So you’ve made the decision to specialize your sales operation with a dedicated prospecting and lead management function; now how do you get buy-in and adoption from your sales team?
This is a common challenge companies face when rolling out a new business development program. Placing an emphasis on prospecting efforts and tracking leads will bring a higher level of activity to manage, new processes to learn, and more visibility/conversation regarding the sales pipeline; none of which the typical sales rep will immediately get excited to add into their day-to-day. For your initiative to be successful, you need sales reps to implement the new strategy through their participation. Creating a culture shift to accomplish this task can seem overwhelming, but it is necessary to see the benefits of your new direction.
5 Ways to Effectively Implement a Lead Program with Sales Reps
Start From the Top. Leadership needs to be dedicated to the new business development initiative. This will set the tone and define expectations within the organization. High-level management also needs to hold their Sales Managers and Sales Reps accountable to them for participation.
Make it Measurable. Create goals to measure participation in the program, along with success milestones. An example of a goal to measure participation would be to have the reps’ leads be 80% updated with the next step for all leads received in the last 30 days. An example of success in achieving the program’s milestones would be to show participation in deals within the first 90 days. Goal setting can be tough, Notre Dame University Alliance gives guidance on this topic withSix Tips for Setting Business Goals.
Keep it Simple. Ensure that what you are asking your sales team to do is not only relevant to their day-to-day, but simple to incorporate. For example, don’t ask your sales reps to suddenly become expert CRM Administrators for your database to manage their leads and sales pipeline. Giving reps a simple task to update a field in a CRM would be more appropriate at this initial stage of the program and it will allow you to track the progress of the program as a result.
Communicate. When rolling out a new initiative, you are asking individuals of varying skill sets, perceptions, and interest levels to do something new. It is critical that you have communicated what is expected of them, how this incorporates into the company direction, along with why this benefits their role. Also, share successes with the group once the program is in motion; this brings credibility to the program. Sales reps are competitive and like to be in the spotlight for their successes; play that card to improve your rep adoption.
Take Action. In order for a program to be a success, it needs to be reviewed at least once per week, along with a formal monthly and quarterly review of overall progress. You need to be prepared to ask questions. Why aren’t leads being updated? How are you managing the leads? If the answers aren’t meeting your expectations set, you need to manage those expectations and hold yourself and your team accountable. This is constant management you will find yourself repeating frequently, especially during the initial rollout. Barrett Riddleberger, CEO of XPotential Selling, gives ideas on structuring these discussions with5 Ways Smart Sales Leaders Successfully Conduct Accountability Conversations.