Selecting and Implementing Sales Engagement Software: Part Two – Preparing For and Overcoming Objections & Building Buy-In

Jan 7, 2022

A key part of actually getting a new field sales software implemented for your team is turning the other people involved in the process into advocates for it.

Sure, you’re excited about the possibilities it can open up for your sales team in terms of sales effectiveness and productivity and you know your company can benefit greatly from it. But none of that matters if you’re still the only one fully on board with it.

In our Part 1 article on the first half of the process in selecting and implementing a new sales engagement software, we covered why and how you should forecast the ROI of a new tool and objectively pinpoint the best option for your team. That is “gate” #1 and #2 that you’ll encounter in the process.

The four gates of the process to select and adopt sales engagement software.
To get a new field sales engagement tool adopted, the champion will need to pass through several “gates” on the road to making this happen.

The second half of the strategic process is preparing for and overcoming objections and building buy-in from your colleagues and key decision-makers. This is gates #3 and #4 of the process and what we’ll break down in this article.

As we introduced in the Part 1 article, our example use case was one of the sales directors (referred to as the “champion”) from a medical diagnostics technology company. The champion is looking to implement a new field sales engagement tool across their team of medical device sales reps to help reduce planning/admin time and increase sales effectiveness.

So at this point, the champion has put together a strong case for why a tool like this should be implemented. They are armed with a package that includes the forecasted ROI from implementing field sales engagement software, which was strengthened by input directly from sales leaders on the team. Plus, they’ve utilized a strategic method to pinpoint the best objective recommendation for exactly which tool may be the best fit.

Now it’s time for the champion to get everyone else on board with the idea. That has to happen before a purchase can be made and the tool successfully implemented.

Gate #3 – Preparing For and Overcoming Objections from Key Decision Makers

Two men and a woman step 3 overcoming objections from key decision makers.
One of the best ways to overcome objections is to anticipate them and prepare for them ahead of time. 

This is another situation where preparation is going to be key. Any good sales professional will agree, one of the best ways to overcome objections is to anticipate them and prepare for them ahead of time.

Essentially what is happening in the rest of this process is the champion will be selling the idea of a new sales rep software to the other key decision-makers. Building buy-in will be much easier when the champion effectively prepares for the specific objections they may hear before the tool can be implemented.

Breaking Down a Purchase Plan

To start preparing for the objections that may be encountered, it is helpful to make sure the purchase plan of the new sales engagement software is broken down. In doing this, then the champion can detail which key decision-maker will need to be involved in each step. This will help frame what each decision-maker really cares about and the objections they may have.

In most cases, the purchase plan will involve the following steps:

  1. Gathering requirements that the tool should meet
  2. Evaluation of the vendor options
  3. Selection of a vendor/software based on the evaluation
  4. Negotiation of the vendor agreement
  5. Review of the agreement
  6. Agreement/Contract signing
  7. Onboarding

As we discussed in the Part 1 article of this series, the first three steps of this purchase plan are what the champion has already encountered. In Gate #1 of the process of selecting and implementing a software, they’ve forecasted the ROI of a new tool. Then in Gate #2, they gathered requirements, scored and evaluated options, and objectively selected a vendor, which is steps 1 though 3 of the purchase plan above.

Steps 4 through 7 in the purchase plan will come after objections have been overcome and buy-in has been achieved.  

Pinpoint the Decision-Makers & What They Care About Most

Just like the champion has laid out the purchase plan, it’s important that they also identify each of the key decision-makers that will be involved in this process. Then, it’s important to think about what each one really cares about. Because, more than likely, the objections are going to be based on those things.

Having all of this information put together before bringing in each decision-maker will make overcoming any objections much easier. Then you can ensure you are armed with the information the decision-makers will want to see and hear to help them get on board.

The key decision-makers, when exactly they should be brought into the purchase plan, what they care about, and what their objections are or most likely would be can include:

Sales Leaders –

When: As forecasting ROI is being done.
What they care about:  Hitting revenue targets and continued growth.
What their objections are:  If the new software will actually deliver ROI and if the sales reps will actually use it.

Sales reps –

When:  When gathering the requirements that the tool needs to meet.
What they care about:  Having a tool that makes their day-to-day job easier and streamlines processes.
What their objections are:  They don’t want to be “big-brothered”.
*It is extremely helpful to involve sales reps in this process early because reps’ refusal to adopt a tool can significantly hurt ROI.

