Your People are Not the Problem – Your Technology Is.
“My people don’t have the necessary skills to adopt modern technology.”
As 4-Tell has introduced our innovative Smart Commerce℠ Platform to customers and prospects, we have heard this reply an unfathomable amount of times from B2B enterprises.
This response is far from novel. Across industries and various company sizes, many managers believe their workforces’ lack of digital abilities will be the main barrier to transformation. In fact, 54% of C-suite executives polled by management consultancy A.T. Kearney said that having a corporate culture unable to embrace digital technologies was one of their biggest barriers to digital transformation.
Despite these preconceived views, the adoption of sales technology has proliferated – social networking platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, and communication and collaboration tools are becoming deeply ingrained in the sales process and revolutionizing the way salespeople are able to connect with others.
According to a LinkedIn survey called “State of Sales 2017,” an overwhelming 91% of sales professionals say that they are using such technologies to shorten lengthy sales cycles, close bigger deals and grow their revenue. Correspondingly, 90% of sales professionals report that sales technology is either “important” or “very important” for closing deals.
Looking down from the precipice of digital transformation, it’s apparent that sales teams with varying degrees of tech-abilities and generational predispositions have the means to adopt technology – people are not the problem.
Rather, businesses should evaluate the solutions they have historically implemented and ask themselves if the technology increases productivity through simplification. Does it automate processes? Connect disparate information? Compute and recognize patterns in large datasets? Does it create a more efficient sales process and provide valuable insights in a way that positively and significantly impacts the longevity, productivity and successes of salespeople?
Businesses must be committed to implementing the technologies that answer these questions with a resounding ‘yes.’ Without solutions that can elevate the salesperson to a full participant in the buyer journey by eliminating technology barriers, the technology will never be fully adopted by end users and digital transformation cannot occur.
The Case for User Adoption: CRM & EHR
Many companies have recognized these limitations in digital solutions and evolved their product over time to improve user adoption and support a more efficient sales process.
Take, for example, the evolution of customer relationship management (CRM) technology. While CRM systems have become an integral component of B2B sales, the industry only recently experienced rapid growth.
Lacking the efficiency and usability to aid in a more successful sales process, many reps resisted the technology at first. Traditional CRM systems required sales reps to spend time inputting data and correcting data errors – this was time taken away from critical activities, like calling potentially prospects, that drive revenue and dictate individual paychecks.
Salesforce responded to workforces’ laments with a CRM technology that had the capability to connect data and automate sales processes across separate and distinct systems. Specifically, in the last few years, Salesforce has immensely expanded their network of partners to include over 4,000 apps as well as the support of API integrations from the majority of third-party software’s – vastly increasing the solutions flexibility, usability and efficiency.
Creating this Salesforce ecosystem has eliminated barriers caused by complex technology, allowing salespeople to simplify their processes and garner greater value across all technologies. Equipped with comprehensive customer information and additional time that doesn’t have to be spent inputting data, sales are empowered to add more value where it matters – with customers.
Considering the increase in sales reps productivity that was realized with Salesforce, user adoption rates have soared. Just last year alone, overall CRM usage increased from 56% to 74%.
This same scenario has played out in healthcare with the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR). As the initial EHR solution required healthcare professionals to deviate from their workflow to manually input data, the systems eventually evolved to include functionalities that better addressed the needs of physicians. With more efficient solutions that positively impacted clinical workflow, adoption rates increased accordingly – Since 2008, office-based physician adoption of an EHR has nearly doubled from 42% to 87%.
Elevate your Workforce and Achieve Digital Transformation through Machine Learning
These adoption patterns paint a clear picture: technology must support, and not be a barrier, to human interaction. Tech solutions must simplify processes and complex data sets so your people have the knowledge, time and opportunities to drive deeper customer relationships.
How technology can accomplish this is where the advancement of machine learning meets reality. Through machine learning, large data sets can be consolidated and computed so that the data informs the system and the system informs the person. It removes human data entry from the process, providing your workforce more time and relevant intelligence to do what we as humans are experts at – building relationships through collaboration.
With this in mind, 4-Tell has used machine learning as the foundation for our Smart Commerce ℠ Platform. Our platform connects and simplifies sales processes so that anyone, regardless of abilities, can use our technology. Accomplished by consolidating datasets and applying machine learning, our platform automatically presents predictive intelligence in a way that is easy to consume – ultimately, providing the time, insights and usability for sellers to support buyer relationships that drive loyalty and revenue.
Now, we’re not naïve to think that implementing a new solution won’t have its fair share of difficulties – necessary cultural shifts may need to follow to make way for this immersive technology. However, as your digital partner, 4-Tell is committed to enabling this digital transformation so that people and technology are working seamlessly together to increase revenue-driving buyer experiences.
Your people have the skills to adopt innovative technology – your technology just needs to be simpler than you ever imagined.