This article was adapted from a community panel discussion titled "Mastering change management".

Whether you're implementing a new process, tool, or messaging strategy – getting buy-in and adoption across your sales, marketing, and customer success teams is no easy feat.

That's why I, Serena Cordan, Manager, Sales & Broker Enablement at HealthJoy, joined Karli Brophy, Senior Manager, RevOps Processes HST Pathways, and Nicholas Gollop, ex-VP Revenue Operations at CloudCall, on a panel to discuss mastering change management in RevOps. 

We covered strategies for overcoming resistance, best practices for facilitating change, and how to overcome challenges while tracking progress.  

If you're a revenue operations leader about to embark on a change management initiative, or finding yourself stuck in the midst of one, this article will share insights from our discussion to help you navigate the process successfully.

Strategies for overcoming resistance

One of the first things I tell folks is to set reasonable expectations – change management isn’t an overnight program. Change management takes time, especially if you're talking about behaviors and adoption. People will be used to the status quo.

In any organization, you’ll inevitably encounter resistance from teams who are comfortable with existing processes. The key is being prepared to address that resistance head-on through open communication and empathy.

“The more communication, the better. And don't be hesitant to reach out and let people know what's going on, especially regarding change which could be viewed as scary,” advised Karli.

An effective first step is conducting an "impact assessment" as Karli does. This involves documenting the current process from start to finish and identifying all stakeholders involved, even those in obscure groups like legal or IT. This allows you to map out a thorough communication plan to keep everyone in the loop.

As you communicate the reasons behind the change, be sure to actively listen to concerns with a sincere desire to understand the root causes of resistance, not just defensively dismiss them. 

“If people are resistant, try to understand the root cause,” urged Nicholas. 

That doesn't mean you have to implement every piece of feedback, but the act of listening itself can go a long way in alleviating fears.

Involving key stakeholders, especially sales leadership, as co-authors and champions of the change is also crucial for overcoming resistance. I invited our sales leaders to co-author new messaging guidelines so they'd be more amenable to reinforcing it with their teams.

I also created a sales enablement steering committee with representatives from each regional sales team. This gave reps a voice in the process, through their trusted peers, while avoiding an "us vs. them" mentality.

Finally, don't underestimate the power of celebrating small wins, no matter how minor they may seem. Openly recognizing early adopters, especially when they are peers of those resisting change, can motivate others to get on board. 

As the saying goes, if it doesn't get measured, it doesn't get done. So we must be intentional about capturing and promoting these early wins.

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Karli Brophy talks us through change resistance and explains how to gain stakeholder buy-in to manage change and create successful project outcomes.

Change management best practices  

Of course, having strategies to overcome resistance is just one piece of effective change management. There are bigger-picture best practices that can make or break your initiatives according to our panel.

Understand the why

One unanimous piece of advice: Always help teams understand the "why" behind the change you're asking them to make.

“It's important to help everybody understand the why,” explained Karli. "Because there may be resistance to this change just because there's a lack of understanding of why we even have to do this."

Nicholas reinforced this point: “You need to listen to your audience, you need to really take in the act of listening, and focus on understanding the problem.”

Clearly documenting the current process and communicating how the new approach will address its gaps is critical for getting buy-in. Without this context, people may just view the changes as creating more work for them unnecessarily.


Consistent, clear communication through various channels is another best practice we all agreed on. Whether it's email updates, Slack channels, team meetings, or quarterly newsletters, you need to fight the temptation to under-communicate.

“A lot of times, leadership or project managers are scared to communicate with the teams for some reason,” said Karli.
“They're hesitant to send an email because they don't want to flood the inbox. But to me, clear, transparent, and consistent communication is one of the keys to success in change management.”

Speaking of documentation, it's also vital to map out the current and desired processes in detail, defining roles, responsibilities, and key steps.

“More often than not, I've seen people get into roles and have absolutely no idea what they need to do. There was absolutely no documentation at all,” Nicholas said.

