My IT Staffing Firm Has a New Sales Methodology. Now What?
You’re fully convinced a sales methodology can help your IT staffing firm scale . You know that getting all your reps to follow the same sales methodology will drive consistent, repeatable performance. You understand it will allow your firm to bring new reps on board faster and more effectively and accelerate time to quota attainment.
As you probably know from experience, salespeople tend to be set in their ways. They sell the way they’re comfortable selling and avoid straying from their comfort zones. They do whatever they feel has worked for them in the past, regardless of what their sales managers and company policies tell them.
Your firm adopted a sales methodology for a good reason . How can you get your “lone wolf” sales reps to follow it?
Three Questions to Ask to Make a New Sales Methodology Stick
When most companies introduce something new, they tend to overemphasize the design and launch of the program and under-emphasize what comes after. In other words, they are not prepared for the amount of effort it takes to sustain and reinforce the change so it permeates the entire organization. This is the first mistake IT staffing firms make when they implement a new sales methodology.
So, along with designing and planning the launch of your new sales methodology, ask yourself three questions:
- What is the degree of change required by your organization for the methodology to be implemented and adopted?
- How much change management is needed to sustain and support the sales team so they adopt the methodology long term?
- What level of support is the executive leadership team able and willing to commit to for supporting their sales team in the adoption of the new sales methodology?
Change is a Process
I encourage the firms I work with to think of change as a process, not an event. Sweeping edicts unleashed from the corner office usually don’t lead to sweeping change.
At best, people make a half-hearted stab at the new way of doing things and quickly revert to their old ways. At worse, the new sales methodology is ignored.
Instead of making demands and expecting them to be followed, map out a user adoption plan. This is the process through which you’ll help everyone in your firm learn, use, and benefit from the new sales methodology. Include in your user adoption plan:
- What your sales team can expect from their managers, including how they'll be supported.
- How they'll be coached.
- How they'll be evaluated on what they've learned in their training on the new methodology.
What I’m talking about here is change management. Change management is the practice of driving business results by changing behaviors. To do this you will need a plan to sustain the change.
How To Use Change Management to Get Stubborn Reps to Use Your Sales Methodology
For any new initiative to take hold throughout your company, you must plan for change in three ways:
- Plan to communicate the change. Show your reps why your firm is implementing the new sales methodology and how it will benefit everyone, including them. Show them “the promised land.”
- Plan for transitioning the change. Your reps — especially the veterans — will inevitably have objections to your new methodology. You must have a plan in place to respond to these objections as you transition from the old system to the new one.
- Plan to sustain the change. You don’t want your reps retreating to their old, bad habits. You need a plan in place to check in periodically to reinforce best practices.
A Sample User Adoption Plan for an IT Staffing Sales Methodology
At Menemsha Group, when we help firms implement a new sales methodology, we also introduce a user adoption plan to help them commit to it. In that plan, we recommend:
- Consistent and unified communication from the entire management team that supports the changes needed to implement and support the program permeating your entire organization.
- Weekly coaching calls between managers and reps.
- Monthly coaching calls between the sales leader and sales managers.
- Quarterly workshops for everyone, including senior leadership, to practice and reinforce the methodology.
- Monthly meetings hosted by executive leadership sharing best practices and success stories.
What Is This ‘Sales Methodology’ Thing Anyway?
If you’ve made it this far in the article and aren’t sure what a sales methodology is or how it can help your IT staffing firm break through your revenue barriers, congratulations. And sorry for the confusion. My new ebook should clear everything up.
Click the banner below for your free copy of “Sales Methodology 101 for IT Staffing Firms: Your 6 Big Questions Answered.” Then come back here and ask any question you want — about a sales methodology or change management — in the comments section below.
About Dan Fisher
Dan Fisher is founder and owner of Menemsha Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions dedicated to helping IT staffing firms improve win rates, shorten their sales cycle, and increase revenue per sales rep. Since launching Menemsha Group in 2008, Dan has consulted with over 200 IT staffing firms and has invested over 5000 hours coaching IT staffing sales reps. He’s authored is his own proprietary sales methodology and has previously spoken at Staffing World, TechServe Alliance and Bullhorn Live 2012. Prior to launching Menemsha Group, Dan spent 16 years in the IT industry running local, regional and national sales teams. Dan worked for Kelly Services, Oracle Corporation and Alliance Consulting. Dan currently resides in Boston, Ma.