New sales technology can increase productivity, accelerate deals, and boost revenue. But rolling out a new platform can be tricky.
If you're a sales leader trying to implement a global software platform, it can be difficult to secure adoption. But think about it from a sales rep's perspective. If someone told you to adjust your process and use a ramshackle sales technology stack, you might balk at the idea of adding yet another tool to your sales routine.
So, what's a sales leader supposed to do? How do you get your team to embrace new tech? This post shares some tried and true tips for software rollouts to sales teams. Good luck!
Tip #1: Have an Executive Sponsor Mandate
There's always a high-level leader for purchase and implementation. Maybe it's your VP of Sales or your CMO or your CRO or your CSO. While this individual may not close deals by using the sales software, it's important that the executive sponsor wield their influence responsibly.
This person needs to set the stage for the team by explaining benefits and setting clear goals. The expectations should be communicated not just to the sales teams, but to adjacent teams like marketing, sales enablement, or customer success. This ensures that everyone is working in unison towards the same goal.
A mandate from on high goes a long way. Without executive sponsorship, software rollouts often fail because sales professionals feel like adoption is optional.
Tip #2: Explain the Why
Persuading your team to adopt new technology requires a business case. You must be able to demonstrate how the new platform will provide benefits for the organization and for the individual.
That last part is key. Sales professionals don't want to adopt technology "just because." They want to know what's in it for them. Will the new tech enable sales reps to meet their quotas, which, in turn, means they will make more money? Or will it make them more productive, resulting in a reduced workload over the weekend?
If you talk to your employees about the "why," you'll often see a light bulb go off. They understand the pain points of their jobs, and promising to alleviate that pain is a great motivator for change.
Tip #3: Customize Training
Familiarity with and interest in new technology will vary widely. Take social selling software as an example. Your sellers will have different familiarity with social networks. Some might not have a LinkedIn account. Others might use Snapchat all day with their friends but do not understand how to use social media for business purposes. You'll need to tailor your training for different levels of experience.
In addition, don't forget about the mode of delivery. Your team members will have different learning styles. Some may enjoy an online training session, while others might want the support of a personal coach. Make sure you offer a variety of learning opportunities.
Finally, as you go about training your team, remember to contextualize the new product. Don't just say, "Look at this neat feature! See how neat it is!" Instead, explain how the feature complements existing sales processes and enables reps to achieve their goals. For example, a listening feature in your social selling platform could help reps be more prepared for sales calls.
Tip #4: Don't Boil the Ocean
In the early stages, focus on getting a network of champions onboard. When building this group of influencers, don't limit yourself to the most technologically savvy members of the team. That's a common mistake. Instead, think about including some of your top performers – people whom your reps want to emulate and people who will be able to communicate the impact of the new technology across the organization. Many times, the excitement of champions helps to sway the opinions of the rest of the team.
What's more, when you start small, you uncover challenges early on. That makes global rollouts even easier because you've already ironed out the wrinkles and can showcase how the new platform helped a smaller subset of sellers, which brings us to the next point…
Tip #5: Highlight Quick Wins
Once your employees are using the technology, call attention to the positive impact that the software is having. Publicizing quick wins encourages other reps to adopt the software. Who doesn't want to win?
As you communicate these wins, don't focus solely on the numbers. Tell a story, and make them personal by referencing real members of your team. For example, talk about how Reina was able to leverage the new technology for prospecting, which added a million-dollar deal to her pipeline. Often times, we rely heavily on statistics and forget to humanize our digital transformation efforts.
Tip #6: Make It Routine
As the sales leader, your attitude sets the tone for adoption. So, how you talk about the new technology is important.
Your discussions have to go beyond questions like, "Do you like the new software?" Instead, you have to institutionalize the software as soon as you can. Make the new tech part of your personal routine, and tell your team about how you use it. Talk about the new platform on your sales calls so that it seems like it's just another part of the sales routine. If possible, start asking for weekly performance metrics related to the new technology. This indicates that adoption isn't optional.
On Your Way to Success
If you seek to follow these six guiding principles, it will set you on the right track to adoption and a successful rollout of sales software. In turn, you will improve your sales process, and your team can achieve success. Best of luck!
Posted by Mark Bajus