A recent article by Jim Dickie of CSO Insights highlighted an issue we think about constantly at CommercialTribe: how do we help companies drive adoption of new sales tools within their team? With a full array of tools and solutions for different aspects of selling and learning – CRM, CMS, LMS: the acronyms may have your head spinning – every organization’s worst nightmare is failing to utilize its tools.
Working with CSO Insights, Jim Dickie surveyed sales leaders on their tool adoption. What he found should make any sales leader pause: while 37% of sales teams had purchased a sales collaboration/networking tool, more than 60% found little to no adoption or impact. That represents not only a failed initiative but also a significant lost investment.
Jim shared a number of excellent strategies to plan for and launch new tools, focused on adoption. Further strategies can help lift the chances that a new tool will see widespread use.
1. Pair With an Existing Initiative
One of CommercialTribe’s first actions in 2015 was to review the data from 2014 and find hidden truths about adoption. The clearest outcome is that driving team-wide tool adoption happens best when paired with an existing commercial process like onboarding or new product introduction. Aligning a new tool with existing organizational muscle memory offers the best chance to set process and goals around the entire operation. As a result, the process is strengthened, better than trying to implement a new technology by starting from scratch.
2. Find a Champion
Even with a strong consensus built before a purchase, adoption rarely happens without one key leader spearheading the effort. While reps are naturally going to adopt the tools that benefit their selling behavior and drive results, getting initial support will often be seen as intrusive or needless. To prevent failed adoption, a champion can standardize use, prompt feedback and discussion, and check-in on the results continually. Once established, the tool can then rely on die-hard users and top performers to drive deep and lasting adoption.
3. Benchmark and Identify the Right Gaps
Since tools are designed to solve for gaps in your team’s abilities, identifying the right areas to fill is a great first step toward supporting adoption. Reps are more likely to use a tool that addresses a clear need, rather than one that adds complexity or a new step onto their workflows. By first sourcing the existing areas for improvement within the team, either by doing gap and market analysis or surveying the organization, the chances that day-to-day adoption will increase. The goal, after all, is to reduce complexity
And lastly, it pays to remember that 100% adoption of new technology is an unfair expectation. According to Accenture, nearly 40% of teams see less than 50% adoption of processes and tools.