How Business Leaders Guide Adoption Of New Products, Tools, Ideas

The challenge of getting your organization to adopt something – a new piece of software; a new business strategy; a new anything – can sometimes be daunting.

The journey towards adoption becomes all that more meaningful when you’re moving an organization in new directions.

Rob Jeppsen, SVP Commercial Sales for Zions Bank, presented at DF13 his approaches to earning organizational adoption of Salesforce.com.

The lessons, though, can be used by any leader looking to guide change.

Jeppsen used successfully a three step process wherein the leader of the organization or the adoption effort is crucial. If adoption isn’t happening, he said, it’s often due to weak leadership skills.

Adoption, he stressed, continues throughout – it’s a continual process, even when you think you might be done.

Jeppson’s three phases of adoption, as applied to getting his sales team to use Salesforce.com

1. Mandatory – You have to set the tone from the start. If you don’t have adoption, look in the mirror (leadership brings adoption)

  • Goal – Start the engine
  • Strategy – Try to model awesomeness
  • Key Tactics –
    • Managers must use Salesforce as single source of truth
    • Dig Deeper Into Data – Move past pipelines and outcomes and into activities
    • Use Data To Make Predictions – this will help “unstick” stuck deals, patterns in success/failure will appear, etc.
  • So What? –
    • Discovery of true sales process experiences
    • Officers learn value of each hour of each day
    • This is the turning point – they focus on what needs attention

2. Complimentary – show how adoption is actually helping the folks that have to do most of the “adopting.”

  • Goal – Create more sales time
  • Strategy – “Remove the Hate, Automate”
  • Key Tactics –
    • Use the new tool to transparently show success – e.g. create automated incentive worksheets;
    • Use the new tool to build standards of practice that are easily template and repeatable.
    • Review existing deals in the pipeline and optimize towards those behaviors that lead to sales
  • So What? – In Jeppsen’s case, his team sees SalesForce as something that helps them do their jobs better. There’s a little pain in implementation, but in this phase it starts to pay off.
    • For Jeppsen, the effect of this was that sales records are more complete and predictive and his sales team is more efficient.

3. Necessity – Get your team to the point where they say “I’ve got to have this, man.”

  • Goal – create a leadership team of world-class sales coaches to benefit rest of sales organization
  • Strategy – Insight is the doorway into improvement
  • Key Tactics –
    • Always learn and adapt – Jeppson implemented monthly strategy sessions;
    • Use the data to predict success (and failure) – employee development functionality using predictive metrics;
    • Create and foster clear organizational benchmarks;
  • So what?
    • Now, Jeppsen’s sales team is running TO coaching, not from
    • Record number of sales people hitting goals

All three stages are equally critical, but Jeppsen indicated that the Mandatory Phase – the first step – can often be the most painful and is always the most important.

Andrew Hickey
Director Of Digital Marketing at eCornell
Andrew is an experienced digital marketer, former journalist, copywriter and editor.
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