Making updates to processes is a huge part of the revenue operations (RevOps) role, which is why change management is so important.
But what is change management, and how can you utilize a change management strategy in your next project?
Change management is a strategy that allows your stakeholders smoothly transition to a new workflow without the fuss.
Does that sound too good to be true? Keep reading.
This article explains:
- What change management is
- Why change management is important
- Challenges of change management
- Steps for a successful change management strategy
What is change management?
Change management is a strategic approach taken within an organization to move from its current state to a future desired state. This is a coordinated effort to ensure that the change to systems and processes goes smoothly.
These projects typically aim to deliver business value to the organization, and may even result in improved revenue growth.
A good change management strategy will ensure that the change not only goes smoothly but also leads to the embedding of the change in the organization’s workflow.
Why is change management so important in RevOps?
Revenue operations professionals can implement a lot of changes to their stakeholders' workflows. And while these changes may be beneficial to teams in the long term - they might not feel that way to begin with.
That’s where change management comes in.
Managing complex change effectively can allow you to help your key stakeholders accept the change and integrate it into their workflow by communicating the steps to them well in advance and resolving problems before the change goes live.
70% of change initiatives fail, so setting yourself up for success is key.
What are the risks of change management?
Before we dive into the process of change management, let’s step back and try to understand what the risks are, and why we should avoid them.
A poor change management strategy can lead to problems in the change over which results in unplanned downtime as team members can’t access vital tools and information.
For example, making a change to your CRM that makes it unavailable to your sales reps stops them from effectively closing deals. Ultimately resulting in lost revenue!
To avoid this outcome, ensuring the changes work as intended and teams understand how to use the new program is crucial.
Misaligned GTM teams
Misalignment within your GTM team can occur when you manage change poorly. Your stakeholders need to all be on the same page in order to succeed, otherwise, you risk misunderstandings and poor data tracking, which may result in lost revenue.
To avoid this, ensure that you communicate what the change is, how it will affect stakeholders, and when it will take place in plenty of time, so everyone feels prepared.
Without a change management strategy, your admins might make mistakes as they make changes. And while this might be fine in a sandbox, if they skip straight to production this could cause some major issues.
- Mismatched data,
- Broken automation
- Inaccurate reporting
7 easy steps for successful change management
Now that we understand what could go wrong, it’s time to dive into the best practices for successfully implementing change in your organization.
While there are many models for managing complex organizational changes these can be, well overcomplicated. Instead, we explain 7 easy steps for a successful change management strategy.
The first step of any successful change management strategy is to define and communicate the benefits of the change to stakeholders.
If the teams impacted don’t understand the reason for the change they are more likely to fail to adopt the change into their workflow. In turn, causing your change process to fail.
Clearly explaining the benefits of the change in a tangible way such as time saved or money lost will incentivize the stakeholders to care about the change and implement it.
You should also communicate what challenges the change may bring to the team, as this will build trust and allow you to gain feedback on potential dealbreakers before the change takes place.
Buy-in from management
Managers are great allies when implementing a change. They can help to direct their team towards making the most of the new system.
Without management buy-in, adoption rates may be lower as the team’s manager doesn’t care about the change, so the team feels like they can get away with using any system they like.
If you can’t get the team’s managers to buy-in it might be time to go up an organizational level to upper-management to help push the change. As long as you have a strong benefit statement this shouldn’t be too tricky.
Test, test, test
Testing is a crucial part of change management. If the change breaks the system or is complicated to use, adoption rates will be low and you risk having unplanned downtime.
Think outside of the box and try to break the system in any way you can think of. Then ask your team to do the same. If you can’t break it then it’ll hold up when launched.
However, if it breaks make sure to work out how and why it broke and fix it before launch.
But don’t stop testing there, ask some future users of the system (eg. sales reps) to try out the system. Give your sales reps minimal instructions, to see how intuitive your new process is.
The areas they get stuck in should be improved so that users are less likely to get frustrated and return to an outdated system.
Recruit individuals to champion your change and spread the word of its benefits across their team. This is especially useful if you can turn around a vocal skeptic.
If someone is negative about the project publicly, ask to show them the benefits of the changes and explain how it’ll work. If you can convince them the project is important they’re likely to spread the word.
People talk, so use this social proof to your advantage to increase stakeholder adoption.
As a bonus for your champions, let them preview the project early. Their feedback will be useful in refining the changes and catching problems before the mass rollout.
Plus, your champions will feel involved in the project and will want it to succeed, making them even more valuable as champions.
Communicate the details
Typically people hate change - so make sure to communicate with stakeholders at each stage of the project to help them prepare for the changes.
Here’s a list of things affected teams should know:
- Benefits of the project
- How the change will affect them
- When will the project launch
- What support and resources are available
- Who to contact if there’s a problem
Tip: Send out frequent reminders about the launch, eg. one month, one week, today.
Define, measure, and evolve
Before launching, define what metrics you’ll be tracking and some goals for the project. This will help you to truly see the impact the changes have made.
Measure these metrics frequently - it may take some time for the changes to show!
If the project isn’t as successful as planned, go back and make some adjustments. Change management is that it’s an iterative process, not a static event. So continue to evolve and iterate the project.
Overall having an effective change management strategy is crucial for a smooth transition toward a more efficient revenue stream.
These seven steps should help you to implement your next RevOps project successfully.
Looking for a more in-depth article on change management? Karli Brophy explains her steps for process improvement. 👇
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