There’s a lot of talk today about technology changing the world – from Blockchain to the IoT. But despite all the hype, one simple fact remains: technology is nothing without the right people to harness it.

While tech adoption has been slow in many organisations, tech education has lagged behind still further. According to Salesforce, just 20% of companies have all the marketing and sales technology they need and make full use of it. While only 13% of b2b marketers and sales teams are ‘very confident’ in their knowledge and capacity to implement AI effectively.

As we enter Sales 4.0, technology will be omnipresent in high-performing B2B organisations. And that means the people and processes organisations use to support, harness and optimise their technology will have to evolve just as fast as the gear itself.

Here’s what you need to do to prepare your people for sales 4.0:

  1. Lay out a vision for change

It is vital that you communicate a clear vision for how you expect technology’s role in your organisation to expand. This will help individuals understand how their own role is likely to change, and generate trust in your leadership.

This doesn’t have to be a granular timeline outlining every step of the journey; think of it more as a roadmap that will help guide you through an iterative process of technological evolution.

  1. Develop internal processes

As you introduce new technology to the sales process, you will need to develop processes alongside it that enable your team to make the most of the tech’s potential. Without this, you are liable to discover gaps in your system which create waste – or worse, have an active negative impact on your efforts.

The key is to map each part of the sales processes out, ensuring each is connected in a clear and effective way. If, for example, you want to automate decision making, this needs to be made clear to the stakeholders who would historically have made these decisions; otherwise you risk a huge waste of time and resources.

As your sales team moves increasingly to a remote-first approach, such carefully refined processes will help create cohesion and ensure every individual team member knows what is expected of them – and what is available to them, technologically.

  1. Provide education

There is no value in putting a powerful tech stack behind your sales team if they don’t know how to use it. Organisations should focus their energies not just on procuring and implementing the right technology, but showing their teams how it works.

Many salespeople have an active aversion to technology: they fear being made obsolete, or having their roles heavily automated. But the reality is any technology you introduce should share a common goal with your human salespeople. This should be emphasised throughout the education process, so that your people actively want to use the tech – because it will help them improve their own performance.

  1. Create the right incentives

If you are investing heavily in technology, you need to ensure it doesn’t create internal conflict. Incentives (such as bonuses) must not be put in jeopardy by the use of tech. Instead, each team member’s goals should be carefully calibrated to ensure that they embrace the new way of working.

It’s also important to rethink your strategic goals in-line with new technology: are the metrics you currently focus on still relevant? And are there newer, better ways of measuring performance now at your disposal? These questions should be answered before implementing new tech – otherwise you will risk wasting an opportunity.

  1. Think long-term

Finally, organisations must take a long-term view of technology from the start. Introducing tech piecemeal may be the only realistic option for many budgets, but that doesn’t mean you have to approach things in the same way strategically.

From who you hire to what skills you develop in your sales teams, the decisions you make today will affect how impactful your technology is in five years time. So make sure you consider the long-term implications of each and every decision you make, and understand that sometimes you need to invest now to reap the full benefits later.

Ampli is working with some of the UK’s most respected UK b2b brands in their transition to Sales 4.0.  For more information on how we can support your business make this critical transition, please get in touch today.