If you are considering taking on a new sales technology for your sales team read the SiriusDecisions recommendations for best approach and strategies when choosing this technology.

Every year, B2B companies spend millions of dollars on technologies designed to increase sales productivity. We are awash in advice about how to drive, institutionalize and enforce the use of various sales tools. Yet in many cases, acceptance and adoption by end users – primarily sales reps – remains relatively low.

Perhaps we need to take a slightly different approach by starting with users’ perceptions of the effort required to adopt the technology, and its relative usefulness. 

Sales Technology

We define effort as the work, energy and time required to learn a new technology and incorporate it into the work process or routine. Usefulness is defined as the degree to which a user believes that using a particular tool will enhance his or her job performance, ultimately making him or her more successful. Think of usefulness as the perceived fit of the technology with the tasks that must be performed and the user’s job profile.

An easy example of low effort and high usefulness is searching on Google. As far as I know, no sales rep has ever attended a training class on how to use Google search. There are no manuals, no workshops, no facilitators and no self-proclaimed “rock stars.”

Any sales rep can launch a browser on any device, enter an account or customer name and get instant information and insights about the company. Of course, there are some tricks to narrowing search criteria, using Web-friendly words and filtering results, but these are easy to learn and readily available by, yes, doing a Google search for “how to search on Google.”

The point is, the effort required to learn and use the technology is extremely low, while the degree of usefulness is extremely high. Can you say the same thing about your sales technologies and tools? The good news is that you can change users’ perceptions of usefulness and effort by defining and addressing the following factors that impact adoption:

  • Compatibility and integration with other technologies
  • Relative advantage gained by using the technology
  • Complexity
  • Frequency of use
  • Cultural and social influence – subjective norms, leadership, voluntariness, and image
  • Performance expectancy
  • Facilitating conditions such as training, skills, knowledge and change management

If you – or, more importantly, your users – put any of your tools in the lower left quadrant of the graph above, perhaps it’s time for some introspection and serious consideration of what must change to promote and encourage adoption.