5 Ways to Help Your Sales Team Embrace Change

Although it obviously has six letters, “change” has a reputation of being a four-letter word in most workplaces. You mention changes to your team in a group huddle, more than likely you’ll see expressions ranging from trepidation to outright rejection.

But change should be considered inevitable, especially if you want to keep up in a B2B industry that’s constantly evolving. Your employees are not alone in their resistance to change.

According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of CEOs, the speed of technological change was cited as one of their top 10 industry threats for 2016.

And according to a MarketingSherpa B2B marketing study from a few years ago, an astounding number of marketing teams still had not established lead scoring or lead nurturing as a practice, even though studies had shown their effectiveness.

With industry changes requiring marketing and sales teams to adapt, here are a few tips on how you can help your employees embrace change.

1. Understand Their Reluctance

To help your employees with a problem, first you must understand where they’re coming from.

Resistance to change is human nature, according to Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a professor at Harvard Business School. Some of the reasons she cited for people resisting change in the workplace include loss of control, uncertainty and concerns about how competent they will be in a new environment or under new circumstances.

2. Get Buy-in

Instead of just announcing that everyone is moving to a new strategy or a new tool — and “here it is” — include team members in the planning stage.

At the very least, let them know beforehand that changes are being considered.

3. Back It up with Facts

Change for change’s sake won’t attract many supporters. Do your research.

If you’re finding that technology, data and other innovative tools are proving to be essential in driving sales, present those findings to your team. It’s hard for employees to argue against something that will work to their advantage.

4. Provide Training

Don’t leave your sales reps out in the cold. Some may adapt to new tools or new strategies more quickly than others.

Dedicate yourself to providing the resources everyone needs to get on board. Don’t assume that everyone “gets it” before they actually do. Full adoption is key to the entire team benefiting from change.

5. Be Open to Feedback

You should always establish an environment that invites feedback, ideas and criticism. Let people air out their concerns.

Although it may not change the direction, you’ve allowed them the opportunity to vent or express their reservations. That can go a long way in minimizing resentments.

Change is not comfortable. But in a B2B sales environment that seems to be accelerating at speeds over 100 mph, taking advantage of those changes can give you the edge to outpace your competitors.

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