Sales Best Practices

What is Change Management? Definition, Best Practices, & Benefits

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Audrey Weber

Associate Content Editor

Do you remember New Coke? If you don’t, it’s for one good reason: it failed.

New Coke was the Coca-Cola Company’s attempt to change Coke’s formula and flavor to reverse some of their market losses and aggressively compete with Pepsi. Most people who tried it loved the new flavor, but it didn’t matter. The public had decided they didn’t like it as soon as it was announced. They didn’t want anyone to change their beloved drink, even if it was for the better.

Humans don’t generally like change. In fact, we tend to resist it every chance we get. This poses a special problem for business managers and leaders because change is a part of business.

So, how do you make adjustments and overhauls in your organization without your employees or customers rejecting it like New Coke?

The answer is change management.

We’re going to look at what change management is, why it’s important, and 5 tips to implement change management within your own organization.

What Is Change Management?

You’re probably exercising change management without even realizing it. It’s just a fancy term for helping people adjust to things that are new or different.

If you’ve ever…

  • Implemented training for a new sales technology
  • Asked for feedback on an updated go-to-market strategy
  • Convinced a child to eat a vegetable they’ve never seen before

…then you have practiced change management.

Having a defined change management system in place can save your company time and money, and it allows even large organizations to pivot and take advantage of opportunities quickly and efficiently.

So how do you set this up in your sales org?

Learn change management techniques when adding new sales tech

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Best Practices

There are 6 steps to creating a system of change management in your own organization.

1. Cultivate a Culture of Change

Something new and different is scary. It introduces uncertainty, and it often means more work. The way to combat this is by creating a culture that is comfortable with change.

  • Clearly communicate the need for adaptability in your in your team, and set up incentives for early-adopters (like public shoutouts for the first individuals who complete a mandatory training).
  • Challenge reps to take on new prospects and new projects, such as trying to land a “whale” or helping find a creative solution to a client’s problem.
  • Periodically adjust small things about their jobs and systems, such as where they work, their process, and the teams they’re in.

By encouraging a culture of constant innovation and flexibility, you’re preparing your team for the eventual big changes that you’ll need them to adopt quickly.

2. Practice Transparency

Don’t surprise your team with changes. Keep them informed throughout the entire process, and if possible, let them have input about the change as well.

Explain the thought process behind the change, and demonstrate how the team stands to benefit from it.

By being transparent and providing clear communication, you’ll ease anxiety and increases buy-in.

3. Sell It!

Think of an internal change like selling a new product to a customer: they’re not going to buy it just because you tell them to. You have to convince them to choose it for themselves, and it’s the same with change management: you have to sell your team on the idea.

Maybe you provide them with data and case studies of a similar change. Maybe you find an internal champion — a member of your team who is excited about the change — and use them to help you convince the rest of the team. Maybe you just sit your team down and have a frank discussion.

Whatever you do, you have to convince your reps that THEY want the change and explain jhow it will benefit them.

4. Have A Plan

Have a detailed plan, in writing, for how day-to-day activities will proceed during the transition period. No one should have any questions about what they need to do.

It can also be helpful to plan out the change in stages. Rather than implementing a change all at once, doing it in stages gives your team the time to get used to the new processes and systems.

If you’ve properly created a culture where change is the norm, this will be even easier.

5. Measure Success

Determine key indicators of success before you start any large change within your organization. Whether you’re implementing a new sales process, new tech, or a new team, know what mission accomplished looks like and the metrics that determine that.

Go over these key indicators with your team during and after the change to ensure you stay on-track and achieve the stated goal.

6. Check-In During Transitions

Check in with your employees regularly to see if they are comfortable and happy with the changes.

Ask your employees for honest feedback on the transition process and on the result. This will help you fine-tune your approach to change management and determine if the switch was successful.

Change Management Benefits

There are 3 major benefits to having a defined system of change management.

1. Improved communication

Change doesn’t happen in isolation. Overhaul one part of a company or team, and it affects the rest. For you to be successful, your team and the other teams in your organization will need to be constantly communicating. At times it may seem like too much, but during a big transition, there’s no such thing as too much conversation.

After working together so closely, you and your team will develop more connections and relationships with each other and people in other departments. This leads to better communication, trust, and alignment throughout your entire org.

2. Improved Ability to Stay Up-to-Date

It’s easy to get stuck in the status-quo, but today’s business world is not kind to companies who aren’t ready and able to adapt to disruptive competitors and buyer preferences. The sales world is constantly evolving and innovating with new tech, new tools, and new procedures. Setting up a system for managed change will help you stay up-to-date with today’s fast pace of business, and keep you at the top of the game.

3. Improved Efficiency and Success

Buy-in is often slow, but a defined change management system speeds up implementation and reduces the chance that your team, stakeholders, or customers will reject necessary changes, saving you money and time in the long run.

Outreach Can Help

The good news is that you’re not alone. Outreach is here to make your next change much easier.

Our system allows you to increase communication among your reps, and it lets you create visual, easy-to-follow workflows for your reps that alert them when they need to take action. This helps your reps stay on-track during a change.

We also wrote an ebook all about change management during sales tech transformation that you'll probably find helpful. Download it now.

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