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From shop floor automation to the enterprise systems running the business, manufacturers are beginning to understand the importance of being at the forefront of technology investments. When it comes to new technology adoption, not all investments are created equal. Investments in shop floor automation are widely adopted because there is simply no alternative to doing so. The introduction of a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software platform to run business operations must also be adopted.
But what happens when an employee can still accomplish their tasks without adopting the new technology? As human beings, we are all creatures of habit who are often resistant to change unless we are absolutely forced to adjust. This is perhaps most true as it pertains to the daily routines and habits of sales reps. Successful sales reps have built their careers operating a particular way that has delivered results year in and year out, so why change? Why should sales reps want to adopt new software tools that are directed to them?
In my previous role as an Inside Sales Rep at a domestic steel manufacturer, I directly supported one of the most Senior Territory Sales Managers at the company. In terms of industry knowledge, his was above and beyond any of his counterparts by a wide margin. The same could be said about the level of trust he’d earned with key customers over the years, but from a sales technology standpoint, he struggled to use even basic tools like Excel.
Working in the steel industry, it became very clear to me early on that the sales reps most comfortable with technology were those newest to the workforce. With this being the case, the company faced a major challenge in convincing older Senior level reps to adopt the new sales technology. Like many of the manufacturers I connect with on a daily basis, they went with a policy of forced adoption. The problem with forced adoption is that Sales Reps will only use these new software tools at a minimum required level, which will hardly provide the business analytics and data insights sought after in the first place.
The path to successfully deploying new software is through investing in tools that will actually make your employee's lives easier and potentially put more money in their pockets. These tools should be convenient and easy to use so Sales Reps wouldn’t think twice about not using them, regardless of technological comfort level.
Next time you're evaluating a software investment keep in mind these three questions to help ensure adoption:
To learn more about Atlatl’s Sales Acceleration Software Suite, including Atlatl Visual and QuoteBooks CPQ, please feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.