Question: How much is a revenue enablement tool worth if no one uses it?
Answer: Not much.
Sales rep adoption is critical for an enablement tool to succeed, but many Sales Enablement Managers think that simply putting a tool in front of them will get buy-in from the team. Realistically, teams need a more measured process known as a soft launch to get the sales team on board. We briefly discussed the concept of a soft launch in our 30 Day Launch Guide for implementing a revenue enablement tool, but in this blog we’re going to dive a bit deeper into what it is and how it can help you get the best adoption rates from your users.
Let's Start At The Beginning, What Is A Soft Launch?
A soft launch is simply giving a few users access to the platform 2 to 3 weeks before the actual launch, allowing them to start playing with the tool and provide feedback. A handful of, carefully chosen, users will begin onboarding and give you feedback on the platform to suggest changes and identify problems before all your users join, cutting down on the chaos of a full launch and catching any issues before they arise. In addition, the soft launch skyrockets sales user adoption by getting a few members on board earlier to create buzz and excitement around the tool.
Sales Enablement Adoption Rate is the number of people that adopt this tool into their daily workflows and find it to be a valuable tool. Things like poor launch strategy and a lack of functionality can make for a low adoption rate. The more value and usability your team members can get out of this tool the better, which is why we focus on ways to help the adoption rate through a soft launch.
Skipping a soft launch may seem less time consuming, but trust us when we say the benefits outweigh the extra time here. Skipping this step means you’re risking lower adoption rates on what was potentially a big financial commitment for your org and potentially introducing chaos during setup trying to fix the bugs you didn’t notice in onboarding.
The benefits of a revenue enablement soft launch
By having a few users on the platform while it’s still being finalized, you can get feedback on what’s working and what isn’t. Identifying these problems ahead of time, will make for better usability of the platform by the time everyone else onboards during the full launch. A smoother onboard process, also means that you’ve got a better chance of your sales reps liking and using your platform long term.
Getting feedback before the launch can also help you adjust your Scope at Launch plan. As we mentioned in the 30 Day Launch Guide, there is only so much you can do ahead of time, and it isn’t realistic to have everything integrated and set up on day 1. However, feedback from top users can help you understand which integrations and applications are most important and should be prioritized during setup.
Finally, when launching something that so many people are going to be using, there are going to be opinions and mixed feelings. Having a few of your top users on your side, can help your case and give your adoption rate a fighting chance.
Now that you know why a soft launch is important, let’s talk about how to do it.
How to soft launch
1. Set your timeline
A soft launch shouldn’t require a ton of work to complete. As part of our Implementation Guide, we include a 30 day plan that includes everything from set up to maintenance. Check out the guide below to get a sense of how this soft launch will fit into the overall implementation process.
Note: this guide is exactly that – a guide. Your actual implementation will be dictated by a few factors (your scope at launch, company size, time allocated to implement, etc.) Considering your full timeline and making a plan for when you’ll start the soft launch is a good first step.
2. Pick your users
Who are your influencers? For this step, you’ll need to identify the reps that set the tone for the team – either due to seniority or popularity, and get them active within the platform. Excitement from these reps will ultimately be the key reason many other reps on the team end up trying and using the platform at all.
3. Adjust with feedback
Once your soft launch users have started onboarding to the platform, you want to ask and follow through with thoughts and insights they share. We suggest asking for feedback and suggestions around the following areas:
- Functionality – does the tool provide value?
- How do you see yourself using this tool for your daily tasks?
- Integrations – what integrations do you see yourself using the most?
- Technical issues – report any technical issues or flaws you run into!
Hopefully we’ve given you a little bit of insight into one of the key ways you can get your team onboard for your revenue implementation tool. For a more detailed understanding of the finer grain steps in launching a revenue implementation platform, download our full guide – and check out our Enablement Cookbook for other helpful tips from enablement experts.