Nothing is more damaging to a beverage sales force than undertaking the effort to deploy a sales process automation solution that fails to live up to its potential. There is a lot that can go wrong during implementation of such software tools. But GreatVines is invested in making sure this doesn’t happen to its customers. This is the second part of a two-part blog series on ensuring successful implementations.
In Part I, we examined the top reasons why solutions fail to live up to their potential and discussed the groundwork to be laid early in the implementation process. Part II below, focuses on GreatVines’ change management best practices.
Fail to Plan and You’re Planning to Fail
Understand that there is going to be some level of resistance and disruption because of the decision to change operations by implementing a new software. Not only will the software present a new set of practices, but the implementation process itself – done properly – will focus on changing/replacing old, outdated or broken business practices and that means additional disruption of the average user’s on-the-job status quo.
So, prepare yourself and your organization – before you even begin any outreach – for the change by determining answers to the following:
- How big is the change?
- How many people will be affected?
- How much change is already going on?
- What type of resistance can be expected?
- What are the strategic goals the organization is trying to achieve?
- What tools do the leadership team have to ensure change occurs?
Once you’ve identified the answers to the above questions, you should have a better idea of what types of communications and messaging you’ll need to produce and distribute. Clear messaging wins the day in this regard. Resistance to change is almost always rooted in fear of the unknown. The better you’re able to convey what to expect, the easier it will be to drive buy-in and adoption. Initiate ongoing communication streams with your user base. These should consist of updates from Super Users. Updates should be transparent and offer no-spin assessments of project progress. Celebrate the wins and acknowledge the setbacks. Super Users are already respected and trusted by the user base, so capitalize on this trust by being truthful. Also, make sure the user base is provided clear information on how, when and where they can receive support.
You’re going to run into resistance no matter what when implementing a new solution. Yet, if you understand the drivers of resistance, you can plan to overcome it and keep your implementation on track. Common issues behind user resistance typically include employee anxiety over how the new solution may impact their current role. Many assume the solution is being implemented as a precursor to their job being automated out of existence. If the typical, daily user is not aware of the reasons why the new solution is being implemented, they’re likely to assume this is why.
Make sure to recruit “resistance managers” from among the organization’s senior leaders and supervisors who can explain the business reasons for implementing a new solution. Without visible support and commitment from managers, this unfounded anxiety can spread like wildfire across the user base and can be a significant drag on adoption.
Stages of Change
Broadly speaking, there are stages of change to be observed and accommodated during implementation to assure smooth transition from the existing state of operations to the desired “to-be” state. GreatVines can help develop a more customized version of the stages for each unique customer organization. But these are the outlines of the stages for purposes of this discussion.
- Launch Stage involves introduction of the new initiative to the user base with an all-hands meeting, posters and regular newsletters or other employee communications.
- Buy-In Stage includes a kick-off event, live solution demos, project updates and assignment of roles to relevant users.
- Understanding Stage involves the assignment of Super Users, end user training and the development and dissemination of training materials.
- Comprehension Stage involves process/practice assessments, skills gap identifications and ongoing training.
- Consistency Stage, once the solution has “gone live” focuses on retraining, new hire training processes and the establishment of a feedback loop between users, Super Users and GVAs to ensure continuous improvement.
Visit our website to view/download a recent webinar on Change Management in the implementation of GreatVines Beverage Selling Solutions.