Change management helps get prepared in undergoing organizational evolutions to reduce and avoid resistance to change. Despite the unquestionable need for it, change often carries a negative connotation. To many, bringing about changes can be a real challenge. So how do you need to face this negative attitude towards change to guarantee the sucess of your CRM implementation ?
Changes are part of the DNA of a company
What is change ?
Before talking about change, let’s shed some light on the concept itself. It can be a change in the ICT environment of your company (with the implementation of a CRM solution for example), new legal changes that will impact your business or the way you handle your business (say hello to the GDPR !), or a merger between two companies (we tested, we are stronger together)….
Any type and size of company will be forced to undergo changes, no matter the stage of its growth or the sector of its business activity. What is sure is that changes produce evolution, novelties, improvements…all those words have something in common : they all convey the idea that companies must get used to change if they want to survive and outrank fierce competitors.
Changes are daunting
Change is the rule, for companies as much as for individuals. Being rigid and preventing i twill result in the lack of agility, flexibility and, by consequence, the death of the company. However, changes are daunting because it is hard to tell where they will lead us. We know what we have but we don’t know what the future holds. As Sénèque says, « it is not change that scares people, but their perception of it ».
Balance is reached through unsteadiness
Go back to the first time you tried to ride a bike or a motorcycle, or to sky…Hard wasn’t it ? Of course at the beginning it is challenging : fear makes you slow down and low speed throws you off balance, then you fall. And this vicious circle does not stop there : fall fuels fear. To break this circle, you need to overcome your feat, breath in, gain speed and have trust yourself (and in your two training wheels). Once you are used to pedaling, you can get rid of the training wheels. This is where change takes place.
Change management in three phases
What is at stake : in a climate of minor or major changes, be it minor or major, with pressure on top of it, supporting your colleagues is crucial. Change management strategy needs to be prepared ahead, at the start of the project, and needs to involve all the people important to the success of your project. In that way, you foresee the obstacles and the additional workload (or simply the efforts) generated by this wave of change.
What you need : a clear view of all the stakeholders in the company, their characteristics and their way of working.
What is at stake : for a smooth change management, stakeholders need to know what they will get from this change. In other words, why they should go from the present state to the future state. With this in mind, saying that you are implementing a CRM solution is not enough. You need to make the understand they will gain in productivity, efficiency, collaboration and, as a consequence, they will spare some precious time. By making the future state look less grim, you get them onboard and avoid a tidal wave of support against you.
What you need : a structured communication plan with all the necessary information about the project phases. In addition, foresee training sessions to make sure the onboarding process is under control and that all the stakeholders acquire new skills related to it.
Make changes survive
What is at stake : The go live phase has been launched but this does not mean your change management strategy is over, yet. Get the feedbacks of the stakeholders, their improvement recommendations…and take them into account. By measuring the results of your project, you will be able to take the right decisions and guarantee its long-term survival.
What you need : key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the « good » and « bad » behaviours, while still highlighting the good performances. Be grateful and don’t forget to stress how flexible your stakeholders are !
Change management and CRM
To conclude, change management lies in the ability to lead the parade of change and taking all the stakeholders with you in this big journey. Getting prepared for this wave of change, and getting your colleagues prepared too, is crucial and needs to be planned before the kick-off your project. Managers should communicate with their teams to make sure all necessary information are known to all. By the way, this is where a CRM solution comes out very handy : sharing information is indeed one of its strongest asset so please say no to excel sheets and start working smart.
Finally, change management needs to be done internally, with the help of internal resources, but don’t hesitate to request the help of external resources (for example, your CRM solution provider, in the case of a CRM software implementation).