10 Jan 2013

Changes take time AND repetition – Implement new processes in a way that increases adoption and reduces belly-aching.

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Sales Managers love developing new processes (whether they will admit it or not). Maybe it’s the promise of fixing the problems that have plagued you and your group, or the hope of easing frustrations in the foreseeable future. Regardless, new processes make us feel like progress is forthcoming.

However, most Sales Reps are resistant to new processes and avoid them at every possible turn. Is it because new processes are hard? Maybe. Is it because they can be cumbersome? Somewhat. Or is it because they can cause more problems than they solve? Possibly. All of the above are valid reasons why Sales Reps resist changes in process.

New processes can help a sales team progress towards their goals, assuming they are implemented correctly. Below are a few points to consider when delivering a new process to your sales team:

  1. Discuss the process clearly – Create detailed documentation for the process, and review this documentation with your Sales Reps.
  2. Use real examples to reinforce understanding – Walk through examples of how the process should be used in different scenarios. For example, for creating or updating an opportunity record in SFDC, each Rep should fill in certain fields. Walk your Reps through a real example of which fields to complete, and then have them do an example of their own to test their understanding.
  3. Discuss the benefits of the process – Often new processes are geared to help managers gain more visibility into or understanding of the sales process, but there is little benefit to the Reps. Look at the process from your Reps’ viewpoint. Find a way to build in benefits for your Reps. It could be that you reduce the amount of administrative information required, or create dashboards that show key metrics so your Reps can be more connected to the business results of the process.
  4. Repetition is the path to adoption – This is the most often overlooked step to implementing a new sales process, and also the most important step. Once you have familiarized your Reps with the new process, you must go back and test their understanding of the process, multiple times, to ensure everyone is consistently following the process. Ask them to walk you through the process as they use it, and make corrections where necessary.
  5. Don’t make changes too often – Change is painful for everyone, so don’t make changes constantly. Once you’ve implemented a process, test and measure the results for several periods (months or quarter) before making changes. Use the data gathered from the process to support any further changes or corrections to the process.

Having a structured process can help lessen arguments over territory confusion, poaching, and finger-pointing. Process will also ensure that fewer mistakes are made, and that every Rep understands their responsibilities and boundaries.

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