How to get staff on board with new technology and processes in sales
Change is hard. And no one knows that better than change management experts and organisation leaders. Often when a new technology or process is implemented, there can be several reactions from staff: quick early adoption, apprehension and insecurity, apathy, or downright refusal.
In sales organisations - especially ones that are distributed - it can be extremely challenging to smoothly implement a new sales process or tool. But with careful preparation, a method for onboarding, and clear communication, you'll be able to get your staff up and going in no time.
In change management, preparation is necessary
The organisations who fail at implementing change are the ones who spring the changes onto their staff. Without warning, the methodologies or tools that your staff are comfortable with are suddenly changing, and that can make even the most adaptable person feel frustrated or confused. If you can ensure you have plenty of fair warning for your team and allow them time for mental preparation and understanding the new tools or processes, you'll allow for an easier transition in total.
On the management level, you should also plan out how adoption will take place. Do you start with a certain group or team? Do you roll out the new tech one office/retail location at a time? Universal rollout can cause issues when you must troubleshoot every issue that arises, rather than learning from previous experience. But it also can be difficult if different teams in your organisation are using different tools or processes - even momentarily. You must weigh the pros and cons and see what method will work best for you organisation.
Create onboarding and feedback avenues
In change management, you shouldn't expect your staff to be able to simply "figure it out" on their own. Expect to prepare and implement onboarding in the form of information sessions, training and workshops, and focus groups. Creating these avenues for support in beginning a new process or using a new tool will help answer questions that staff may have, and relieve any tensions that come from insecurity or ambiguity.
Through onboarding, you may be able to work out some of the issues that arise before the change is actually implemented. Because of this, you may be able to save a lot of time and resources by being proactive, rather than reactive to problems.
In this stage of change management, it's also important to give your staff methods for providing feedback. It's necessary to establish a way for your team to comfortably express concerns, voice when they are having trouble understanding something, or even bring to attention improvements that could be made. A manager should guide staff to using new processes and technology, but a real leader will encourage ongoing self-evaluation from staff and be open to hearing differences of opinion.
Build the basis for open communication
This leads into the third important aspect of communication. While you should create the foundation of communication while conducting onboarding, the communication should continue well into the adoption of the change. Think of it as consistent evaluation and follow-up. For any change to stick, there needs to be ongoing support, and the presence of check-ups and check-ins.
When leaders show their staff that they are there to assess how performance is going, understand the sources of problems, and do something about it, your staff will likely feel more comfortable with change. As your organisation implements more and more changes, your staff can then trust that they won't be left in the cold when it comes to taking on new processes and technology.
Implementing change is a necessary part of modern-day business where often the phrase of the day is "adapt or die." But changes don't have to be intimidating or even difficult if you exercise the correct methods for preparation, onboarding, and clear and open communication with your staff.
Want to learn more about how to encourage change in your sales organisation? Employee self-evaluation is part of the recipe. Download our employee self-evaluation checklist here: