No one likes change, but when it comes to technology, some people can be particularly resistant. So how can you win over a technophobe?
Here are the top 5 issues that influence the negative perception of technological change for salespeople and how to turn tech cynics into tech evangelists:
Forced technical upgrades.
So much time and consideration goes into the costs, relevancy and implementation of a product without drawing on your most valuable resource – those that will have to use it every day.
Avoid the resistance from your team by getting them invested in the product from the get go. Create a clear timeline for researching, testing and deciding upon your new technical upgrade with your sales team. Take extra care to involve team members that may be more reluctant to change – these are the people that need additional nurturing to make implementation a success long term.
Clearly demonstrate how implementing a new system will benefit the company, the sales team and individual employees. Featuring direct comparisons to main competitors can help emphasize the need to evolve. However, if the only outcome discussed is profit margins, it can be easy for staff to feel put upon. Highlight that learning new skills will enhance their employability.
Don’t get nerdy. You may be able to supercharge your chosen BI system with all sorts of bells and whistles, but try to resist. The more complex it looks, the more likely it is that the number of team members who deem it too difficult to use will increase. Concentrate on the core issues you want to solve with BI, and find a solution that has the answers.
Once your team is using the new system and seeing the benefits, it will be much easier to move them onto more technical processes. This requires you understanding how they work each day and what processes take up their time. For the technophobes, the benefits need to be tangible. Less wasted hours, more productive phone calls, etc.
The fear of obsolescence.
A level of reassurance will be required when implementing new systems. Be sure to show that the new systems are there to make their lives easier, speed up boring tasks and free them up to do what they do best!
It may seem obvious that this is your intention but it is worth reiterating throughout the process to keep your team ‘invested’ in the plan and energized to continue developing their skills.
Recognize that your employees will have a range of technical proficiencies and be prepared to accommodate each one.
Ensure that you have varied resources in different formats that can be referred to throughout the training, implementation and post live stages. Any stigma attached to being slower than other staff to understand the new system can be addressed with one-to-ones, online resources and manuals. It may be necessary to review a user’s history and be able to plan hints and tips, refresher courses and direct contact with those struggling.
Be mindful to choose a system that is intuitive and takes as few clicks as possible to get to commonly used data sets.
It’s easy to look back with fondness on the way things used to be done. The old systems were safe. Your staff may have felt safe in their roles and daily duties due to their expertise. The unknown is a scary place, but as the leader of new system implementation you need to fight the temptation to lean on old technology. When the team struggles rather than push through and master the new system.
An open forum for discussion or even an anonymous online forum could highlight issues that are critical for on-going success.
Project completed? Nope.
New BI system implementation isn’t a project. There are stages within the initial application of the tech but the process is cyclical and continuous. Keep reviewing, talking, listening and tweaking to make sure you are using all the assets at your disposal moving forward. But when lead by someone with a steadfast commitment and belief in the benefits of the tech, the rewards are limitless and enthusiasm infectious.
“One of our Area Sales Managers is in his mid-60s and would happily admit he hated all things IT. He’s now one of our top users and would (begrudgingly!) say that he now couldn’t be without sales-i!”
Charlie rawson, E-Commerce Administrator
Check out how sales-i conquered a tech-resistant salesman at Maxxis – here