By Ken Wax
People vary—some may be surprisingly unfamiliar with technology. At one client, it was clear some salespeople were stalling and finding excuses for not using the new customer management software. One privately confessed that he “just didn’t really understand this stuff.” At home, the only way he knew to get online was through AOL, and he felt intimidated by the whole thing.
It turns out this is not uncommon. I know a very successful entrepreneur who runs several small businesses, but only uses technology in a few very specific ways. He’s a bright guy in many ways, but because there’s no “intro course” on how the web and email works; it’s still an area where he’s uncomfortable. He’s actually worried about messing up his computer and wiping things out by pressing the wrong button.
At that client, we fixed the problem by finding three very short and easy to follow videos on YouTube. They were very simple. We laid them out in a list in an email, with hotlinks so a click would take you there. It was presented as “the 9 minute course” and the email explained everyone was expected to find nine minutes over the weekend to take it. This nine-minute plan jump-started the process—even with the least tech-savvy members on the team.
At another client, salespeople had resisted putting their activities into Salesforce.com because, well, they liked the old system where no one knew what they were doing. In today’s world, however, ignorance is not bliss. Management can’t seize opportunities if they’re operating blindly.
Here’s how that problem was fixed in less than a week. During the weekly meeting, the sales manager mentioned that, starting Monday, his boss would be only looking at the online data when he wanted to see what was going on, what was in the pipeline, activity levels, etc. Later that day, an email to the team repeated that message, and offered help to anyone who was having trouble understanding what to do. The subject line started with, “IMPORTANT” and the email ended with, “So beginning Monday, if it’s not in the system, it doesn’t exist and no one will know about it.” Problem solved.