Salesforce.com is a disruptive technology. It is more than a functional tool that a single user relies on to get things out like an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document. It is a business system which touches people and process. Those two elements create great opportunity if you can align your team. It is also the reason that success with Salesforce.com can be elusive for organizations. They think it is about software. It’s ultimately about change management.
Change typically comes from management in an organization. They want a repeatable process or transparency of execution. Salesforce.com is a real-time management tool which provides this access for management. Users adopting a system need a different motivation. They care about ease of use and productivity. If a tool slows them down or they are having to do more work then there will be resistance.
In our Salesforce.com consulting work, change management relies heavily on strong leadership. There has to be a champion that:
- Understands the goal
- Is committed to the goal
- Articulates requirements clearly
- Has authority
Weak leadership will create problems. The status quo and the associated resistance from it has a way of undermining great initiatives and intentions.
Identifying the right champion when implementing Salesforce.com is a crux point. Be sure to assess and appoint the right champion to work with the technical team.
Process And Clarity
An effective Salesforce.com system reflects good business process. Your business processes need to be articulated clearly and translated into technical requirements. This is a repetitive cycle which needs to be managed with extreme clarity.
If your process for managing an inbound lead requires some kind of follow up, the fields, data objects, email templates and data relationships are all impacted from one process step. Ensure your identified Salesforce.com champion or Salesforce.com consultant can guide the technical implementation process accordingly.
Time And Space
It is better to do a little than a lot. Part of the art of change management is getting users to use the system as quickly as possible. Then step back and allow them to drive further change from their adoption. Too much change will not be retained through training. Little bits at a time will.
We like to create a knowledge base resource which becomes an anchor for users as they learn new ways of working in Salesforce.com. This can be updated and is accessible ongoing. Furthermore, it becomes an asset to not only the users, but any new hires to the organization that need to come up to speed quickly.
Focus On User Success
Success builds success. Much of Salesforce.com adoption comes from momentum. Launching is a large milestone which is difficult to push towards. Leadership, culture and requirements definition and implementation all play a role. Allowing your users to have space to use Salesforce.com and then hearing new requirements helps drive ownership from management to users.
Be sure that there is a focus on users and their adoption. Their struggles are opportunities. Their feedback are new requirements. Their opinions show passion.
Change and Salesforce.com are coupled.
How has your experience been with change management?