the tools and information that they will need to be able to perform the tasks.

Be Inclusive of Different Learning Styles

We have a natural tendency to create training according to the way we learn best. However, did you know that there are four different learning styles? This is called the VARK model and learners will fall into one or more categories.

  • Visual learners like to see information in order to be able to retain it. To grab the attention of your visual learners, make sure to include plenty of aesthetically-pleasing graphs, charts, infographics and screenshots. 
  • Auditory learners learn by hearing. They will respond well to materials like webinars, recordings and podcasts. Try including a few links to some Trailhead Live sessions and open the floor for discussion to engage this learning style. 
  • Read/Write learners best learn through words – often found scribbling away on their notepads during your training sessions. They’ll greatly appreciate well-written documentation or white papers. Gain some brownie points with this learning style by creating an awesome, module-filled trailmix on Trailhead.
  • Kinaesthetic learners learn by doing. Spin up a sandbox to walk through some exercises, based on use cases found in their day-to-day lives to win over this learning style. Then add some hands-on projects to your Trailhead trailmixes to get your kinesthetic learners engaged. They’ll be Rangers before you know it!

To best create inclusive training materials for your users, do a sense-check of any training materials that you have prepared to make sure you tick the box for each type of learner. Including a little something for everybody will give your training an edge!

Practical Training Techniques to Get You Started

Theory is one thing – putting it into practice is another. Here are some practical training techniques that you can put to use in your organisations or with your clients. Each organisation/client will be different. You may find that one technique that worked really well with one audience just didn’t succeed with another. Try out a few different ones and see what works for you!

  • Gamification: Make learning fun! There’s no better way to engage your learners than by turning it into a game. Incorporate leaderboards, points systems or badges/awards to inspire your learners and get them to show their competitive sides. Better yet – get them on Trailhead!
  • Role Play: Write out use cases and scenarios so that your learners can play through a ‘real-life’ scenario. Do you have an audience of sales team end users? Split them into groups and have one person be the customer and the other run through a typical sales call using Salesforce. 
  • Case Studies: Help your users to envision how Salesforce works, by providing them with a set of case studies around how other companies, teams or individuals have successfully used their solutions. 
  • Lunch & Learns: Create informal settings to deliver your training sessions. You can grab pizza or coffee and doughnuts, get everybody settled into a conference room (or Zoom room) to share knowledge in small, bite-sized chunks.
  • Community Events: We all know how great the Trailblazer Community is – so why not show that side of Salesforce to your users? There are many local and virtual user groups focused on the end-user experience. Check to see if there are any upcoming sessions in your area.

Summary

Once you’ve started to develop a trainer’s mindset, you may find yourself noticing what makes great training stand out. That’s good! There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. With so many outstanding resources from both Trailhead/Salesforce and the wider Trailblazer community, you can start with existing materials and build onto them. Work smarter, not harder!

You don’t need to become a master in instructional design as a Salesforce Administrator or Consultant. But, by keeping some of the methodologies and learning styles in mind when approaching your training delivery, you will increase your adoption, improve your project success rate and become an even better Salesforce professional.

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