When talking about digitalisation, its necessity is often obvious for the distributor. To scale, it will need to transform and improve its procedures, it will need to build capacity. Onboarding office staff suffering from slow and tedious processes is straightforward; the same cannot be said about the field agents who can easily feel overlooked in the process. Assuming they will automatically get on board is a common oversight – especially as they are likely to be the most impacted by this transformation.
In the most extreme cases, field agents will need to start using a digital tool on a device that they might have never used before. Alternatively, the change might entail switching from a digital solution they’re familiar with and have used for years, to a different solution who can support them better.
What are the best practices to be applied?
Typically, they are not consulted on this decision, but rather it is imposed on them. Furthermore, the improvements brought by the new solution, as major as they may be, are not always communicated. At Upya’s, with many of our customers, one of the best practices we have applied is to start simple and add functionalities when the CRM has been implemented. Nonetheless, we are familiar with the difficulties that can be encountered and have a few recommendations to make this transition a smooth one:
- Start small. Select a small group of strong performers and involve them from the beginning so they can contribute with their experience on the field and become champions of the new solution. Obtaining their buy-in will be a huge win for a successful adoption by the rest of the salesforce.
- Explain the direct benefits. More efficient client onboarding means more sales and more commissions; automatic commissions calculations means commissions paid faster ; automated flows means less reliance on office staff to finalise tasks on the ground.
- Monitor progress and performance. There will be a natural instinct to cut corners leading to bad habits, a feeling that the solution is inadequate and a general pushback.
- Keep training. Ensure all agents are comfortable with the new solution. Providing them with sufficient training is a worthy investment.
- Shorten time between training and deployment of the new solution. Large gaps between the two is one of the biggest factors for failure.
- Offer monetary incentives. Leaving your comfort zone is challenging and financial rewards are a powerful motivator.
- Lead the change. As the leader of the company, it is your responsibility to take your entire staff onboard and empower each of them to become an agent of change.