Best Practices for a Successful Sales Enablement Software Implementation: Part 1 The Ramp Up
When launching a new technology, almost every team faces challenges and roadblocks.
Some of the most common challenges you’ll face in every stage of the process are:
- No sense of urgency to migrate from old tools or processes
- Disconnect or lack of communication about the strategic benefits of the new technology
- Active resistance or push back from naysayers
This 3-part series is designed to help you navigate some of the most common challenges that can sink a successful implementation. In part 1 we’ll focus on the ways to combat these challenges as they manifest during the ramp up phase of your implementation.
Focus on delivering the value. It all starts here. You might not be able to solve every single problem for every single user, but if you can solve the biggest problem for most of your users, you are on the right track. If you’re past the stage of choosing but are realizing your new solution is not the right fit for your situation, it is not too late! Believe it or not, it is far less costly to stop while you’re ahead and find the right solution than to spend time, money and resources investing in the wrong one. It will not take long for your users to determine whether the solution has (or can) deliver the value that it promised. If it falls short, it won’t be long before they abandon all efforts to adopt the tool.
Don’t under estimate ease of use. When shopping for a solution, functionality is obviously important, but ease of use is equally as important. A solution should be approachable and intuitive. While the tool’s value and purpose can be powerful, sophisticated and complex, the users’ experience should be as simplified as possible. The motions and actions you expect them to take in the tools should feel natural and intuitive. If possible, choose a tool that does not change the way your employees do business. Extensive training or heavy change in process to use the tool are the surest ways to build resistance and collect complaints.
Don’t replace the process, support it. If you are installing a new tool that completely interrupts the natural workflow, and it falls flat, guess where the blame will fall? Not on the “infallible” process that has been “working” for years, but on the new tool that is tangible and has a name and is actively challenging the users’ workflow. So rather than gutting and replacing what you do now, look for ways to integrate your existing processes with the new tool. Explain that the tool is helping to support the current process and adapt it, not replace it. Anticipate questions about changes to workflow and varying degrees of technical skills. Preparing for these challenges will help you mitigate frustration that can lead to resistance to change.
Paint the vision
Communication is key. Be clear in your message and err on the side of over-communicating. Never rely on your users to connect the dots themselves. Communicate clearly what the new technology does, the problem that it is going to solve for your organization at large, and most importantly the benefit that it is going to deliver to them. No one will argue against making their life easier if they understand how it is going to make their life easier. Even if you get initial complaints about the communication cadence, the majority would rather have the information than not. Chances are the complainers will eventually reference (or ask for you to re-send) the very information they complained about receiving.
Build a team of advocates early
Everybody needs a hype man. Every implementation has at least one naysayer or unit of resistance. There will always be opposition to change, but the key to overcoming this obstacle is to 1) have an impenetrable case, 2) build a team of champions to advocate for you.
Having an impenetrable case is sometimes easier said than done, especially if you’re navigating a political situation or have to defend cost. But building a team of champions to advocate your cause can be an extremely effective way to influence consensus, gain buy in and ensure adoption. Be careful not to choose just the people that express interested in the software. It’s best to choose top performers, or the people that others want to follow. In addition to helping influence naysayers, recruiting champions creates stakeholders that feel personally invested in your success. Do not underestimate the power of this support.
Stay Tuned! We'll link to parts 2 & 3 once they go live.
Best Practices for a Successful Sales Enablement Software Implementation: Part 3 The Follow Up