Change Management for Your CRM Implementation

Implementing a new CRM or making enhancements to your existing Salesforce requires much more than just setting your instance up or enabling new features.

Many of our clients fail to acknowledge the extent to which these changes will impact their current systems and employee workflow. Even the best software is useless if you don’t have a process in place to get your team (and your other tools) ready for it, which is why I feel it is so important to talk about change management this month.

A well-developed change management strategy gives a structured approach to new initiatives for your company. Creating a strategy is imperative for the successful deployment and adoption of these changes. Although your strategy may vary greatly depending on the size and scope of your organization, here is a baseline to follow as you formulate your strategy.

Anticipate

The first step in putting together your change management strategy has to be a full investigation and understanding of the proposed change’s impact…

Who does it affect? How many business units?

What day to day operations will change?

Will other technology break, slow down, or become obsolete?

How long will the changes take and will it disrupt anything?

What are the short-term effects vs. the long-term effects?

These are all things you need to ask yourself, and potentially other stakeholders.

You may be disrupting business processes that have been in place for years or require different skill sets than the team currently has available. If that is the case, not only will end users day to day productivity be affected but ongoing training will need to be scheduled as part of the deployment.

New technology can cause a ripple effect, so take a look at the technology currently in use. If the team or department uses integrated third-party applications with their existing CRM solution, would these still work with the new solution? It’s possible that the functionality is included in the changes, making the third-party application obsolete.

Once you’ve created a full list of all parties and systems about to be impacted, you can now design an actual rollout procedure.

Communicate

Communication is the most powerful tool at your disposal before, during, and even after a transition. Before you roll out something like a new Service Cloud implementation, stakeholders and end users need to be notified and be given appropriate resources.

You have to decide…Is an email the best way to share this big of a change or should you call a formal meeting?

Is this a change that should be communicated to certain people one on one?

Are you prepared to present an organized timeline of when and how the changes will be rolled out?

Have you set clear expectations of the end users to ensure they adopt these changes?

My philosophy is to always create a transparent environment. However, it is especially important when large initiatives or significant changes are rolled out to be super conspicuous, and create an atmosphere of open communication. This will increase your chances of successful adoption ten times over.

Even once a new roll-out is complete, communication is still super important until you can confidently say the changes were fully adopted. Look at the available communication channels to determine whether you need to add a more streamlined system as part of the change management plan. If you can have a dedicated point of contact, that’s even better. The communication path should be super accessible so an employee can go up the chain if they’re unable to get in touch with their main contact should they have any issues.

Set Best Practices

It is so important to both set and train on best practices for any new technology you are using. Without them, you run the risk of establishing bad habits, creating bad data, and misuse or abandonment of the technology.

Best practices are also much more effective when they are communicated upfront – before users are even touching the new technology. If you don’t set expectations beforehand it will be even harder to implement them down the line.

Name someone on the change management team who can not only implement these best practices but also who is accountable for them to ensure compliance.

Encourage End User Adoption

What measures do you have in place for helping end users ramp up with the new software and processes?

Should you hold a mandatory training? Or optional? Some may prefer to get all of their training done hands-on, while others may prefer workshops or seminars.

Do you have scheduled check-ins with users at different levels to make sure things are going smoothly?

Getting user feedback throughout the process will be so helpful so you gain visibility into how fast users are adopting the technology and if you are setting your team up for success.

Meeting with users could also give you the opportunity to further explain the benefits of the changes and form champions within your organization to increase adoption across the team.

 

The long and the short of it is that if you are rolling out a new instance or enhancements to your Salesforce but you are not thinking about any of this already then you are setting yourself, your organization, and your new technology up for failure.

If you haven’t already, be sure to reserve your spot for our Panel Discussion on Change Management on Wednesday, June 20th – Click here for tickets and more information.

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