This article covers best practices to align your tech stack, and any new apps you acquire, with your organization, team, and current and future goals. It’s part of a larger series of articles on best practices for revenue operations, marketing operations, sales operations, and customer operations. Get more insights into operational best practices in “The professional guide to revenue operations.”
As an operations professional, you know how important it is to use software that makes sense for your organization and team. Acquiring technology that isn’t a good fit for your use case or the people who need it is a recipe for a pile of software nobody uses. In addition to being a waste of time and effort, those low adoption rates can lead to low return on investment. And the low ROI leads to uncomfortable questions at the end of the quarter/year when budget leaders ask why your team is spending so much on software no one uses or isn’t creating value for the business.
Software adoption matters to businesses and frequently has a measurable effect on the bottom line. For example, research shows that sales organizations with less than 75% CRM adoption have noticeably lower win rates and quota attainment. The converse is true - higher CRM adoption leads to noticeably higher win rates and quota attainment.
Higher CRM adoption rates lead to higher sales win rates and quota attainment. Image courtesy CSO Insights
As we mentioned previously, an essential aspect of smoothly and efficiently implementing new technology is having (or making) friends. At a minimum, it’s worthwhile to build strong relationships with the following parties:
Your budget owner - Most of the time, your budget owner is your boss. At the risk of stating the obvious, having a good relationship with your boss will be important to get their buy-in for new technology. Depending on your situation, you may need to submit a business request that outlines your:
You may also be expected to provide a full cost-benefit analysis for your next acquisition.
A note about timing - It’s also vital to be organizationally ready for new tools, particularly those that may require weeks (or months, more likely) of implementation. A best practice is planning for a sufficiently long pilot period to ensure full adoption, end-users getting over any learning curves, integrating with necessary systems in your existing stack, and collecting enough data. Plan your implementation time against quarterly/annual budgets accordingly!
“To drive ownership and ensure stakeholders have ‘skin in the game,’ consider creating a cross-functional product council.” - Dave Hsu and Emily Cnossen of SAP Concur at MarTech East 2019
As we’ve mentioned previously, a significant step in acquiring new technology is identifying stakeholders. These may include:
Of these parties, you may find yourself working with:
The leading cause of software project failure is changing/poorly documented requirements. Source: Statista
Operations professionals know that implementation is an ongoing process that never really ends, thanks to version updates or feature releases, changing business needs, and growing teams. However, driving ownership at every step of the procurement, implementation, and adoption journey maximizes your return on investment and minimizes painful delays. Here are some tactics to ensure every stakeholder takes ownership of their role along the way:
A note about product councils - Building a cross-functional product council can act as a forcing function that drives home the importance of making timely tech stack additions. If you’re not confident in your ability to assemble such a group, it may be worthwhile to seek executive sponsorship to get it off the ground. When the time comes to escalate the procurement of new technology or to enforce adoption of an expensive piece of software, you may find it useful to have more voices arguing for your point than just your own!
A note about enablement - As you know, once you’ve finally acquired your shiny new technology, your job isn’t over. Another critical piece of the puzzle is clear documentation to enable users and ensure they make use of their new software. However, a shared burden for operations professionals is becoming the in-house subject matter expert for troubleshooting any new software by default. Providing enablement materials can offload this burden and help your team members self-service (while you and your operations team focus on more-strategic matters).
To enable your team to self-serve, it’s a good idea to consider one or more of the following:
Aligning new technology with your team is arguably a never-ending process. But these best practices will ensure your current and future technology acquisitions are a good fit for your team. Get more actionable tactics on how to manage people, processes, and technology for revenue operations in these additional articles: