We write frequently about aligning your sales process to your ideal customer’s buying process. Here is a great recent post from my colleague Matt Sharrers on the topic. If you don’t do this, you’re mis-aligned with your buyers. Frustration results. The reps don’t use it because it doesn’t work. You miss the number.
But there is another reason some companies’ reps don’t use the process. Even if it’s a well-designed one. You focused so much on creation and rollout that you neglected reinforcement. You held a big rollout event. Everyone flew in for it. Then they all went home. Life got in the way. A year later you ride in the car with a rep. He takes you to a big appointment. Amazed, you watch him visit with the prospect. No call objectives are stated or achieved. The rep believes he’s impressed you by showing you how much rapport he’s built. Meanwhile, nobody makes a purchase decision.
Sign up for the Reinforcement Framework Tool. It’s a customizable example of how to create a reinforcement plan that works.
Many sales processes are devoid of an adoption and reinforcement plan. You spend all your energy upstream of the training event. Selecting a vendor to partner with. Performing discovery. Building a process. Creating tools. Embedding it in your CRM. The event happens and it’s a huge success. Then you wait. It takes time to run the new process against a set of sales opportunities. The normal sales cycle plays out, and revenue doesn’t improve. What happened?
Let’s review what a real adoption plan looks like:
In this generic example, it’s all about a defined and executed cadence of activities. First a set of activities is created. Communication is delivered to the field by the CSO. Team meetings are run by sales managers. Leadership reviews metrics. Leadership reviews deals as they enter certain phases. Win/Loss/No Decision reviews are completed like clockwork. You’re all collaborating on Chatter, Yammer, or Jive. The process and tools are iterated and improved as the team learns.
Seems obvious, right? Then why doesn’t it happen? There’s too much going on. You and your team left the training event to find 500 e-mails waiting. Three other initiatives are pending. Customers are screaming. Everyone has the best of intentions, and months slip by.
Here’s where you may want to consider a professional services firm to help execute. Firms like ours can help build a plan. As importantly, we can help you run it. In the example above, some activities are run by the company. And some are run or shadowed by SBI. This works because there’s an entity involved that does nothing but focus on adoption.
You may be able to do this internally. Many organizations who recognize the need for an adoption plan try. The SVP tells the CEO he “owns” the adoption. Then he has to go to EMEA for a week. Then there’s a board meeting to prepare for. Then his top director quits. As I said before: life gets in the way.
Reinforcement plans aren’t limited to sales process rollouts, of course. All successful initiatives require them to succeed. For example, the Reinforcement Framework Tool was created to reinforce sales leadership training. It’s a real artifact from a recent engagement. Download it here.
Reinforcement and adoption are frequently overlooked. Ask yourself: how are you assuring adoption of your company’s current initiatives?