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Star Wars communication styles for a sales comp technology rollout

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Ever been in a situation before where decisions were made, demos were done, and technology was purchased – but by the time the system was rolled out, there had been no prior buy-in from the end users, resulting in rebellion and chaos on the scale of the Calamarian Revolt against the Galactic Empire?

If you’re considering implementing a new sales compensation technology – or just about any other new software system – how do you get buy-in?

“It’s them,” you say, “not us.” But perhaps there is hope for those who are still in the planning stages of a system rollout for a smooth technology adoption through proper communication.

Sales compensation technology: A galactic style guide

Identify your Star Wars communication style or learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before to get buy-in from your team like a Jedi Master.

WOOKIEE: As well-intentioned as the sales ops team may be, nobody understands the new sales compensation system because it is communicated loudly and abruptly.

It may seem that you’re the only person who understands what’s going on, resulting in many emails from the sales team (and finance, and HR) for clarification about the plan. Are you a Wookiee? Don’t just roar and growl until it gets done! Some recommendations:

  • Announce planned changes in advance, even if they are tentative, in order to give end users time to ask questions and understand the new process.
  • Give the sales team dates for when different aspects of the new sales compensation system will start rolling out.
  • Have sales compensation system guidelines clearly documented for smooth adoption.

STORMTROOPER: Forceful and swift, the Stormtrooper sales ops team rolls out new technologies without any prior buy-in. Unlike the Wookiee, changes may have been announced prior to rollout, but sales reps may feel that they have no voice in what is happening and resent changes.

Are you a Stormtrooper using the “rule through fear of force” communication style? Some suggestions:

  • Consider who all the end users and stakeholders will be in a new system rollout and involve them early.
  • Survey end users during the planning stages to ask what kind of changes they would like to see in a new system.
  • Clearly communicate the benefits of the new system before, during, and after the rollout.

EWOK: Ewoks are friendly and great at teamwork, but may be disorganized as a group and leave things in a chaotic state after the job is done.

Ewoks may or may not struggle with the same communication challenges as Wookiees and Stormtroopers, but their biggest needs for a new sales compensation system rollout include post-implementation communication. Some recommendations:

  • Anticipate pushback from end users and come up with FAQs in advance to discuss at system launch.
  • Have a phased approach for new system rollout rather than a big bang and communicate future milestones in advance.
  • Establish a clear training timeline for the new system so that end users aren’t spooked by having to learn a new system all at once.

Ultimately, we should all strive to communicate new system rollouts like Jedi. The guardians of peace, the Jedi is the best communicator of all. Much like assaulting the Death Star, communicating the implementation of a new sales compensation system may be a huge and daunting task, but if there are clear communication goals before, during, and after rollout, buy-in will be smooth, and victory could be yours in the end.

Don’t just consider your implementation specs, but make a clear and realistic roadmap for communicating the new system. Remember – stay on target, and may the Force be with you.

Ready to join the Sales Jedi? Learn about the leaders in sales performance management here.

Eugene So
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Eugene So

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