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5 essential tactics to optimize your change management process

4 min read
Conga Team
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Change management is the strategic and systematic approach to dealing with change within your company - whether it is from an organizational level or from an individual level. When change management occurs, an effective strategy to the change management process is important. If your company utilizes the Salesforce platform and changes arise as your business continues to grow and scale, implementing a change management strategy is critical for a smooth transition. The following are 5 essential tactics that you can apply to your change management process:

1. Survey and prove it!

This does a few things for you and your change management plan – it provides backup for why you took one approach over another. It proves to your users and management that you care about their opinions and factored in team usage of the CRM before making a change. The numbers don’t lie. When you’ve got concrete stats on an issue (or missing data) and want to make a change, it’s difficult to argue the point when the backup data and survey responses are readily accessible. Lastly, those users can sometimes identify additional issues/complications concerning a change, before you implement. That saves you from that egg-on-face moment when you realize you’ve forgotten a key piece that stands between you and project success.

2. Enlist office leaders

These may not be actual management leaders in your office, but opinion leaders. It could be the charismatic sales person down the hall. This shouldn’t be a surprise—sales convinces prospects to become customers all the time. Play to strengths and enlist persuasive employees to help further your cause. Often these are well-liked individuals that people pay attention to in the office. Enlist the person that hates Salesforce. Let me say that again, enlist the person that HATES Salesforce.

You’re probably having a ‘Wait, WHAT?’ moment, but hear me out on this one. This individual either dislikes the CRM because he/she doesn’t understand how to use it effectively or there is an inefficiency in the system that the user is dealing with on a constant basis. By enlisting this person, you’re creating a situation where you can help identify where the issue truly resides. If it’s inefficiency, use Process Builder and automate where you can. I have successfully converted multiple ‘Grumble Users’ through automation and through creating custom views to help cut through data clutter. Bottom line, you win the heart of the Grumble User, you win the heart of everyone else and management. Everyone knows this person hated the system and word will spread very fast when his/her opinion changes. Plus it’s an amazing and rewarding feeling for you as an Admin to help this user find his/her way.

3. Build management support from key management players

If you’ve got multiple management users to get approval on changes, start first with the team leader that will gain the most benefit from your solution. I often create situations where I present and demo functionality in the context of ‘imagine if’ scenarios. When you’ve got that person hooked, what better advocate, than for the team leader to be begging management for the change. It adds to the urgency of the need and also creates situations where the ideas are discussed within the office even when you are not present in the meeting. I have had multiple situations where someone has approached me and said, “Hey, I heard from Jane Smith that you can…” The key management player has created a situation where users are coming directly to me wanting to know more. Numerous times those conversations have led to innovation within the company and propelled the usage of Salesforce forward.

4. Create exclusivity

Who doesn’t want to be part of something exclusive? I was in Boston recently and went to check out Kane’s Donuts. It was before 8am and they were sold out. Coincidence? I don’t think so. They’re creating demand and exclusivity, which can be a strong aspect to your change management strategy. Think back to the NY Kronut craze. If everyone could readily get one, would people have been waiting in lines on the sidewalk hours before they opened? Identify a team of users for your new project. Exclusivity makes users feel special. It also encourages them to be more proactive with feedback when the project is positioned as a ‘you get the first look and a seat at the table for making changes to how this works’. This trial time period allows for any needed redesign before rolling it out to everyone in your Org. It also alleviates concerns from management when you explain that you are rolling it out to a small team first to make sure that it makes sense for all.

5. Budget and timing

Sometimes it just comes down to dollars and cents in order to carry out an effective change management process. Know your business and don’t push for a costly new App when management has been in closed door meetings working on year-end budget. A great time to kick off is right after a large sales closure or that last sales meeting when pipeline performance is on target to far exceed the previous forecast. If you’ve just hired on new team members, implemented a new marketing system or performed a website redesign, chances of your project moving forward may be DOA. Long cycle for management approval? Start small and grab lunch with that office leader from step 2 and ask to pick his/her brain on an idea or two. Slowly build your supporters during those company lean times, that way you’re already well on your way to set up an app trial period with a team and gather data.

Posted by Kelly Bentubo on August 6, 2015. Visit her Charlotte User Group or her Geeking Out blog.

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