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We, as Salesforce Consultants, find ourselves discussing this critical topic with almost all of our customers. In fact, I had a really interesting conversation yesterday with my manager that how it’s all about the people and planning. Although, he would have me writing on a more generic change management topic, but let me also relate it to what we do here at Changi every day for every single one of our customers.

Change, be it in personal or professional life, is hard. If it were easy, there wouldn’t be any need for cigarettes packs, nicotine patches or New Year’s Resolutions. We’d all be able to easily swap old habits for new and improved ones any time we wanted. Goodbye my cravings for sweets, hello kale smoothie! Unfortunately, personal and organizational changes are often more challenging to implement.

To add to that, we are all socially dependent. We learn from each other and we don’t want to let down our friends, family, and colleagues. It is very rarely that we stop to examine the rules we have been handed down.

Implementing Salesforce in an organization is typically a large-scale change that effects people, the tools they use and their work processes, it requires stopping and examining your processes. Implementing new technology to support old procedures could have a huge cost. Much more than the cost of the implementation, it stalls progress and effects your company’s bottom line.

Change management is all about transitioning people, teams and organizations to a desired future state. There are many models of change management, but I believe that addressing and implementing the change comes down to three things: Employee Involvement, The Value, Planning & Management and Training. Applying the principles of change management can help ensure success, not just for your Salesforce project but for any other project you’re working on. Let me explain each of these briefly for you:

1- Employee Involvement

People don’t resist change, in a matter of speaking, but they do resist being changed by others. Your team should be involved in every stage, starting from the planning till the implementation stage of the solution. In majority of the cases, the end users are the ones with a deep understanding of the day-to-day operations. They know what will work and what won’t and getting them involved as early as possible and constantly engaging them for feedback would ensure success at the end. Create a group of people who are your champions and involve them for the implementation, and encourage them to share the value of the change.

2- The Value

There is a very basic question whenever we propose something to anyone. “What’s in it for me?” Your staff must benefit from the change in ways that are important for them. It doesn’t mean to necessarily have a financial reward but your project is much more likely to succeed with a non-financial reward. It is crucial for the management to communicate the benefits and value of the project implementation to the team, it improves acceptability and, eventually, the success of the project.

3- Planning & Management

Your change management program should be planned down to the last detail. However, it should be flexible enough to adapt any later changes. This point reminds me of an old military saying that ‘no plan survives the first contact with the enemy’. You should not see change as a command rather allow it to emerge from everyone who is involved with the new CRM. Ask your managers to set a good example, plan with the teams, invite inputs and feedbacks.

We, at Changi, often meet customers who have experienced failures with previous vendors and solution providers to deliver on different projects, not because the solution was incapable, but because the stakeholders (management and the vendor) did not plan the project properly and managed the implementation efficiently. It is important that managers don’t push a new system down the throats of the employees and mandate that a system be used but not using it themselves.

4- Training

You’ll need to ensure the users are properly trained before the excitement fades and nervousness about using the new system sets in. A good training plan is crucial to prepare users for starting to learn and use the new system. We must understand that people learn differently, so different approaches might be needed to train the team on how to effectively use Salesforce.

You don’t need to create everything from scratch, though. Changi as a partner can help you prepare a plan. The benefit of Salesforce is that you and your team get to learn in a very interactive way using Trailhead. People may need time to get accustomed to the system, so don’t give up, guide them to Salesforce Trailhead where they can learn effectively.

Talk to Our Experts

These principles may apply to any process of change, not just to CRM change. Making change happen and making change stick requires a structured and well executed approach to project implementation. Please get in touch to find out more details on how we can help you and your team with change management. We would be happy to offer a free consultation and also share more details and best practices.