Change is hard. And we’ve had to change more this year than we have since … ever? Working and attending school from home has made the 2020 learning curve bend straight up. If you’re responsible for launching new programs, processes, or platforms at work, you know how tough it can be to get users to adopt the new thing.
But rolling out new sales enablement technology doesn’t have to be painful. Just put yourself in the users’ shoes. With some thought up front about the experience from their perspective, you can put together a strategy to win over even the most skeptical team members.
9 Tactics for Driving User Adoption
You can reduce the friction involved with implementing new sales enablement platforms to drive lasting user adoption. To overcome your team’s resistance to change, I recommend the following nine tactics:
1. Think About Timing
Think about what else is going on with the folks who are going to be adopting this new technology when timing your rollout. What are the competing priorities? What else are you asking your users to do? Where are you in the quarter?
Every season has specific challenges. Rolling something out at the end of the year is difficult because people are focused on closing new business—as they are in the last two weeks of every quarter. You may also want to rethink a rollout in August when people are on vacation. Be realistic about where the technology rollout falls with other competing priorities.
2. Meet Users Where They Are
Take into consideration how aware people might or might not be about how this technology could help them. For example, compare a new hire with a long-time employee. If I’m a new hire who just joined the team and don’t know anything about your company, then I’m a sponge. I’m an open book who will take information from any and all sources. I want to drink from the firehose because I have nothing else to do yet.
On the other hand, if I’ve been with the company for two, three or more years and I’m in the middle of the pack and I’m doing okay, what’s the motivation for me? You will need to present the advantages of new technology differently to these two types of users.
3. Cultivate Lifelong Learners
Some professionals are lifelong learners. These people are open to a new technology because they want to improve and develop their skills. Others might resist new tech because they have a blind spot, don’t have the interest, don’t feel it’s necessary to develop themselves, or to contribute to the success of the rest of the team.
In this new world of modern learning, everybody on the team is responsible for sharing what works and what doesn’t work for the good of the team. This is a great concept and companies that are successful seem to be moving in that direction or have mastered it. But it’s a new way of thinking for a lot of employees. Helping them to get comfortable with that and see the benefit to them is important.
4. Motivate With the Right Incentives
Take a look at how you’re incentivizing your team. We’ve seen with some of our customers that at one time or another, their users were disincentivized to share what’s working for them because they were all going after the same pot of gold. They thought, “Why would I share what’s working for me if it’s going to help you to get ahead and possibly take money out of my pocket?”
Make sure that there’s nothing in place that would prevent or disincentivize people from sharing with each other. Also take a look at individuals on your team and try to answer the question: “Why would this person be interested in going through the changes, investing the time that they would need to invest, to leverage the technology that we all believe in the end is going to make them more money and make them more successful?”
5. Get a Little Help From Your Friends
There may be a natural tendency to start with your most difficult and change-resistant team members. A lot of companies think, “Well, let’s start with Fred because you know he’s never going to want to do this.” But you don’t want to start with him. You want to start with people that are open to change. When you roll out to your friends, you’re setting up a conducive environment to learn where you may want to course correct from a communications perspective, a timing perspective, or a workload perspective.
This will benefit people who are digging in their heels and saying, “I don’t want to change.” And it will help you start to build a ground swell so that it becomes more apparent that there are folks who have dug their heels in. Because they don’t want to change, they’re going to be left behind. They’re not getting the benefit of this information that others are getting.
It doesn’t mean that managers and the project team may not, from time to time, have to tap that person on the shoulder and ask what’s going on. “Can I help you to get started, or is there some reason why you haven’t been able to engage?” But try to let those people be pulled along by their peers versus saying, “You must do this.”
6. Identify Cheerleaders
Seek out and support your early adopters. These change agents in the field are like your ground troops. They’re the ones who are going to infiltrate the rest of the team, letting them know that they’re missing out by not adopting the new platform. Let them be your spokespeople. Let them be your cheerleaders.
7. Promote Winners
One of the things that we recommend to our clients is that they use recorded video via Allego to share win reports. There’s not many people who don’t want to share their win story. Even if you don’t see the value of a new platform, you’ll have a hard time saying no if your manager asks, “You just closed an unbelievable deal. I want you to tell your story about how you closed that deal because I think people have a lot to learn from you.”
Try to promote the people who are winning. This has two benefits. When people start to share their win stories, the user base realizes that the platform is a way for them to stay connected to what’s working in the field.
The second benefit is as a recognition tool. Taking advantage of moments to recognize successes and tieing that to the application is a huge opportunity. If you’ve been showcasing wins through company email blasts, they don’t have a face or show a personality compared to video. Old emails are also very difficult for a new hire who joined two weeks later to get any value from.
8. Tap Into Your Team
Modern sales enablement platforms make the most of user-generated content. This helps reassure managers that the new tech won’t create more work for them and that they don’t have to do it all. For example, if there’s someone on your team who’s struggling to tell your product story, the manager doesn’t have to be the one to do it. They can go to someone else on the team who has that story down cold and say, “Create a short video that demonstrates how you tell the product story. I want to share that with everyone on the team.”
Then the manager can say, “Watch the video, practice telling the story, and share a video with me.” The manager gives the user as much time as they need to practice, and can then watch the video and provide feedback in a time that’s convenient for them.
Having sellers teach other sellers has value. It’s more valid. It feels more relevant. The benefits to the salesperson who’s sharing their idea is that they tell the story one time, instead of getting phone calls from ten different people asking how to close that deal.
9. Prime the Pump
Consider what you can give your users that will encourage them to learn the system and use it as often as possible until it becomes second nature. Putting some engaging content in the system is great. Share progress reports, milestones, and launch plans with the organization. Weave messages from executives into your regular communication.
Use these nine tactics to build a strategy that will win over even the most reluctant team members and drive lasting user adoption and long-term results.
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