How to Increase the Succesful Adoption of New Sales Plays and Messaging Inside your Sales Organization
Rethinking your sales messaging is never a bad idea. But how do you keep your reps on track?
The challenges that come with sales messaging adoption are well known. Of course, there’s the hurdle of needing to prove the value of your messaging to stakeholders, but how do you then give reps the essentials to ensure this messaging excels?
Skepticism is a big deal in the live sales environment. Every rep will have their own process, flair, and ideas of what works, and what doesn’t. When your sales team is on commission, and you have specific targets and goals to hit, testing new messaging and fixing something that’s not broken is a frightening thought.
As a sales leader, it’s your job to blend these ideas in a way that drives engagement, attracts prospects, and collaborates with different schools of thought. How exactly do you do that?
Initial 5 Steps to Any Great Play Adoption
Far too often, sales organizations see messaging adoption as a secondary element of the strategy creation process. An instance of a single stakeholder writing a Play independently and drip-feeding through to a sales team to practicalize and execute – dealing with issues at a much later phase.
The reality is the adoption process actually starts much earlier in the messaging creation process. Sure, there’s no one-trick win to instant messaging adoption, but with the proper collaboration, data insight, and diversity of thought, there’s a better chance that your Play will resonate across the board. Supporting you in successfully overcoming potential hurdles before they become overly problematic.
So, any great Play adoption really begins with… designing a great Play (hardly an exclusive, right?). Here are five initial steps to help boost adoption during the messaging creation process.
1. Plan Ahead
As any inside sales aficionado will tell you, the Pre-Play planning stage is essential in designing effective sales messaging. Of course, before you begin to write a messaging strategy, you need to create a Buyer Persona and Ideal Customer Profile to help your team understand the Who and the Why, the target audience, and the purpose of the message.
Dive into Historical Data: You stand a far greater chance of successful messaging adoption (and performance!) if you take the time to sift through historical data and base your decisions on previous performance. Sales teams are far less likely to question messaging with rigorous, analytical thought behind it, than one rooted in guesswork.
2. Input from Key Stakeholders
Don’t underestimate the value of collaboration. To write a sales message that’s diverse, unique, and engaging, you need to get perspectives from different ages, cultures, and schools of thought. No two messaging styles will ever be the same. Salespeople each have their own personal flair and interpretation – and that’s a good thing.
In a regular sales environment, that’s going to include marketing teams, sales executives, business intelligence teams, and of course, the sales team as well. If you want to build a Play right, having insight from the rep’s perspective is a key component. By being involved in the process, reps are more likely to adapt to the Play and follow it through. Not to mention, you’ll be able to identify their particular role-specific challenges and pain points earlier on.
3. Design Review
Prior to rollout, the design, review and agreement stages essentially work as a safety net for all parties involved in the messaging. It’s an opportunity for key company stakeholders and messaging optimization teams to agree and finalize the Play, ensuring that everyone involved in the design, implementation and execution is firing in the same direction.
For outsourced sales teams, this is also an opportunity to negotiate with your client. Remember: no one knows the product quite like the brains behind it, and clients can be very particular and focussed on the messaging they want to use.
4. The Rollout Phase
To maximize adoption across your team, every rep must understand the why behind each step in their cadence. As part of the rollout process, explain to the sales team the purpose of the Play, the target audience, the reason for a call, LinkedIn touchpoint, email, and the data powering each of these decisions.
For us at InsideOut, we find this step makes the most sense for our reps. It helps them become more actively invested in the process rather than blindly following directions.
5. Agreeing to Commitment
Once the Play is complete, optimized and ready to go, you’ll still want to gather the thoughts, opinions and feedback from your sales team before go-live. If you can understand the challenges your reps will have early on, you’ll be able to overcome them sooner, rather than paying the price later.
Equally, work to agree to a commitment with every rep that they will run the Play as designed. If you see success very early on, great! That doesn’t mean stop there. Remember, this is a NEW Play, so it needs to be executed as closely as possible to understand its actual effectiveness.
Root Everything in Historical Data, Not Gut-Feeling
Gut-feeling is an instant route to failed Sales Play adoption. If there were one trick to instant sales messaging adoption success, it’d be basing every decision on actionable, insightful historical data.
