You’ve worked hard to produce new value-focused tools, empowering your sales team to meet the growing challenges of today’s more empowered, skeptical and frugal buyer.
And you are not alone, as SiriusDecisions reports that the average company now spends a whopping $43K on marketing content and sales tools per salesperson per year. Yet, despite such enormous investments, results are mixed, as the American Marketing Association reports that up to 90% of marketing deliverables are not used by sales professionals, squandering an estimated $38K per sales rep per year.
With such low adoption, it should not be a surprise that despite some good wins, your new value-focused sales tools might not be garnering the anticipated usage.
So how do you achieve sales tool adoption in 2013?
As the studies indicate, business-as-usual is a more comfortable state of mind, because we all tend to outweigh potential downside risks higher than significant and compelling upside rewards - a risk aversion that causes a natural resistance to change.
Step 1: All Sales Sees Is All There Is
- The challenge with today’s customer
- The day-to-day impact of these challenges
- How the sales tools can address these challenges, and where precisely to apply the tools
- The value the sales tools deliver
- Success stories, from those who have successfully used the tools
- Links to access the tool, especially posting them in sales portals and into sales playbooks to make them easy to access
- Basic overview of the tools operation, so that the sales team sees that it’s not hard to use and apply in the sales process
- Clarity over where they can get support and services to help create the business case and present / defend results.
- Scheduled introductory training sessions (no more than 30 minutes recommended) and on-demand recorded training sessions (again, keep it short)
- Introductory briefs in sales newsletters and e-mails
- Listings as a resource in sales portals and playbooks
- Road-show training to regional or national sales team meetings
Step 2: A Change is Gonna Come
- Causing more than 58% of the current sales pipeline to be stalled at “Do Nothing” (Sales Benchmark Index)
- Delaying when sales is invited to engage, until almost 2/3rds of the purchasing decisions have been made (CEB)
- Lengthening the sales cycle, with purchase decisions taking 22% longer (SiriusDecisions)
- Increased discounting by 20% or more.
Step 3: Where we are Going?
As contrast is a powerful mechanism to promote change, demonstrate just how antiquated the current product-oriented speeds and feeds approaches are in reaching today’s buyer, and do so side-by-side with the prescribed value-based sales tool driven approach, for easy head-to-head comparison. This contrast can clearly illustrate how the old techniques just don’t work any longer, and the superior value-added nature of the new approach.
Step 4: Lean on Me
While coaching provides guidance as to the when and how the sales tool should be used, support is also important. Much like you wouldn’t send a salesperson out to discuss technical details of a solution, you need to provide sales with diagnostics and justification support. This should include:
- Remote Support – to answer questions about the application and use of the sales tool, particularly around the questionnaires and data collection, calculations, defending and presenting analysis results.
- Deal Desk – for the larger deals, having an expert to assist directly in the customer engagement can be critical to success, and a deal desk can be called upon to provide on-line meeting or face-to-face sales tool engagement advice and support in customer meetings and presentations.
Step 5: Show Me the Money
- Open new opportunities, by providing the tools to engage higher and earlier with decision makers
- Unstick stalled deals on up to 5% of "Do Nothing" pipeline
- Shorten sales cycles by 10%
- Increase deal size / reduce discounting by 30%
- Increase competitive win rates by 60% (IDC).
Step 6: Birds of a Feather
Step 7: Try It, You’ll Like It
Step 8: Address the Naysayers
Step 9: A Part of My World?
Step 10: Mission Accomplished?
- Raise awareness
- Sell the “why”
- Lay out the vision
- Implement coaching and deal support
- Align incentives
- Communicate success via members of the tribe
- Try it to like it
- Handle the naysayers
- Make it an integral part of their world
- Don’t claim success too soon