Getting Teams to Actually Use New Tools

Robbie February 22, 2024
Getting Teams to Actually Use New Tools

Training is easily the most important, and most expensive- part of getting any new tool up and running. 

It used to be that when you signed a new tool- especially ones focused on larger businesses- you’d be assigned a support rep who would reach out to set up live training calls with your team. The problem was that they can be a hit or a miss- most people don’t ask questions, and an hour-long demonstration meant to help everyone turns out to actually help no-one.

The strategy shifted after COVID when async meetings became the norm, and now some of the largest SaaS vendors I’ve worked with still have a rep, but that person mostly coordinates and answers specific questions. Gone are the days of inviting the whole team to a series of live trainings, and in are pre-recorded walkthroughs on how to get new teams ramped up. 

Having a central resource is a massive gain for both sides- it lets your rep focus on questions specific to you, and it’s a place you can direct people to learn your toolage as new hires come onboard. But there’s an underlying shift here in that onboarding isn’t a hand holding game anymore-  the responsibility is largely on you, the customer, to get your people up to speed. 

Usability Matters

Apple and others have ruined us; we expect our tools to be clean, modern, and easy to use. This is especially true if your team has millennials or younger. It doesn’t matter if the app has all the bells and whistles- if it looks like it’s out of the early 2000s (looking at you, Salesforce) it subtly tells your team to expect friction as soon as they open it. First impressions are as crucial here as they are in dating. 

Most popular suites already have slick UI’s, but it’s definitely something to consider if you’re going for something industry-specific, or maybe the new tool on the block. 

Passwords = Friction

A client once had a fancy enterprise-level social suite that they were generally happy with… until the suite got hacked. The hacking itself wasn’t bad, but their response was: the tool added 2FA in the form of an email code that had to be used every time you logged in. There wasn’t an option to remember a device, so every time you wanted to post a tweet or two, you had to go log in, get your code, then go back to verify your device. Adoption of the tool tanked. 

I highly recommend clients go with platforms that don’t have seat limitations (or have ample seats) and that integrate with whatever login platform your company uses. Your IT team will be the folks to ask (and love that you’re doing so). This is typically branded as single-sign-on (SSO) login, and is set up through accounts like Office365, Google Workspace, Okta, etc. It’s huge from a security standpoint, but also makes it frictionless for folks to get in since they don’t have another password to remember. It’s a small change, but any friction avoided is a huge step in the right direction here. 

Give Use Cases, Not Overviews

Give me a run-through of all the features of a new air fryer and you have my interest; tell me how to set it to cook 5-star meals in my sleep, and you have my attention. The same applies to training- for trainings to stick, pair similar groups of people (designers, product managers, data engineers/analysts) and run through exactly how to do the top 2-3 things they’ll need to do. 

The goal here isn’t to cover every use case- they will have questions after, and that’s the point; you want them to leave the training confident about how to do at least one thing. From there they can branch out, but they need that foundation first. 

Show the Carrot

You’re busy, your team’s busy- we’re all swamped and feel like we don’t have enough time in the day. When a new thing- be it a tool, best practice, or way of doing things- is introduced and doesn’t have the “what’s in it for me”, it gets bundled in with every other thing people have to do. 

But, if you start with “this will automate this tedious thing you’ve been doing manually,” now you’re getting moved up. 

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