With sales systems, we have to be willing to take a step back to move forward.
Any time I hear a sales manager tell their team about a new requirement, I hear audible groans.
Salespeople are attracted to sales because of the freedom it offers, yet managers have to be able to scale success if they hope to grow their organizations.
And that means implementing sales systems.
So how do we roll out a new sales system with a team that may be averse to any change? That’s the question we brought to Jason Cutter, a sales architect who has a lot of experience rolling out new systems and processes with established sales teams. We wanted to know how he would advise a sales leader roll out a new sales system so it could have the most chance of use – and success?
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trim: To get a sales team into using new systems, Jason said there has to first be alignment on vision, mission and core values. Because we’re asking salespeople to change behavior, they have to have a reason to want to. If they can’t connect the discomfort of using a new system with a great mission, they’ll only ever give a systemized sales process lip service.
This means setting expectations with the sales team that they need to be on board with the mission or let leaders know now – and expect to lose some salespeople in the process.
If salespeople then balk at changes later on, we can remind them of their commitment to the vision. Jason says this means ‘marry the vision, and date the strategy.’ This is important because our vision has be something constant (how we serve customers, the value we provide, etc.), and how we deliver on that (strategy) will change as the needs of our customers and industry inevitably shift.
R – Repeatable: Sales leaders may have to reformat their strategies multiple times within their careers, and that means asking people to execute on new campaigns, outreach processes and systems. Because of that, it’s essential that sales managers begin by hiring folks with the understanding that ‘change is a constant here.’ That way, when we ask them to change their systems, it won’t take salespeople by surprise.
First, when you’re ready to roll out a new system or systemize your sales processes, Jason says it’s critical to get the buy in of senior salespeople as much as possible. This is best done in individual meetings with them where we can lay out our new system and ask for their feedback before rolling it out to the group. In the case where the system is due to a non-negotiable requirement like legal compliance, ask for their advice on the best way to break it to the team and get their fellow senior salespeople and junior team members on board.
Second, it’s important to gather input from the people who will be using the system before you roll out a plan that’s too far down the road to be modified. If you’re implementing a new system like a CRM, for instance, Jason says to ask the salespeople what features they’d like to see in the CRM and explain how they would leverage them in their day-to-day outreach.
Finally, Jason says that holding people accountable to using the systems is critical. Otherwise, salespeople will realize they aren’t being monitored and will quickly go back to the way they were doing things no matter how inefficient those processes may be.
I – Improvable: In order to improve a new systems rollout next time, we need to understand what problem or problems the system is supposed to solve. Without knowing that, we won’t know how to improve it in the future because we need to know if the problem has been solved, or at least its impact lessened?
We can then look at getting better results in our next solution or alleviate more of the problem with the next system we roll out.
M – Measurable: Jason says it’s critical to understand that performance will drop in a sales team any time a new system is implemented. We’re asking salespeople to leave their comfort zones, and that means things won’t get better immediately.
Once we expect that dip, then we need to begin paying attention to the KPIs we’re tracking and remember that systems track leading indicators – not lagging ones. That means that we need to measure the things leading up to sales instead of expecting an immediate boost in our closed deals.