Introducing new technologies to your organization will always cause a ripple in established workflows and processes. Even if the system is key to an industry’s ongoing growth, it can prove difficult to wrangle employees into actually using it. Low adoption rates of new software are a cause for hesitation from distributors who are exploring new integrations within their workplace.
Sales representatives, especially ones with a great deal of company tenure, might not fully realize the benefits of an updated or changed program. They are “creatures of habit,” or unsure of how a new tool will be helpful to them when they’ve already had years of success using the old systems.
Management that takes the lead on a new rollout and demonstrates how technologies like artificial intelligence can help reps not just sell, but sell quickly and effectively, will find that their reps are more amenable to the incoming change. When sales reps unite in using the same powerful sales tools, distributors will hit their ROI even faster than before.
All Aboard: Increasing the Adoption Rate of New Technology
Adopting new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) may seem daunting to some, but there are ways to help employees adapt to new tech.
Get to the Root of the Problem
As part of pre-rollout, keep dialog channels open about concerns individuals or teams have about the introduction of a new artificial intelligence-based sales tool. Addressing misconceptions about AI that contribute to their trepidation is the first step to adoption across the board.
Resistance could stem from the idea that what is being introduced is just another program for employees to open at the start of their workday. Maintain transparency about what software will not be needed when using their new tech, and what might still be necessary for the time being. This new system may take the place of old CRM tools, which means reps will have less to open and sort through on their desktops.
Outline The Benefits
When selling to an outside customer, the best salespeople will explain how a product or service will make their lives easier. They let them know what’s in it for them to shop from this company and buy this item. Just like outside customers, reps may need to be sold on the benefits of acclimating to a newer system with different processes or workflows.
Hesitation from sales teams usually comes from the impression that a new system will only impede their workflow. To combat this objection, demonstrate how certain features will have an immediate, visible impact on their selling tactics by simplifying their routines.
For example, a customer who owns a chain of convenience stores calls to order new security mirrors for installation near their registers at all of their locations. By the time they’ve finished explaining their need, a more proactive sales tool has located the mirrors that the buyer is most likely to purchase. While that happened, the AI intuitively sought out other products that will be of interest to the customer– ones that the rep might not have considered previously, but that the person on the other line has the highest probability of adding to their cart.
The customer’s needs are met in an instant without the need for excessive searching or data entry, and the final sale has increased beyond the initial point of contact.
When even the most seasoned of sales reps find that moment that everything ‘clicks’, and they see what this new system can do that their current tech could not, adoption rates will sharply increase.
Train And Coach Thoroughly
Before the salesforce gets to know the key features and functionality of a new system, their management teams should be not only trained on it, but enthusiastic about its implementation. Sales reps who are coached on new tech by leaders who are experts in the product are more likely to adapt to it as well.
Change up how information about the program’s functions are presented. Presentations, video walkthroughs, hands-on exploration, and written descriptions ensure that the information will touch base with each individual, regardless of their learning style. Roleplaying is a powerful tool here, as it will help teams envision how their day-to-day might look once they’re versed in their upgraded selling tools.
Set Clear Expectations
As the new technology is woven into the fabric of each employee’s daily routines, lay out a clear internal usage expectation. Direct, quantifiable goals are key. Identifying who will be keeping track of usage allows for maximum trust and transparency between teams and their managers.
While it might appear tempting to slowly increase the expected usage of a new system over time, doing so can actually have an adverse effect on getting reps onboarded consistently. The organizations with the highest adoption rates are the ones that hit the ground running with integration.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of sweetening the pot. While the ways a platform update will benefit the team in their day-to-day operations is an incentive in and of itself, wary sales representatives might need an extra push into actually putting those capabilities into practice.
Contests will tempt competitive employees, while group incentives will keep teams accountable for each other from within. Outline goals that specify how teams or individuals qualify for a prize, such as hours-per-day usage or a certain sales goal attributed to using newly integrated selling tools.
Investing in artificial intelligence (AI) selling tools like Proton can lead to exponential boosts in sales for a distributor. When faced with the challenge of a team-wide adoption, sales managers and VPs should seek to invest in AI that will not only improve the workflows of their representatives, but give them the ability to tap into their highest possible sales potential.
To reap the most profitable benefits of artificial intelligence, data and practices need to be kept under control; coherency and enterprise-wide strategies are what will ultimately maintain customer engagement – engagement that fosters growth. Coherency is best achieved when every member of the team is onboard and trained on the same products and processes.
That coveted total buy-in will be solidified when reps are given a product that displays clear change management plans, guided by leaders who are enthused about the successful implementation of the product. With full adoption, of course, comes full return on investment for the distributor.