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Sales Effectiveness

Avoid These Mistakes When Implementing Sales Collaboration Software

August 19, 2020

You’ve done extensive research, made it through the buying cycle, vetted out all of the other vendors, and have finally made your decision. It’s over! Right?

Completing a quality implementation of new software is crucial to its success (and to the justification of your recent investment). Especially, when we’re talking about any platform housing sales content, which frequently changes hands before the final delivery to a prospect. 

With that in mind, we’ve collaborated with our Customer Success team and found the five biggest missteps customers make when implementing a new Sales Content Collaboration platform:

Expecting Content Perfection

We’ve all heard the adage “perfection is the enemy of good.” There’s a solid chance part of the reason you’re buying Sales Content Collaboration software is that your content isn’t perfect today. With decentralized workflows, limited visibility, and poor searchability, how could it be? 

All you need during the implementation is a starting place. The “perfect” content will come in time, and may even grow organically from your team. With increased visibility into content, you may find some expert writers in your midst you never knew about! If you’re unsure where to begin with your content and existing content sources, check out this blog on the four places to look when building a content repository as a guide. 

Reluctant or Overworked Subject Matter Experts

Subject matter experts are some of the most crucial colleagues to engage in sales cycles and even more critical during software implementation that will house all of their knowledge. Why? Because one of the chief goals of a Sales Content Collaboration platform is to empower SMEs to answer questions in a single location (not over email, Slack, or text) and on their own time. 

You may be worried that the time required to train them on the platform might compromise their bandwidth; however, the end goal is to protect it. It may be a slightly larger lift in the near term, but it will pay dividends to their inboxes and sanity in the long run. Ombud Rx customers that engage their subject matter experts can save nearly 100 business days on proposal review.

The key to SME engagement success is to highlight the value to them and show them the light at the end of the tunnel. You may have strained SME relationships because of the one-off questions and demanding turnaround times from fast sales cycles—show them that in a matter of months, that will be a thing of the past.

Gatekeeping Process Discovery

Similar to worrying about SME engagement, the same concern arises during process discovery of the main user groups using the platform. In a standard implementation of Sales Content Collaboration software, the vendor will likely run a quick discovery with each user group (think Sales, Sales Engineering, Proposals, Security, etc.) to uncover the nuances of their current processes. 

Even if you think you have a handle on what those processes look like, you may be surprised by what a third-party may uncover. Ombud’s Customer Success team frequently learns of groups not following current SOPs, different regions having different processes, and even discovering content gold mines along the way. The good news: these are all common and can be ripe opportunities for process optimization and improvement!

Additionally, spending quality time listening to individual contributors and understanding their process plays a significant role in the adoption of that individual and those in their networks. A discovery participant can create more excitement about the platform than a formal communication plan by merely being a huge advocate and champion.

Tiptoeing Around Integrations

It’s no surprise that integrations will be an essential part of your software implementation—they’ve moved from being a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have,” especially in the sales technology landscape. Recently, we’ve seen a considerable push in the security and compliance regulations your IT teams are beholden to, for instance. These put more weight on the IT team’s shoulders, and you may be worried about adding another item to their list. 

To keep up with the fast-paced timeline of a software implementation, engage your IT team on Day 1. Share your project requirements, needs, and associated timeframe. Early communication will enable them to meet deadlines or quickly determine if they cannot reach them—giving you time to adjust and set expectations.

Ripping Off The “First Project” Band-Aid

Especially in the last few months, we’ve all had our fill of change. It can often be hard to find someone willing to volunteer their project as the first through a new system. To ensure success, pick a project with a generous timeline or standard format—the simpler and cleaner the final deliverable, the better. We don’t want to remove the training wheels only to reveal we’re going down a hill with a 30% grade. Take your first projects slow and hand-hold your users through the system. If users get tripped up on their first project, it could hinder adoption!

Consider finding an internal “evangelist” as the first person to have a project go from start to completion. This person may be one of those team members who were enthusiastic in the process discovery sessions. Remember: even though you went through the sales cycle and were sold on this product, the rest of your team wasn’t. Be diligent in celebrating successes and show dedication to working out any kinks. 

Triumphant Implementation = Long-Term Success

Ultimately, many software purchases aren’t just as simple as buying a new tool. Many times, especially with sales technology, they fundamentally change how your team handles processes and automates pieces of the puzzle. A robust and thorough implementation will help your organization run better and allow you to get the full value of the new software. 

You won’t be an expert on the software on Day 1, and your team won’t understand all of the intricacies for a couple of months - and that’s okay! Change takes time and practice to get right. Be patient with your team and the process and come into implementation with an open mind. When you’re willing to look at your operations with a critical lens, you’ll be amazed at the efficiencies you can find. 

With this in mind, the most crucial relationship in software purchases is between the team using the software, and the vendor’s customer success team. Having an open line of communication and an empathetic vendor team willing to train and adjust best practices to fit your needs can be the difference between a success and a failure. 

That’s why Ombud equips every customer with a dedicated Customer Success Manager who walks them through implementation and continues the relationship throughout the lifecycle of the account. 

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