Once you’re able to analyze particular metrics, get sales feedback and pick apart the performance of your previous messaging, you’ll be able to understand better all of the elements that motivate or drive buyers in the sales funnel, making it easier to reinforce the Play’s worth with provable numbers that matter.
Equally, once you understand what the historical sales cycle for your product looks like, you can begin to make better predictions about the overall success of a Play – based on the patterns, pipeline, and performance of the existing strategy.
It ultimately comes down to having the data to back up everything you do and say. Don’t just randomly put Plays out there and hope that it’s going to stick. Talk to the right people, and understand the value for the persona, industry, and product line. That way, if you’re challenged with a message that somebody isn’t comfortable with, you have the grounding and insight to prove its worth.
Increase Adoption Through Understanding
If your sales team doesn’t understand how to interpret the success of your sales messaging, you’re going to see a much lower rate of adoption.
There’s real value in teaching reps how to read and understand the analytics behind a Play, and with most sales enablement tools, this data is readily available at their fingertips. If they don’t understand, or can’t interpret this data, take the time to demonstrate.
Not only will this help to diagnose issues across Play execution, but it also gives the sales team a better understanding of what successful performance looks like. If they understand an open rate or a click rate within that email itself, then they’ll be able to assess their results in a different framework, more suited to the Play’s key objectives.
When an email falls flat for them, it just means that they didn’t get a reply. That’s not always the purpose behind the Sales Play. The purpose behind the Sales Play could be visibility and name recognition, and eventually getting a result because of that process.
Don’t Judge Prematurely
The feedback and insight from your sales team should have a lot of influence, but it’s very easy to judge a Sales Play prematurely. Remember, you need to have a certain number of leads go through the cadence before you can determine what’s effective and what isn’t.
It’s all about metrics with any Sales Play, not just feedback from a single individual. It’s a case of: What do the numbers tell us? Where do we see success within the Play? It’s one thing to take feedback from a sales rep saying, “this email is NOT working.” That may mean one thing to them and a totally different thing on the analytics side.
Many salespeople jump the gun to attain an instant return on investment; they don’t necessarily understand the purpose of a well-crafted Sales Play. At InsideOut, to avoid premature opinions of a Play, we educate our team to drive adoption. Plus, sales reps talk. You don’t want one apprehensive rep causing anxiety amongst others. Any feedback shared by reps should be considered, and used strategically to the overarching purpose of the Play itself.
Be Transparent & Seek Opinion
Being transparent across the entire design, implementation and execution process lends itself to easier adoption. Often, an apprehensive rep starting a new Play simply comes down to a misunderstanding of the objective. As with every good business decision, it’s being as open and transparent as possible that leads to success.
Remember, your sales team is part of the process. Define the purpose and goal of each Sales Play, minimize uncertainty, and seek feedback on a regular basis.
Look at every factor that needs to happen for the Play to excel. Analyze previous performance, collate the gold-dust data and be proactive. Through proactivity, you’ll be able to invite your team to challenge you, or find a reason why the Play doesn’t work – in a completely constructive way. Confidence in your own decision-making will boost confidence across your team, increasing adoption from the get–go.
Sales messaging adoption is crucial to the success of your organization. In this blog, we’ve explored some of the key components that can help boost adoption across your team and improve the performance of your messaging throughout.
The process can be time-consuming, especially if you’re a fast-growing company with minimal sales data to work with. We can help. At InsideOut, we specialize in the design, implementation and execution of powerful Sales Plays that win for our partners.
Using our extensive repository of historical data, we understand market variances, and know how to power every single Sales Play decision with proven process and data-driven insight that makes a valued difference.
Ready to boost Sales Play adoption? Get in touch today to discover more about what we do.
Karen De Novellis is a native of the Chicago suburbs and now a permanent snowbird residing in Florida’s bay area. As the Operations Director for InsideOut, she combines her passion for improving inside sales delivery methodologies for key clientele like Honeywell, Autodesk, and HERE Technologies with her hunger to learn and incorporate new perspectives from the company’s diverse workforce. As an advocate of sales excellence and personal growth, her 30 years of experience in sales and sales management across various verticals and geographic regions allows her to guide and elevate her teams while driving customer success. Her belief is perception comes from where one stands. The more we move and allow for change, the further we see.