Buying a new sales enablement software tool can be a very exciting time. Yet, 63% of larger companies risk project failure as they find implementation and adoption a much harder process. Watching boardroom excitement descend into shop floor apathy is a real possibility if you don’t do your homework. You need to get everyone in your company pumped to use the new sales software – not just the CEO.
Here are my 5 reasons sales software implementation can fail and how to avoid it:
1. You don’t communicate the need for change
In order to successfully launch any new kind of program into your organization, you need to make sure to communicate the right information. This means talking to the right people, at the right time.
Most people don’t like change and their reactions will be worse if they’re surprised by it! So, ensure that when you are introducing new tools, you explain its value to the company as a whole but also to each department and individual.
What are the driving factors for implementing new software? Are there any industry factors such as a change in legal requirements? How will this be a competitive advantage for your company?
Don’t be shy about sharing this good news. No one wants to put lots of effort into learning a new system when they don’t see the value, so show them. Also, make sure you communicate early and often, it gives people a sense of involvement in the development and gives them time to prepare for what’s coming!
2. You don’t have a clear business outcome in mind
New sales tools are great, but like any tool, you can’t just expect to buy it and it do the job for you! No tool is a silver bullet. More typically, your latest investment has a lot of functions and uses that can work to easily distract from the main feature you bought it for.
It’s important to determine what you want to achieve with your new sales software. Which feature or outcome is most important to you and your business? Remember to be sensible, your objectives need to directly relate to what the sales software is designed to do.
Once you establish your goal, it’s easy to start from the end and work your way backwards, step by step. Try to follow SMART goals to make this even more effective – that means your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based.
3. You don’t set realistic expectations for your team
If you’re buying a sales software tool that affects many people, you need to ensure you set clear expectations for each different group of users. It may be tempting to just worry about how you personally are going to get value out of the tool, but the best tools are the ones that work across the organization. If your team members don’t feel like there is something in it for them and don’t know how you want them to use it, they may decide to not use it at all!
Start by communicating the benefits you want the rest of the team to get out of the platform and a few specific ways they can get that value out of the platform. Using sales-i as an example, you might share with your salespeople that your goal for them is to expand account penetration, and you can show them how then to identify products that their customers are not currently buying that they should be.
4. You don’t consider behavior change
When you adopt a new sales software tool, you need to consider what kind of changes in behavior need to happen at every level to achieve your objectives. It would be easy to just demonstrate the system and share user ‘how to’ guides about the platform. But, without establishing a new way of working using the system, your team will gradually go back to the way they worked before. To avoid this you need to clearly communicate the tasks, processes and behavior that needs to change to optimize the use of the tool.
Things to consider:
What do sales reps need to stop doing in order to make the implementation successful?
What kinds of new routines and behaviors do you need them to adopt to make this tool a success?
5. You expect to scale too quickly
A “sales tool” can be so much more than just one tool in the salesperson’s arsenal, it can be a strategy in and of itself! But in order to make that happen, you need to consider all the points above and make sure you’re setting realistic expectations.
Are you asking too much of your sales reps too soon? It’s important that you prioritize your goals and separate your “day 10” goals from your “day 100” goals. Consider drafting a plan that includes smaller objectives and goals that directly address the skills and workload of your staff.