There are countless technologies that have been developed to accelerate the sales process and increase revenue for sales organizations. These technologies aim to improve sales effectiveness and efficiency by automating manual processes, digitizing and organizing sales content, finding the best prospects to target, and more. With so many solutions available, sales organizations have been leaving room in their budgets to purchase new technology for their sales reps, but often struggle to achieve satisfactory adoption rates post-purchase.
A study by IDG found that the majority of sales organizations that implement new technology solutions spend $500-$1,000 per sales rep. Despite this heavy spend per rep, only 55% of organizations have reported at least moderate adoption. The top three causes for low adoption indicated were:
- Lack of management buy-in/enforcement of use
- Lack of integration with other systems,
- Lack of alignment with other departments within the organization.
Sound grim? Let’s fix it! Here are our top 5 tips to increase your sales technology adoption:
1) Do Your Research
Our first tip probably seems obvious, but it’s obvious for a reason. If you’re considering purchasing a solution, before speaking to a sales rep, you should have a good sense of the following:
- The type of solution you are looking for and the specific features you’re interested in. Nowadays, softwares often have an overwhelming number of features – and they all sound great, but do you need them all, or would you only be utilizing a key few? A less robust solution is sometimes the route to go, depending on your needs. On the other hand, sometimes the full suite of capabilities can be key to success. Take stock of your priorities, and your biggest challenges, and seek to address those first before delving into bells and whistles.
- The competing solutions in the market. Competition is a beautiful thing, especially as a consumer.
- How much you have budgeted for the new technology. If the answer is none, ask yourself where you may be able to reallocating existing budget to cover the cost. If you’re looking into buying a new technology, chances are, there’s a good reason. If budget just isn’t there as of now, plan for the cost of a new solution in the next round of budget creation.
- A time frame as to when you want to purchase and rollout your new solution. Are you purchasing a software in preparation for a big event? For a new initiative? Depending on the type of technology you’re looking into, and how large your rollout would be, deployment could be months to years. Plan ahead. Nothing derails adoption more than giving the solution to your team before it’s fully tested.
- Other technologies you have deployed (if any) that the new solution needs to be able to integrate with. Some integrations are need-to-have, while some are nice-to-have. Establish your mix.
- The technologies (if any) that your sales reps are already using. Are you replacing an existing solution, or giving them a completely new type of technology? Be sure to prepare for the change management needed for both.
To assist you with your research, there are a number of online resources available that provide in-depth descriptions of the technology, comparisons to the competition, ratings, and reviews. Analyst firms like Gartner, Forrester, and IDC, review sites like TrustRadius and CrunchBase are great places to start for your research.
2) Get Everyone On-Board Early
We’re creatures of habit! Humans are naturally reluctant to change. In business, adopting a new technology can be burdensome on employees, as it usually requires training, and moving away from the old way of doing things. During the process of purchasing a new sales technology, a top-down buy-in model is key. Creating evangelists out of upper-level management will create excitement, and expressing the value of the solution to lower level management will eventually make its way down to the end users. They’re all thinking “How does this help me?” Make sure it’s crystal clear.
Gamification and incentives can also be used as a fun and engaging way to get more employees on-board and using the new technology. Award points to power-users and early adopters toward a prize, monetary incentives, or some other form of recognition for their efforts. If some employees are still not on board, penalties for nonusers can be established, but this should be a last resort.
3) Set Goals and Objectives
We all have experienced Christmas toy syndrome – you get a new toy, play with it for a few days, and then it starts collecting dust under your bed. When considering purchasing a new sales technology, focus on what it can do for your company, not just what it can do. A solution without goals attached is just a tool, fixing a problem you may not have even established yet. Establishing KPI’s pre-purchase can make the onboarding, usage, and reporting of a new solution simpler in the long run.
Here are some common KPI’s for sales technologies:
- Increasing sales rep productivity
- Increasing revenue by X%
- Receiving a measurable ROI
- Shortening the sales cycle
- Improving communication and collaboration
- Increasing the visibility throughout the sales process
4) Provide Ample Training Resources
We know that learning to use a new technology can be a sizable deterrent for sales reps - especially the tenured, seasoned reps. This is why providing easily accessible training materials such as videos, documents, and hands on training sessions can be essential to the adoption. Many vendors offer onboarding, continuous learning, office hours, and support services that make training easier to execute and reinforce. Consider training and assigning SMEs, or Subject Matter Experts, on your team for the new technology, so they can field any questions from the rest of the team.
5) Continually Evaluate Your Decision
So you’ve had your new solution for a few months. Ask yourself - is this technology meeting our expectations and helping us achieve our pre-determined goals and objectives?
If it’s not, do a little exploration into why. It typically comes down to two issues: utilization and process issues, or product issues. If you establish that the tool is missing something that’s key to your success, sticking with it for the sake of sticking with it will cause more grief in the long run. Instead, take another look at the other technologies available, judge them against your experience with your implemented solution, and check into the costs – both time and money – associated with switching. It could be worth your while if it means truly enabling your salesforce.