Implementing new sales enablement technology can be a challenge. Although you’re introducing tools that should ultimately preserve market share, increase revenue, and help your team do their jobs more efficiently, driving adoption can be tricky.
Resistance to Change
Sales reps are typically hesitant about new technology for two reasons:
- It doesn’t always benefit or add value to them
- Change management programs that help enable reps are often overlooked
Resistance can be escalated by fear of the unknown, especially for reps that have been in the industry for a long time and are comfortable with their established workflows and processes. Sales reps often suspect that they will lose independence and autonomy if management intervenes based on intel they are gathering from new tools.
Technology can also bring with it the fear of being replaced. Modernization and digital tooling often correlate with less reliance on human-driven processes. To your sales team, this threat might feel real, and it should be considered during your process for selecting, introducing, and implementing a new technology. It’s important to communicate and conquer this replacement fallacy and emphasize how technology can help them sell more and do less administrative work (rather than eliminating the importance of their role entirely).
5 Ways to Overcome Resistance
1. Crawl, walk, run. Don’t overwhelm the team by introducing every feature at once. Train sales reps on functionality that will be most beneficial to them right off the bat. After they experience a quick win it’s easier to get them to adopt the technology more holistically
2. Strong leadership support. Train managers on the new technology first. When managers are invested, adoption of the technology by their team improves.
3. Usage expectations. Define the usage expectations clearly, and identify someone to be responsible for keeping track of adoption rates. The usage goal should be aspirational, but attainable.
4. Incentives! In addition to usage expectations, provide incentives and foster friendly competition among the group. Examples of incentives could be gift cards, hours toward a day off, or free lunch.
5. Share successes. While incentives certainly help adoption rates and productivity, communicating successes at weekly or monthly team meetings can also help. Share stories and highlight reps who are exceeding adoption expectations. By providing examples of how the technology is actually benefiting team members’ day-to-day workflow, you’re giving the rest of the team the opportunity to see how the technology can benefit them, too.
By strategically introducing new technology, your sales reps will be able to see the benefits. Embracing AI-enabled technology can give them insight into customer buying habits, help them sell more and improve response time. With the support of innovative technology your sales reps can provide a more comprehensive, enjoyable experience for customers.
Jill Voege is vice president of sales at Proton.ai.