The one constant in life is change. This is a phrase I hear consistently in all parts of my life. From coworkers to friends or family, there is always some aspect of change that we all deal with on a daily basis. Yet, going through a change doesn’t have to be a scary process.
When thinking about moving to a new CRM system, the idea of moving all your business processes and data can indeed be a scary thought. Cloud for Good is here to help make it a little less scary for you!
Change is all about how you manage the process. Implementing a new CRM like Salesforce can certainly lead to unintended consequences if you don’t manage the process of change appropriately. Here are a few tips for effective change management:
If you are moving to a new home, you would likely take a series of steps to prepare for your move. You will probably do some research on new homes, start house hunting with a realtor, finalize all the paperwork once finding your dream home, pack your personal items, purge old items that are no longer needed, confirm movers, etc.
The same types of steps should be followed when considering moving to a new Salesforce database. Conducting research on Salesforce and how other nonprofits utilize the tool will help you prepare. You can find many resources from Cloud for Good and Salesforce.org. Once you confirm Salesforce is the right fit, you’ll want to start evaluating implementation partners. After choosing a partner, start thinking about how you can purge or declutter your processes and your data. If you are like most of our clients, you likely have a fair share of older, outdated data that can be archived but doesn’t necessarily need to be moved over to Salesforce. You may also have some unclean or duplicate data that needs to be cleaned up before moving into a new system. The same can be said for your business processes or daily operations. It may be time to reconsider how you conduct some day-to-day activities. There are ways to make them more efficient within a new database system.
Secure Executive Sponsorship
As part of your preparations, you will also want to ensure that you have support and sponsorship from the top of your organization. It will be challenging to uproot your processes, systems, and data without buy-in from your CEO, Executive Director, or Board.
If the decision to move to Salesforce isn’t coming from the top, you will want to ensure you have a thorough discussion with the executive team about why you are considering a new database system. Once you have this discussion, confirm they are on board, as this will be crucial in obtaining buy-in from all staff within the organization.
Some of the questions you’ll want to consider during conversations with the executive team are:
- What is wrong with the current system we are using?
- What types of daily activities does the current system support? Will the new system be able to support these as well?
- What are the costs for moving to a new system and maintaining it?
- Who will manage the process of moving to a new system?
Phase the Rollout
When implementing a new database like Salesforce, not everything has to be done at once. If you plan to migrate your entire organization onto Salesforce, think about which department has the greatest need for a new database and which could also be the quickest win. If you conduct a phased rollout, you can launch a department that is struggling with an older system before moving other departments onto the platform.
Using the analogy of moving to a new home, consider building a brand new home from the ground up. You would build the foundation first and then move onto the building the first floor. You may leave the floor plan in such a way that you can finish the second floor at a later date. Additionally, you may decide to wait until the following summer to put a pool in your back yard as the third phase of the project.
While this approach may not work for everyone, it may be worth considering for your organization. Launching Salesforce through a series of phased rollouts can help encourage user adoption and have immediate results.
Communication around why the organization is implementing a new system and how it will effect users is another integral aspect a successful Salesforce deployment. Talk with users about how they are using current systems, what’s working and what’s not working in current systems, goals for the future, and how they envision a new system working for them.
While undergoing implementation, it’s important to keep users informed of key dates and milestones so they don’t feel left in the dark. Once the new system is live, don’t let communication dwindle. It will benefit all users to know of important updates or changes that will impact them.
Train, Train, Train
Making sure your users are comfortable in a new system is an important part of making the process of change a bit more comfortable for everyone. Training is useful not just as you are undergoing implementation and first starting to use Salesforce, but also as you continue to use the system over time. Your system will grow and evolve over time and Salesforce will as well. Your users should continually receive training on how to maximize the tool in their day-to-day jobs. Without proper training, an implementation of Salesforce can feel like a wasted effort making the change over to the new system even harder (and scarier) than it should be.
By being mindful of these steps, you can effectively prepare for your implementation of Salesforce and make the change a little less scary for you and your organization.
You may also want to review these other blog posts on change management: