Introduction to Program Management: How to Successfully Launch Modern Selling in Your Organization

If you haven’t already, please sign up for the Introduction to Program Management training for a quick walkthrough of the basics.

Step 1: Assemble Your Program Team

As Program Manager, you may be the person ultimately responsible for the direction and results of the program, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Every great modern selling program has a great team behind it. Here are the 5 key roles to consider when assembling your team:

Role Responsibilities Key Qualities
Executive Sponsor
  • Communicates and reinforces the vision
  • Kicks off communications and key meetings 
  • Holds teams accountable 
  • Generates excitement around success stories  
  • Influence within the org
  • Excited about the value of Sales Navigator 
  • Consider: VP of Sales or Marketing, or Chief Sales Officer 
Program Manager
  • Manages overall program plan & communications 
  • Monitors key success metrics for continuous improvement
  • Partners with Exec Sponsor and Sales Managers to drive adoption
  • Well-connected in organization and seen as an influential leader 
  • Experience with rolling out complex change
  • Consider: Sales Enablement, Sales Strategy, or Marketing program managers 

 

Administrator
  • Oversees license provisioning & usage reporting 
  • Troubleshoots and solve technical issues
  • Implements & monitors CRM Sync (if eligible) 
  • Sometimes combined with PM into single role
  • Strong understanding of organization, systems, and key objectives
  • If enabling CRM Sync, will require CRM Admin permissions (or a separate CRM Admin role)
  • Consider: Sales Operations, Sales Solutions, other Sales enablement organizations
Sales Manager
  • Coach and hold team accountable for training completion, usage, other key behaviors 
  • Elevate success stories and use to create momentum within their teams 
  • Raise program risks or obstacles to Program Manager
  • Influence within the org
  • Excited about the value of Sales Navigator
  • Understands the value for both the org and the individual seller
  • Ability to inspire and motivate teams
Cross-functional partners
  • Provide ongoing feedback and support
  • Act as champions for the larger org
  • Influence within cross-functional organizations
  • Excited about the value of Sales Navigator
  • Consider: Leaders from Customer Success, Sales Readiness, Sales Operations, Marketing, and other key organizations

Every program team will look slightly different depending on the organization. Regardless of your unique setup, be sure to consider each of the roles above when assembling your team. 

Ideally, you would have your program team fully formed prior to kickoff. But at a minimum, start by having a clearly defined Executive Sponsor, Program Manager, and Administrator. These roles are crucial!

 

 

Action step: Come up with a list of 5 names to serve as the initial members of your Program Team. Make sure you have at least one person in mind for each of the 5 roles above. 

Remember, it’s OK if some roles overlap, or if one person takes on two roles (e.g. Program Management and Administration). 

 

Step 2: Align on Objectives & Key Metrics

Objectives

Prior to kickoff, meet with the key stakeholders around your organization to align on objectives, the current landscape, and how you can make the implementation and adoption of Sales Navigator as successful as possible. 


 Consider meeting with Regional Sales and Marketing leaders, Front-line Sales Managers, Sales Readiness leaders, and any others who have “skin in the game” when it comes to modern selling. Target 5-10 conversations as a starting point. 

 

Here are some questions to consider asking in these meetings:

  • What would a great modern selling program look like to you? 

  • Who in your organization should have a Sales Navigator license?

  • How can we make this change “stick” in your organization?  

     

At the end of these discussions, you should have a synthesized view of: 

  • Key business objectives 

  • Organizational challenges 

  • Potential risks to successful deployment and engagement

Metrics

A key part of setting up your program for success is establishing your measurement strategy. As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets managed.”

 

We recommend establishing your measurement strategy -- including key metrics and reporting process & cadence -- as early as possible so you can start capturing data as soon as you launch your program. That will allow you to respond in real time to challenges and opportunities, and to actively manage your teams through their adoption of Sales Navigator. 

 

There are 3 different types of metrics to consider:

  • Usage metrics (e.g. # of leads saved, # of InMails sent) 

  • Qualitative metrics (e.g. survey feedback from your team) 

  • ROI metrics (e.g. % of deals sourced by Sales Navigator) 

 

Based on your conversations with stakeholders, start by choosing a few key usage metrics to track for the first few months of your program. Usage metrics can be helpful as leading indicators to determine how your team is getting value out of Sales Navigator.

 

Here are a few common usage metrics for 3 different sales objectives, as well as recommended benchmarks for each: 

 

Note that all of these metrics can be tracked with Sales Navigator’s Usage Reporting feature. To learn more, check out the Usage Reporting Tip Sheet.

 

Other measurement best practices:

  • Keep KPIs limited. Too many at once will make it hard to align and focus activities to improve. 3-4 KPIs at a time is recommended
  • Incorporate target activities into your existing sales methodology. For example, if the objective is to “acquire new business,” can you work with your team to make sure “saving new leads & accounts” becomes a standardized part of your workflow? 
  • Sync your CRM. Usage reporting is a good start, but to get the most accurate measurement of ROI possible, we recommend syncing your CRM, which allows you to track deals that have been sourced / influenced by Sales Navigator. (CRM Sync is currently available for Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365) 

 

Action step: Meet one-on-one with each member of your Program Team, starting with your Executive Sponsor, to discuss the key questions above. Once you’ve met with every team member, send an email summarizing your key findings to ensure the entire team is aligned. 

