After closing a sales solution deal, many sales professionals find the most challenging task becomes buy-in from the client’s sales reps and managers. From the moment a lead is received, a seasoned sales professional knows they must devise a plan.
A plan on how to present the solution to the prospect in terms that are meaningful to them, but more importantly, they must be able to look into the future to account for pitfalls they may encounter, especially the one that may impact user adoption. After all, you can have the best solution in the world, but if your customer ultimately doesn’t utilize it, the relationship isn’t going to withstand the test of time.
When it comes to software companies, the real goal is product adoption. We need people actively and consistently using our product. Regardless of the business model, success occurs when end users experience that “aha” moment which moves our product from an experiment to a core part of how the client does business. So how do you navigate around this all too common problem?
Why Software Adoption Fails?
The difficulty of software adoption should not be underestimated, especially within a sales organization. I say this because, as anyone else who has worked closely with salespeople would likely attest to, they can be somewhat stubborn individuals and set in their ways. Justifiably so, this attitude is due to being laser-focused on consistently meeting their quota.
It’s a tough profession with high expectations, and because of this, sales reps are often unwilling to devote their time and attention to learning new things (it takes time out of their day) when they are not sure the new solution will help them achieve their singular goal of closing deals and helping clients improve their top-line growth.
Sales reps have a lot on their plate and can’t afford to waste time trying to learn new solutions when they seem overly complicated. New sales solutions need to be championed by someone in their organization; someone sales reps view as a mentor and respect. Many sales reps attribute seller burden to complex internal processes, and procedures reps are resigned to follow.
Any solution which can save time and make their daily lives easier is of value to them — creating a learning environment, so reps and their managers understand the importance of the solution and can become comfortable using it – should be critical components with any software adoption process.
What a Software Adoption Process Looks Like
Initial adoption sometimes isn’t about what someone knows; it’s what they don’t know that can make the difference. The first step is figuring out, “what does the customer need and what are their pain points?” Be mindful of getting the direction and training managers and sales reps need to get the information they need promptly. Make sure to answer their questions and then let them use the tool so that they can understand the value of the software solution. Using this approach will help sales reps and managers aware of what they don’t know, allowing you to demonstrate how your solution can get them where they want to go quickly and effectively.
One way to ensure client buy-in is to conduct educational workshops (or e-learning) demonstrating the sales solution and sales process to introduce and explain the tool so the client can learn the value-added services, which comes along with using your solution. The workshops give managers and their sales teams time to know and understand the sales solution so they can dig deeper into the features and capabilities to find the information they need, while not wasting their time or putting up barriers in the process.
How Becoming a Trusted Advisor Helps
During the sales process with new clients, sales professionals essentially become an assistant to the champion and a trusted advisor to the stakeholders who are making the purchasing decision — position yourself to identify internal challenges and providing guidance on how to measure the success of the deployment. Become their go-to person and problem solver. Help them craft a plan that is viable whether they move forward or not with your sales solution. They will thank you for all of it later.
An established blueprint shares company goals to help the client achieve their objectives associated with user adoption, customer success, and support. Create a software adoption roadmap that follows the account through each stage of the cycle from sales, deployment, and account management. There should never be a set it and forget it mind frame. Continuously stay in contact with your client to receive updates and solicit feedback.
With any change, there are going to be people who embrace it with open arms, and there are going to be hesitant people. Change starts from the top and trickles down. Regardless of how you found yourself engaged with a new client, be sure to have a solid plan in place for moving forward. It sends a united signal to the whole team adopting your new solution; this is a priority.
Continue to provide the most outstanding customer service your client has ever witnessed and position yourself as a partner or trusted advisor. Once you and your sales solution have interwoven yourself so deeply into your client’s organization, they won’t remember how they ever managed without you and your solution.
Want to know if clients view you as a trusted advisor or just a vendor? Check out this blog post.