The sales world has changed. Gone are the days of the traditional salesperson making cold calls and appointments. The era of the Millennial has dawned, and if you haven’t discovered our strange ways already, we can’t help doing things a little differently!
Unsurprisingly, technology plays a huge role in that shift. In our world, our devices and the software we use affects so much of how we think and operate – most of the time we’re tech first – and we expect it in the workplace. There’s no difference in sales. Without it, we just don’t feel we can be effective at the jobs we get asked to do.
It’s not just one tool either, there are CRM systems, lead nurturing tools, sales accelerators and enablers, CRM plug-ins, tools for lead capture, prospecting, social selling, email sequencers… The list goes on.
Although we need technology, often businesses invest in these great tools and their sales teams don’t use them to their full advantage. Sometimes not even at all.
Why Don’t Sales Teams Adopt New Technology?
Is it a fear of technology? Maybe. Or is it that the perception amongst the team that current methods still work absolutely fine. I’d suggest if you make the correct software purchase and know how to navigate the technology purchase playbook in the first place, it really should make everyone’s life easier and more efficient, not harder – that’s the whole point of technology after all – it enables.
Critical to technology adoption is the sales manager – they hold the key to proper implementation within the team. Buy-in is, therefore, crucial to the success of any software purchase and roll out. Quite simply, without buy-in from the sales manager, the initiative will fail.
Success only comes when you can achieve complete adoption. A lack of understanding by people using a new system, or any failure to easily find information about the system will be the start of trouble in the future.
So, what can you do? I’ve done the hard work for you, and asked sales leaders from a range of companies who all successfully and regularly implement new, modern business technologies within their teams. Let’s take a look:
Getting Buy-in from the Sales Team Right from Day One
Getting the team involved right from the offset. If they’re part of the process to identify the problem and to then help fix that problem, then you have buy-in right from the start. Buy-in drives adoption!
Making your team part of the decision-making process right from the start is a great way to drive adoption. It empowers and engages them, and the excitement of new technology (and the opportunities it creates) can be a great catalyst for software adoption, not to mention that it will make the sales manager’s life easier!
Having rep buy-in before the changes is huge, any time it comes pure top down you’ll get way more fighting than if a couple reps were involved in the decision. I have all vendors who pitch to me also pitch to a couple of my reps to make sure that we’re on the same page.
As you can see from these comments, one clear message came through loudly – if you just spring a piece of software on someone without giving them enough time to consider the changes, the whole process will be jeopardised from the start. It’ll feel like their opinions have not been factored in, and they won’t get any time to absorb of how important you view the change of process is.
Communication with Your Team
I would say that the best adoption technique would be to highlight and communicate how adopting the technology allows agents to manage their pipeline clearly and push them quicker to closing deals, getting revenue and commission.
Starting by answering the “why” when it comes to new technology sounds like an obvious one, although, sales teams are often told to just get on with something, without being told why they have to do it. This can then lead to them responding with “so what?” (or a ruder version!) and rejection of the technology from the outset.
Training and Support for Success
In my experience, the most important thing when implementing a new technology is training and support. Since it is new, there is always push back from the team and their first experience needs to be positive. If they get frustrated, it will make the implementation experience even more difficult.
The millennial workforce might be better at picking up software quickly, but it’s unfair to expect them to run with a new tool without any guidance. Great training ensures that team members are completely up to speed and have the opportunity to ask questions. This leads to greater adoption and increased confidence when using the tool “in the wild”. Before taking on any solution, you should always discuss what training resources are available with your vendor, as well as ongoing support.
Lead by Example
For me, the most successful method for successfully integrating new technology within a sales team is quite simply to lead by example. YOU need to be the master of that technology, understand it inside/out and show your team exactly how it can and will work for them.
This quote says it all really. Leading by example not only demonstrates to your team that something is a good idea and beneficial, it shows that you’ve bought into the solution and are equipped to foster them through their own training and development. Leading by example and great training also creates other leaders or “champions” of the product, which is essential to the technology adoption lifecycle ongoing.
Sharing Results With your Team (Good and Bad)
Share the data at every stage with the team good or bad. Together, make changes based on the data and continue to measure it, always with the aim of improving that baseline.
The feedback loop is the way you can avoid being derailed. If you ask frequently enough and set out a clear timetable for reviewing of progress on the roll out of new technology, you should spot problems much earlier and be able to address concerns before they become too critical to address.
Overall, the rolling out of software is just another playbook and a set bunch of hoops to jump through. Some people in your team will always be more comfortable with change and new technology than others, and also the quality of software does vary, so making a great buying decision in the first place is really important in its own right. But if you are already at that point where you have the software ready to go, the key is to make sure you follow the steps, get buy-in early, be considerate about the mindset of your team, seek feedback frequently, and you’ll be onto a good thing.
Will Koning is the founder of SaaSLeads.io.
He has worked in some of the UK’s most successful start-ups in the UK over the last 10 years.
He is passionate about Sales and disruptive Technology. In particular, elevating the Sales development industry in the UK to new levels.
Outside of work, Will spends his time split between London and Folkestone in Kent where you’re likely to find him sampling English beers and walking his dog by the sea,
Follow him on LinkedIn Here