Be sure your conversations include:

  • What the objectives of the program are, and how those align with business objectives 
  • What key metrics you’ll be tracking towards those objectives  
  • Whether to integrate your CRM to enable ROI reporting  

 

Step 3: Create Your Program Plan

Once you’ve established your program team and aligned on objectives and key metrics, it’s time to create your program plan.

 

At a minimum, your plan should include:

  • A kickoff announcement from the Executive Sponsor 

  • Communications from Sales Managers to reinforce & cascade the message to their teams

  • License provisioning & follow up by the Administrator 

  • A training & enablement plan (we recommend leveraging the Training Webinars on the Customer Hub) 

  • A timeline for checking in on the initial key metrics you outlined above (e.g. 30 days after launch)  

 

In addition, consider incorporating the following post-onboarding items into your plan as well:

  • A survey to send to your team for qualitative feedback / ideas for improvement 

  • Methods for capturing & circulating success stories internally 

  • Ideas for driving adoption, e.g. via gamification or a Change Champions program 

  • A plan to collect ongoing feedback and asks from leaders 

  • Other ways to reinforce and manage the change

 

Be sure to record the details of your plan in a single document, and include the relevant owner, due date, and status of each component. Here’s an example of what that planning document might look like:

 

Don't feel obligated to come up with all of these details on your own. Consult your Program Team to see what they think would make the most sense based on their knowledge and experience with launching other change programs. 

Finally, keep in mind that this is just a starting point. Your program can (and should!) evolve over time. 

 

Action step: Create an initial launch plan that includes the key elements mentioned above. Prioritize the onboarding phase, but think long-term as well -- how can you keep the momentum of the program going after the first 30 days?

Make sure that each task has an owner and due date, and that all members of the Program Team are aligned and bought into the plan. 

Step 4: Manage Your Modern Selling Program

Managing Change

It’s crucial to create a whole ecosystem around how you will manage the change of implementing Sales Navigator and, more broadly, modern selling in your organization. 

It’s not enough to just "tell" users what they must do. Our most successful customers do a masterful job of creating the case for change, driving messaging from the top level, and then rolling out robust communication, enablement, and reinforcement plans. 

Consider this adoption curve:

Rather than simply launching a program and hoping for the best, smart program managers anticipate and plan for the change in advance. 

 

Prior to launch, meet with your stakeholders to discuss the following: 

  • What will your organization need to hear, understand, and learn to be successful? 

  • What will be challenging about guiding your organization through this change? 

  • What communications, education, and meetings need to occur prior to launch? During launch? After launch? 

 

Now is the time to anticipate potential risks and get ahead of them. We highly recommend formally documenting these risks, as well as planning for ways you can mitigate them. Here are some of the most common risks we see: 

  • Lack of executive sponsorship

  • Seats not being provisioned / activated

  • Sales Navigator perceived as “just another tool” instead of being integrated into the existing ecosystem

  • Weak or unclear KPIs 

  • Lack of end user buy-in 


Then, create a high-level communication plan that acknowledges and addresses these key challenges. Here’s a simple example of what that might look like:

Key highlights:

  • Spread out your communications so your team isn’t overwhelmed with new information in the first week 

  • Include reminders and follow-ups for anyone who inevitably falls behind or misses an important communication 

  • Add additional touch points, such as tips and product updates, to keep Sales Navigator relevant and “top of mind” 

 

A few more communication best practices to consider:

  • Make sure critical communications come directly from your executive sponsor. This is important for driving the "why" messaging up-front, and driving needed actions both during and after launch

  • Integrate new comms with channels that are already in place. Which existing meetings, newsletters, online channels, and other mediums can you leverage?
  • Strike the balance that fits your organization and culture as far as timing and frequency of communication and reinforcement. Don’t overdo it: If teams get too much messaging, they may stop paying attention to the important things!

 

Monitor and Grow Your Program

As your program grows and evolves, you’ll want to continually monitor how the program performs, as well as provide updates and ideas for improvement to your larger team. 

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Metrics reports: Leverage KPI dashboards as an anchor point to meet regularly with Sales Leaders. Show them progress against KPIs, highlight areas of risk or under-performance, and brainstorm together on ways to improve and how they can be a part of those improvements

  • Gamification & incentive programs: Leaderboards can be one effective way to highlight pockets of success and create positive momentum, while also encouraging those lower on the usage spectrum to step up their game. Consider a biweekly email to teams and leaders with “top users” and anecdotes of success stories. 

  • User feedback. Survey your end users regularly to evaluate program impact. Ask them whether or not Sales Navigator is driving value and how the program can be improved. When analyzing your survey, look for opportunities to amplify success, ramp up training on certain topics, or provide more program resources to help users capture value. 

  • Champions and success stories: Consider identifying User Champions -- these are typically reps who are proficient, early adopters of Sales Navigator who see a lot of value in the platform. They can drive engagement within their own teams and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Share their success stories whenever possible to generate momentum and excitement! 

Next Steps

Congratulations on completing the Sales Navigator Program Guide!

Launching a successful modern selling program is a significant endeavor, and it won’t happen overnight. By having a committed team, clear alignment on objectives and key metrics, and a concrete plan for delivering and managing change, you are now in an excellent position to make a huge impact in the success of your organization.

Next steps:

  • Join the Sales Navigator Community to connect and share best practices with other Program Managers and Admins 

  • Visit the Customer Hub to continue learning about Sales Navigator 

  • Have a question? Visit the Help Center, or reach out to your LinkedIn Relationship Manager or Customer Success Manager to learn more