He went on to explain, “You can't just hold the accountability on you, because it will not work. It might get done, but it will take way longer. So, enable and teach your team on the new processes and content.”


This brings me to one of the most important best practices - enablement and training. This goes beyond just creating a Loom video and expecting everyone to adopt the changes.  

You need a true enablement strategy that accounts for different learning styles, and provides continuous reinforcement opportunities and multiple training modalities. We begin forgetting new information shockingly soon (within 24 hours), if we don't actively reinforce and apply it. 

One-and-done training just doesn't work. Have a plan in place to create a cadence of repeating the information they just learned. Utilize roleplay and other practical exercises to allow adequate practice. 

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Overcoming challenges and tracking progress

Even with all the strategies and best practices, change management is still extremely challenging. There’ll be inevitable setbacks and course corrections needed along the way. 

The key? Defining the right success metrics from the start, and closely tracking progress so you can pivot quickly if something isn't working.

“When we're creating our business case, for the change, and we're thinking about it both quantitatively, and qualitatively, those objectives are going to be the ways that we measure the change at the end,” said Karli. 

Karli continued, “So if one of the challenges is, something’s wrong with our marketing qualified leads and we need to do a process change, that objective should be part of the KPIs we're measuring at the end of the change. Track where you started and the changes you made, and check in regularly to measure progress.”

For tracking adoption progress at HealthJoy, I follow a framework of four key metrics:

1. Activity - Did critical activities tied to the change actually get done?

2. Quality - How well did learners understand and apply the new information based on scores, quizzes, etc?

3. Adoption - Are we seeing the desired behaviors and changes being applied in real situations?

4. Impact - Are we moving the needle on those critical revenue KPIs?

It's not enough if three or four people are adopting and using it, we need enough people to be using it, implementing it, demonstrating behaviors, whatever it is for us to make some intelligent, competent inferences, that the change management is working.

The appropriate cadence for reviewing data with stakeholders ultimately depends on the magnitude of the changes. For something transformational that touches multiple teams, you may need daily check-ins early on.

As Nicholas said, “If you have a process, for example, that is overlapping with multiple teams at the same time, it can become a behemoth. So you need to increase that feedback cycle.”

For more localized initiatives, monthly reviews may suffice initially before eventually spacing them out.

It's also important to adjust your approach if data indicates things aren't working. Don't get blinded by your original plan if feedback and adoption numbers tell a different story.

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As Karli advised, “If you use those small group sessions, you can build credibility quickly, and become vulnerable yourself to be open to those comments, concerns, and questions, you can almost take a detractor and make them an advocate.”

This circles back to empowering champions and advocates from within the impacted teams, who have built-in trust that can reignite stalled change efforts. 

Just don't let that resistance fester without addressing it. As I mentioned, I use techniques like an enablement steering committee to keep a pulse on concerns and spot developing trends before they become larger issues. I asked each sales leader to appoint a representative from their team to join this committee.

These reps get a voice in steering our enablement strategy. They bring feedback from their regional teammates to our committee discussions so we can judge if it's an isolated issue or a broader trend we need to address.

The committee members then take proposed solutions back to their teams for feedback before any final decisions are made. It's a feedback loop that keeps lines of communication open and gives reps a sense of ownership over the changes.

Of course, even with measures like these, you're still going to encounter pockets of resistance at times. The key is not forcing a solution, but taking the time to truly understand the root causes through authentic listening.

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Final thoughts

If detractors simply don't understand the reasons behind a change, be prepared to re-explain the "why." If their concerns unveil a legitimate process flaw you overlooked, be willing to adjust your approach accordingly based on that feedback.

Above all, celebrate every small win along the journey, because true change management takes patience and persistence. As I emphasized in our discussion, change management takes time, so celebrate every small success openly.

Navigating change is never easy, but I hope these insights from myself, Karli and Nicholas provide a framework for revenue operations leaders to proactively overcome resistance, reinforce best practices, and continually monitor progress toward your goals. 

Just remember - empathy, authenticity and open communication will be your biggest assets for mastering change management.