The Distribution Blog

Using Technology to Create a Strong First Impression with Sales Reps

July 6, 2021

Table of Contents

Distributors must implement a state-of-the-art tech stack to preserve market share, according to Ian Heller in the NAW research report, “Strategic Change During Disruption: An Industry Response to Get Smarter, Faster and Stronger.”  

Making the decision to procure innovative technology that helps your employees do a better job is one thing. Getting your team to use it daily is another challenge entirely. When the adoption rate is low for new technology, your return on investment will be disappointing at best. To avoid that disaster scenario, you need quick wins. Get your team excited about how the technology will benefit them if they use it.  

Unfortunately, you only have one chance to make a great first impression with new technology. And successful implementation and adoption of new technology starts off with that first introduction.  

To set you up for success, here are three ways to get off on the right foot:  

Train internal champions before launching to the entire team.  

Managers should be trained on the tool first. When they get excited about the technology and what it can do for the sales reps, their energy is contagious. Then they can train the sales reps and it will be much more powerful than training led by your technology vendor.  

Strong manager oversight is also important to ensure adoption of the technology. Managers should be armed with the adoption metrics your company expects since they will be responsible for tracking usage.  

Pinpoint the tech’s most powerful hook.  

There’s no reason to overwhelm your team by showcasing every bell and whistle of the new technology on day one. On the roll-out, your priority is to get reps to have an “a-ha” moment. Determine what feature of the tool will have the most immediate impact on your sales reps’ workflow today and focus training on that. When you expose sales reps to the most utilitarian or exciting feature first, it inspires them to engage.  

Over time, once they understand the value of the tool and “what’s in it for them,” you can continue training on additional functionality.  

Announce incentives for using the technology.  

Resistance to the technology can be buffered if your organization announces incentives and rewards for using the tool when it is first launched. Even simple incentives such as hours toward a day off or free lunches are quite impactful to get your team over the hump of hesitation.  

Team-based competitions are also effective. These can be announced at the tool’s launch to get sales reps motivated. Set a goal for adoption and communicate how individuals can qualify for a prize.  

It’s human nature to resist change until we see how changing is in our best interest. When your sales reps quickly realize they can make more sales (and more money) by adopting technology, they are more apt to use it. Be sure you take a proactive approach to change management and don’t squander your sales reps’ first impression.

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