A Solution Adoption Situation: Your Guide to a Smooth Sales Rollout

By Jen Burns

Rollouts can be smooth or they can be rough. Whatever the issues, though, managers must be involved at every step or the sales team will falter – and sales will suffer. Here’s one experience with a complex rollout that hit a snag and then recovered.

Low seller adoption of sales enablement approaches/initiatives/programs that are proven to drive growth.

Every sales enablement leader knows that, without seller adoption, any approach, initiative, or program launch could be doomed for failure.

Despite having launched many new sales methodologies, processes, on-boarding programs, new GTM messaging, etc., I hit a snag on seller adoption in one particular instance. I thought the root cause was rolling out an inordinate number of “new approaches” to the team due to high-growth targets and rapidly changing buyer dynamics; however, what I quickly came to realize was that my issue was not with sellers being overloaded but, rather, sales management not having an effective way to reinforce the behaviors required to drive growth.

As with any SE initiative, managers are often the first to be briefed/trained and are integral to the rollout (as was the case in this example); however, I realized that – because I had not integrated all elements of new seller technique and behavior requirements into the coaching framework – it was not being enforced or coached upon consistently.

Sounds like an easy fix, right? Well, sales managers are busy, too, and they also need to be enabled. It isn’t about just telling them they have to do something; it is about integrating productivity drivers into their day-to-day so the collaboration between these two roles is successful.

As soon as I realized adoption was not picking up pace, I had to pivot quickly to ensure that our leading and lagging indicators were moving in a positive direction.

My first step was to meet one on one with each sales manager to regain commitment to coach to the necessary behaviors and skills and ensure they were enabled to do so (if not, additional coaching/documentation was provided).

I also discussed the need to integrate any required change in skill, behavior, or technique into their coaching process to make it more accessible, scalable, and repeatable – an absolute must to generate momentum and success. Anything related to process and methodology was built into the Sales Funnel and Opportunity Coaching Frameworks so every one-on-one the manager had with the seller reinforced the “new approaches” in a consistent and methodical way. In addition, anything related to messaging, product knowledge, or content was built into a video coaching tool so sellers could frequently be certified on their skills – and the most highly scored videos were shared as reinforcement tools for the rest of the team.

Finally, we updated the quarterly seller performance and skill assessments to reflect any new changes to ensure consistent evaluation was being done across all measures.

Prior to this change, seller adoption was hovering around 50 percent (about half of the sales team fully adopted the approach while the others adopted the approach half the time). Once I effectively aligned with the sales management team, enabled them for success, and integrated all enablement initiatives into their coaching and assessment frameworks, seller adoption went up to 80 percent and a direct impact could be seen on the core funnel metrics (including both leading and lagging indicators), which are the KPIs to which I track my sales enablement initiatives – demonstrating a direct impact and ROI of enablement across the sales organization.

Jen Burns is head of global revenue enablement at Revinate and a member of the board of directors for the Sales Enablement Society.