Sales Force Automation(SFA) is not new to sales managers, sales directors and management because they understand the innumerable benefits like monitoring of field activities and accurate sales forecasting that come with implementing one.
Sales team and sales representatives though are usually very adamant when the word pops up as most believe it is a burden and it is double work to have to sell and teach themselves to use the application, all at the same time.
In fact, the two main resistance reasons happen to be
a) The idea that they are being tracked or monitored.
b) An app is too technological and complex.
So with this is mind, how can you shift their perspective and get them to openly embrace the change which in turn will ultimately result in a sales goldmine for you and your company?
When you are unwell the first thing that will signify so is you noticing change in your body. You start developing symptoms that require your attention. Same case. There are signs that are bound to show you that your sales team may not be open to the whole SFA idea.
Through a study released by Gartner written by analysts, the report breaks down three different categories on key issues likely to be experienced after introduction of SFA. Summarized as below:
- Executive Management
- Think SFA is not critical to most end users.
- Think SFA does not match the way end users work.
- Executives do not articulate a strong vision on how and why SFA should be implemented and used.
- Business Leaders do not articulate SFA’s relevance to the sales process leaving managers to figure it out on their own and pass down this information to the sales team.
- No mandate in the use of SFA.
- Managers do not emphasize and teach teams processes on how to correctly utilize SFA.
2. Program/ Project Ownership
- IT departments control SFA implementation budget and use the budgeting process to control the pace of innovation and implementation. Resulting in a slow-down.
- Business Leaders who may not want change of the sales process dull down the transformation impact creating a shadow of the system’s capabilities rendering it not impactful.
- No integration is done with ERP providers creating a missing link.
3. Change Management
- Leaders, managers and top sales reps resist as they feel they would lose power or influence.
- Users are not willing to go through the disruption and hassle that comes with SFA roll-outs.
- Users do not see the relevance of SFA to the sales process.
- Users do not trust the objectives of an SFA program.
These are problems likely to be experienced or met with especially if you are at the forefront of such a project. Quite frankly you would be surprised to know that regardless of the size of organizations, these problems cut across the board. However SMB’s have it more hard and tend to be more resistant due to the manual culture of doing things adopted by most of them.
Tips to a smooth Adoption
Being in the industry long enough, Solutech Limited as Salesforce experts have seen how different entities adopt to SFA. We have seen where it has worked, where it has taken a while but eventually succeeded and where it has completely been a fail. With firsthand oversight, we can confidently share a few do’s that we picked up on and that are sure to make a difference if followed through:
- Change acceptance is as good as Leadership Mindset
Leaders are leaders for a reason and one of them is, they lead by example. The pressure to adopt to the system should not entirely be placed on their juniors. Give them a sense of direction by willingly putting yourself out there, learning and passing down this approach to them.
2. Able Leaders at the Forefront
It is important to have a project manager who understands sales processes and pain areas leading the project. It is the only way you will have somebody who understands the value and impact an SFA solution could have. This person should be willing to be hands-on, interact with the system on a day to day and look for new ways to improve. The opposite with no knowledge may run a risk of putting restrictions, leaving out crucial functionality assessments, burdening the transition.
3. Slow but sure
Rome was not built in a day and your sales team should understand so. The same way you go about work having checklists for a particular task to be completed, so should you have a plan for functionality checklists. Try teach them in a way they do not feel burdened to deliver making them resent the change all together.
Have your Foot Down
Sometimes you will just have to put your foot down. A tough stance may be warranted for those who completely refuse to get on board. There is a reason you are entrusted with the authority to do so. If you have faith in your decision, you want a team that is vocal but willing to follow you if it gets to that point.
- Setting task completion dates that have to be adhered to. E.g., Training dates.
- Voice that sales not made through the application will not be added to their sales performance.
- Hold team leaders and managers accountable. This way, they will be sure to deliver on their part.
Do not be too harsh though, you do not wan to scare them off.
4. Remind them of the benefits
Convince your team on the benefits that come with using the system with the prime one being them being able to generate more sales hence more commission and also being recognized as the hardest worker hence incentives. Frankly, if you can get just a handful to see the pros they are bound to get everyone else on board. Most are driven by competition. Who would want to lose out on an opportunity to shine? Exactly, no one.
Note that change is a step by step process and has to be treated a so. Do due diligence by letting your team guide you on what will best work for them and do research and procure a solution that best works for them.