Marketing and Sales Ops (optional) –

When:  When gathering the requirements that the tool needs to meet.
What they care about:  Getting data about customers, prospects, and sales performance.
What their objections are:  Lack of integration into their core tool of record (usually a CRM) or lack of adequate reporting capabilities.
*It can be advantageous to involve marketing and sales ops because they may also have a use for a field sales software and could help generate buy-in or even allocate some of their budget to the purchase.

IT –

When:  When gathering the requirements that the tool needs to meet.
What they care about:  Data security and compatibility with other software the business uses.
What their objections are:A lack of compliance with security protocols and overwritten, lost, or duplicated data.

When:  Once you have selected a vendor and are negotiating your agreement, the business’ legal counsel may need to review the agreement with the chosen vendor.
What they care about:  Making sure that the terms of the agreement are favorable for the business (ie. you can get out of the contract if the vendor isn’t working out).
What their objections are:  Being locked into an unfavorable contract.

Finance –

When:  After a vendor is chosen, budget approval may be needed from the finance department.
What they care about:  Maximizing company profitability, minimizing liabilities, and managing cash flow.
What their objections are:  If the new tool will deliver ROI, the contract terms like length, up-front payments, or additional fees down the road.

So, at this point, the champion has pinpointed when is the best point in the process to bring in each key-decision maker. But, to be properly prepared for the objections, it is critical for the champion to actually do it.

Doing so will help base the implementation on real input from the decision-makers along the way, which helps those decision-makers feel more involved while also giving the champion a better opportunity to strategically generate buy-in from everyone.

Using the Forecasted ROI to Help Overcome Objections

The probable ROI of implementing this new sales engagement software is going to be one of the best weapons against several objections that could come up in the process. This is especially true when trying to build buy-in from the sales leaders, finance department, and any executives who may be involved in the final decision.

So, taking time in Gate #1 of this process (covered in the Part 1 article) will help ensure a solid foundation of information to make a pitch for the tool. Bringing a sales leader into the process of forecasting and summarizing the ROI will help refine that information even further, making it even more impactful on the other decision-makers.

Gate #4 – Building Buy-In

shaking hands selecting and implementing software step four building buy-in
Building buy-in should be happening throughout the entire process as a snowball building from the start versus an across-the-board effort at the end of the process.

This is broken out as a separate step but, as we’ve touched on above, this should be happening throughout the entire process so far with many of the key decision-makers. If building buy-in is approached as a snowball building from the start versus an across-the-board effort at the end of the process, the end goal will be much more achievable.

Of course, in some cases, there may be some executives who will be involved in the final decision-making at the end of 3rd step and into the 4th step of the purchase plan where a vendor agreement is negotiated. But, by that point, all of the other key decision-makers, if they were involved early, will be on board and ready to go.

Now, after generating the necessary buy-in and negotiating with the vendor, there should be a signed agreement with a vendor that everyone is excited about and a software that will deliver the forecasted ROI for the company.

Onboarding is Crucial to Full Software Implementation

It is important to note that successful implementation of the new sales engagement software doesn’t end when the vendor agreement is signed. Simply handing the new tool over to the sales reps will rarely equal full adoption. So, onboarding for the new software is a very important part of the process. This includes hands-on training and ongoing support for the software.

Proper tech onboarding will ensure every rep is comfortable using it, can fully leverage its features, and that the company achieves that forecasted ROI if implementation.

In the case of the champion from the medical diagnostics device company, they secured the sales engagement software that best fit their company’s requirements and after in-depth onboarding for the tool, the sales team is seeing:

  • More time selling versus planning, building sales routes, data entry, and other admin work.
  • Increased opportunity for prospecting while visiting customers.
  • More impactful communications with customers and prospects.
  • Better reporting and sales data management.

A Strategic Process is the Key to Selecting & Implementing a New Sales Engagement Software

As you can see, successfully implementing a new sales engagement software for your team requires a strategic process. Especially if you expect to achieve full adoption and a return on investment.

The process and tools we have covered in these two articles will help to not only find a specific tool that will meet the unique needs of your sales team but also deliver ROI and continued growth for your business.