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5 Ways to Drive the Adoption of New Sales Technology
One of the primary pain points we hear from people who manage sales teams is that it’s difficult for them to get their sales teams to adopt new processes or technologies—even if the change would make their lives considerably easier.
This reaction to change is understandable. After all, if reps are consistently hitting their quota with the tools and processes they’re already using, learning something new probably feels like more work than sticking with the status quo.
However, we find that the key to flipping their perspective is to make the change desirable rather than burdensome. In other words, you have to sell the change to salespeople.
If that feels like a big ask, don’t worry—all it takes is a few simple tactics we’ve outlined below.
1. Start By Earning the Trust of Your Reps
Trust is at the heart of any change management or sales process. And since your sales reps rarely make a purchase decision on a new tool or implement a process change themselves, in order to ensure they’ll be receptive to a change, you need to ensure they trust you first.
Start by including them in the evaluation process for any new technology. Not only will doing so help you avoid purchasing tools or implementing a process they ultimately won’t use, but you’ll also earn their trust by showing them you value their input.
A great way to earn their trust is by collaborating with them to build the processes that actually help them work efficiently. For example, one study found that the average sales rep spends 80% of their day on activities other than selling. So auditing your existing processes and tech stack for ways to simplify your reps’ lives is a great place to start building trust with them.
The best way to approach this is by soliciting feedback from your team directly. How much time do your reps spend selling? Are there ways you can reduce the amount of admin work they have to do? Can you reduce the number of tools they have to use to do their jobs? Could the tool or process change you’re hoping to implement help with that?
2. Present the Benefits, Not the Features
Your sales reps don’t want another tool, process, or feature—they want to close more deals with less effort (you’d probably like them to do that too). So instead of introducing a new tool or process by explaining what it does or how it works, start with how it makes their job easier.
For example, if you introduce a prospecting tool like Atlas, explaining how it provides access to permit data reps can use to time their cold calls may not convince them it’s worth their time to learn—especially if they’re already resistant to cold calling in the first place! But if you start by explaining how it has already helped others double their first appointment win rate in just two months, they’ll probably be much more interested to learn how it could do the same for them.
Simply put, when introducing a new process or tool, find ways to present the change in terms of what’s most important to your reps.
3. Address Each Rep’s Objections Individually
Each of your reps probably has different motivations or objections for adopting a change you introduce. Addressing each individually by customizing the way you train each rep on a new tool or process will help you showcase the benefits in the most effective way possible.
For instance, let’s say you have two reps, both of whom are resistant to using a new sales intelligence tool you just purchased. If one relies on referrals and upsells to meet quota each month and the other prefers to prospect in person, you’ll have better luck if you tailor your message.
For the rep who doesn’t do any prospecting, you’d want to focus on showing them how the tool makes it easy to build a pipeline of new business. Whereas with the second rep, you’d want to focus on showing them how much faster they could prospect if they used the tool to prequalify leads and prospect through email or over the phone instead of in person.
Furthermore, approaching training on an individual basis helps earn your rep’s trust. By taking time out of your day to train each rep individually, it shows them the change is important, and their individual success is important to you as well.
4. Find and Recognize the Success of Early Adopters
Just like with your customers, some of your sales reps will adopt a process or tool change more quickly than others because the value is readily apparent to them. You can use this dynamic to motivate others to adopt the change as well.
For example, if a rep uses a new tool or process in an innovative way or sees an improvement in results because of it, communicating those things to your team shows reluctant reps proof that the change could benefit them. This helps break down some of the doubts reps might have and creates momentum.
Additionally, sharing the success of early adopters provides an opportunity for skeptical reps to learn about how the change could benefit them from a peer rather than their manager. This helps turn the adoption process into a low-pressure learning opportunity rather than a mandate from above.
5. Incorporate the Change Into Daily Operations
You can present the benefits of a new tool or process to your team all you want. But unless you show your team how important the change really is through how you act, they probably won’t believe it’s all that important. So the sooner you can make any new tool or process part of everyday operations and conversations, the faster you’ll drive adoption.
Look for ways to weave the change into everyday conversations you have with your team (e.g. recognizing successes or early adopters) and integrate it into KPI reporting. Doing so signals to your reps that this change is important to you and is, therefore, an important part of the business’s success.
Lead With a Desire To Understand
Effective change management relies heavily on understanding the person you’re trying to reach. When you lead with a desire to understand your sales reps’ motivations and objections on an individual basis, you’ll uncover the reasons they’re resistant to change and give yourself a better chance to communicate the value of a new process or tool more effectively.
Why? Because that’s how salespeople approach selling to your customers—they know that when they understand a prospect’s needs and objections, they can position your services as more desirable. Approaching the change management process this way helps you speak their language.
This is exactly why we built Atlas—to provide commercial sales reps with the information they need to understand prospects better so they can reach them at the right time and in the right way. Learn more about how Atlas could help your sales reps get the information they need to drive more new business here.
Whitney is the VP of Marketing at Convex, with more than 10 years of B2B marketing experience. She’s previously led product marketing at AppDynamics and within GE’s power business. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and an MBA from Columbia.
Originally published on October 20, 2021 Updated on August 1, 2022