Have you ever thought that salespeople are lazy?
There seems to be a bit of a pervasive belief in our business that salespeople are lazy. I can’t count the number of times that stakeholders in a company talk about their sales force as a herd of unmotivated, lazy folks who do the bare minimum to survive.
If you had someone come and tell you that you had to double or triple the amount of paperwork and logging every day, how would it feel? Sometimes, I feel like during CRM implementations there is little regard for the daily lives of members of the sales team and how decisions affect their work.
Don’t Just Empower, Empathize!
Learning what makes your sales team tick, what their day is like, and what motivates them is huge. Put yourself in their shoes. Have you ever done sales before? If the answer is “no,” see if you can go through their training, make some sales calls, or otherwise learn what you can about the role of sales and how it is done in your company. What you learn may surprise you.
Use your newfound knowledge and empathy to design better systems. If you have a system that is going to create more work for someone, it needs to be a proven value to all parties involved. If it’s not, you won’t have happy adoption, but instead adoption under duress. You will be the one who introduced TPS reports to the team.
Understand the Motivation
Some sales teams are commissioned, some aren’t. Understanding how the sales process works and then understanding what motivates your sales team will help design better solutions. If you are able to present the tools in a way that they are there to help the team achieve their goals–and help the company achieve its goals–you’re much more likely to achieve adoption nirvana.
With all this knowledge and hanging out with your sales team, you may even develop–gasp!–relationships. Just as much as you are trying to get them to adopt new systems and processes, perhaps through all of this relationship building they will also learn your side and be able to empathize better. You may even find a few “champions” on the team.
Kill the Word “They”
This is good advice with anything on a professional level. In addition to the “lazy” stigma, I often hear admins refer to their sales team as “They,” which is a mental barrier and introduces an artificial divide. As an admin, try and think of yourself as an important part of your sales team. You’re the part of the team that brings the tools to the table that helps them do their jobs better. Replace “They” with “We.” Just that little change makes a big impact on thinking and communications, and if anyone on the team happens to overhear you, I wager you’ll earn some respect.
It’s not just salespeople. It’s people. Trying to build new systems and get your team to use and love them is a tall order. Try this social experiment: Go to a store and buy something. During checkout, complain about the POS system. You more than likely just made a friend; you’ve created a social bond where there’s a common enemy (the system). I see the same thing happen internally all the time in companies. So instead of just ignoring it, do this instead: try to understand the people who are using the system, how their business works, what their process needs to do, streamline as much as possible, and just be in it with them. By following this path, the chances of success will rise dramatically and you’ll hopefully make some new friends to boot.
And here’s my pitch–we work with admins all the time who are struggling with issues like this. At Red Argyle, we strive to help bridge the gap between sales teams and other stakeholders in the company to help create “triple wins” between Sales, Technology, and the Business. So if you could use a little (or a lot of) help, be sure to contact us. Whether you’re looking for one-time guidance or ongoing monthly support, we’ve got your back.