There is so much opportunity when implementing new technology in your sales organization. New sales technology can increase productivity, accelerate deals, and boost revenue. But getting sales reps to use new technology can be a real challenge.
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 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!
Executive sponsorship (and active engagement) is key.
There’s always a high-level leader involved in purchase and implementation. Maybe it’s your VP of Sales, CMO, CRO or your CSO. It’s important that the executive sponsor wields their influence to provide their leadership and voice to the value of using the new technology.
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.
Visible support and leadership by example goes a long way. If it makes sense, key leaders should be the early adopters of new technology. Their voice and actions can prove to be very powerful. Without executive sponsorship, software rollouts often fail because sales professionals do not understand the value and feel like adoption is optional.
Explain the why.
Persuading your team to adopt new technology requires helping them understand the value to their work. You must be able to demonstrate how the new platform will provide benefits for the organization and for the individual sales reps.
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.
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. And make sure you include Tip #2 in the training by re-enforcing the value.
As you deliver 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.
Find your early adopters, and let them be your champions.
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. The excitement of your early adopters is key to driving the momentum across the team. People are absolutely influencers by their peers.
Start small, learn and then scale.
When you start small, you uncover challenges early on. You can learn from these challenges, and incorporate changes to your approach as you plan for a broader rollout. This 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 employees, which brings us to the next point…
Celebrate and communicate early success stories.
Once your employees are using the technology, call attention to the positive impact that the software is having. Publicizing success stories encourages other reps to adopt the software. Stories are a powerful way to demonstrate the value of new technology.
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.
Integrate the new technology into your communications and processes.
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. Make sure the tool is part of your Sales Playbook. If possible, start communicating weekly performance metrics related to the new technology. This indicates that adoption isn’t optional but part of how your team sells.
On Your Way to Success
These seven guiding principles will set you on the track to adoption and a successful rollout of sales software. Adoption is absolutely key, it is what will drive the value from any new technology. Best of luck!