All too often IT initiatives that are designed to support the sales organization seem to fail or become caught up in the quagmire of internal review and approval processes. If you are a Sales Executive that is about to engage in an IT initiative that will impact your sales organization, here are five critical points that you need to consider.
1. Get involved early and often. You need to do much more than show up at the initial project scoping session and drop by for the final review meeting. Many critical decisions about the solution are made throughout the design and implementation process, and in many cases these decisions cannot be reversed at a later point in time. If you do not have the availability to stay involved during the process, assign a respected representative to sit in for you at the design and implementation milestone meetings. Insure that your requirements are fully represented in the system requirements documents.
2. Limit the scope of the project to mission critical items. Many times the best of intentions seem to overly complicate the final solution. Do not try to “boil the ocean”. Keep your initial solution very focused on mission critical elements of your sales organization. You are much better off to take an incremental approach to the application development than to come up with the perfect solution that will fix all of your problems.
3. Leverage a proven solution. Software companies are always coming out with the next best solution. You should only select a solution that has several customers already using the elements that you consider important. Being a beta customer is very risky and should only be done when no other options are available or in a very limited test group within your organization.
4. Understand exactly how the new solution will help your sales team be more successful. In order for any new application to be embraced and used by your sales team they must clearly see the value in how this new application will help them sell more. If this is not clear then you will have a very difficult time getting your organization to adopt the new technology.
5. Invest your time in communications and change management. Many great solutions have failed simply due to the fact that the senior leader did not demonstrate their support of the new solution. You need to clearly lead the communications and change management efforts if you want your sales organization to change how they do their job. This is true if you are implementing a CRM solution, a new proposal writing solution, sales compensation administration solution or any other application that is designed to help your sales organization be more successful.
By following these five rules you will greatly increase your chances of success when adopting new technologies for your sales organization.