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5 Steps to Drive Change Management and Sales Tool Adoption

4 min read
Updated Oct. 18, 2023
Published Apr. 6, 2020

Guest post by Scott Leese, CEO & founder of Scott Leese Consulting, and founder of The Surf and Sales Summit.

One of my favorite interview questions is, “Tell me something you believe to be true that most people believe to be false?” I like hearing different ideas and seeing the conviction behind the responses I get. Wanna hear my answer?

I believe change happens in an instant, rather than gradually over time.

In my opinion, it’s the belief that change takes a long time and is extremely difficult that prevents so many people from making positive changes in their lives. The same is true with businesses.

Resistance to change can derail sales goals and turn best-laid plans into logistical failures. 

Inertia and the status quo win when we tell ourselves, “Change can be scary, it takes time, and it’s hard.” Says who? It doesn’t have to be that way. 

We implement sales and enablement tools to improve the sales process, to make our jobs and lives more enjoyable, and to increase the efficiency and velocity of deal flow.

 So then why is tool adoption so hard to achieve?

Resistance to Change 

Poor sales tool adoption often results from the threat to a sales rep’s sense of stability and security. It manifests as:

  • Fear of the unknown and failure
  • Lack of communication
  • Mistrust and confusion 
  • No clear benefits or value to individuals 
  • Perceived increase in required effort and skill

Understanding and anticipating your sales team’s resistance will allow you to proactively lead from a place of compassion and empathy. Use this knowledge to direct your communication and ensure a successful rollout and adoption strategy.

Here are 5 steps to drive change management and ensure a smooth transition when adopting new sales technology:

1. Conduct a needs analysis and choose your tools wisely.

  • Ask what current challenges reps are facing and what needs are not being met by current technology. What pain points are the team feeling?
  • Address the most important needs. Will your new sales tool tackle the most relevant issues?
  • Are there resources and specific trainings that you’ll need to include? Is your infrastructure prepared to integrate a new tool?

2. Create a transparent communication strategy.

  • Communication is key! Tie the initiative back to pain points and connect features and benefits to team and individual goals.
  • Identify key dates for rollout of your initiatives and create routine check-ins from launch to adoption to mastery.
  • Celebrate success and invite experience feedback.
  • Establish accountability from the top down and lead by example.

3. Create a narrative that supports the movement and builds buy-in.

  • Involve all relevant stakeholders and secure buy-in. 
  • Will the sales tech affect other departments? If so, how can they play a part in supporting adoption?
  • Generate buzz and excitement around upcoming changes. Be sure to discuss the direct results possible to users, and specific benefits to each role. This is an opportunity for both team and individual success!

4. Set realistic expectations.

  • Listen and acknowledge fears, while compassionately addressing how you’ll meet challenges.
  • Set metrics for success and milestones for adoption. Think baby steps and big picture.
    • Leave room for the instant gratification that’s so important at the start of a technology implementation, but remind your team of the greater prize that awaits them.
  • Don’t overpromise! Nothing steals joy like unmet expectations or unrealistic ones.
    • Evangelize the improved experience, but tell it like it is.
  • Maintain open communication and don’t shy away from difficult group discussions.

5. Involve the team and identify champions.

  • Throughout the rollout, involve the team, conduct routine check-ins, and encourage feedback.
  • Promote and celebrate the success of early adopters! Successful champions can evangelize your initiative and provide optimistic energy that’s contagious to the team.
  • Incentivize adoption and mastery. Beyond the organic wins of using the tool, gamify training and get creative in teaching.

Remember to emphasize how the new technology benefits both the individual and the organization. The team must believe and then experience their jobs getting easier. Encourage building the new tool into the routine as quickly as possible by maintaining focus, and follow up through continued communication and training. 

To quote Tony Robbins: “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” By selecting a new sales tool, you already made the decision to change. So, follow these simple steps, and  smoothly transition into a more efficient organization!