What is change management? Definition, best practices, & benefits

Posted February 3, 2020

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By Audrey Weber

Associate Content Editor at Outreach

Amid a market downturn, many companies are looking for areas where they can optimize performance and coach their teams to reach their full potential.

This is particularly important in sales.

Organizations focus on the bottom line while pressure builds for sales teams to deliver on revenue targets, just as it gets more challenging to pull it off. These are the times when having the right tools and processes in place will go from being a nice-to-have to mission-critical.

With less room for mistakes during leaner economic times, managing change effectively will get you where you need to go faster and with better results.

What is change management?

Simply put, change management is helping people adjust to things that are new or different. Having a defined change management system can allow your organization to take advantage of opportunities quickly and efficiently.

Humans are known for being reluctant to change. Here are three guiding principles to help your teams embrace new technology or processes:

Communicate often

Let your people know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what to expect. Incorporate employee feedback into your communications to help evolve your approach to change management if needed.

Have a plan

Cover day-to-day activities during the transition so no one has questions about what they need to do. Set metrics to track and hold everyone accountable, and adjust if necessary. For large projects, plan out the change in stages. Rather than implementing something all at once, give your team time to get used to new processes and systems.

Foster a culture of innovation and flexibility

Encourage adaptability, establish incentives for early adopters, and dont be afraid to shake it up with small adjustments to how your reps go about their day-to-day.

How to effectively roll out a new sales execution solution

Instituting processes and tools to improve efficiency doesn't have to be an onerous management task. Following these guidelines can help you garner support from your team to get up and running quickly.

1. Engage advocates early on

Some of the most important work when rolling out a new solution is the work you do upfront.

Its critical to deeply understand your implementation strategy and communicate the plan, so everyone understands the why and how.

Start with your leadership advocates. Seek out senior or VP-level sponsors from the sales team to lead.

Build a communications plan that helps people across the organization understand how it benefits everyone not just the company and leaders and helps individuals personally. For example, when sales reps understand that Outreach can automate prospecting workflows, and help them reach their quota they'll get on board faster.

Develop messaging that covers the business case and the vision and explains their benefits, potential barriers and hurdles to adoption or use, and what they need to do.

Then keep the momentum going. Share out success stories and information like dashboards and data. Fold continued highlights into a communication plan that extends long past the initial rollout. 2.

2. Enable the champions

Your leadership can only carry so far. Lean on your mid-level managers to drive your implementation. Turn your managers into champions, get them trained early, and provide them with toolkits so that they can help their people see the benefits.

Dont forget to provide ongoing training and support. Education around best practices for change can help your managers communicate the benefits of using Outreach to realize business value, define expectations and strategies, and help manage the change to drive adoption.

3. Evaluate against expectations

After rollout, be sure to check in to uncover pain points whats working and whats not. Active and passive feedback loops can expose friction points where people didn't get proper training or processes need to be smoothed for better performance.

Most of the time, people just want to be heard. Providing time and opportunities to share their concerns can pay off exponentially. Give team members a sense of control over the change, so their work encourages adoption. Additionally, with frequent feedback, you can make real-time adjustments so everyone can be more successful.

Set specific expectations of people early on, such as what actions they should be taking and when. One lever to embed new behaviors into the organization is to tie incentives, KPIs, and bonuses to your rollout so people have incentives to use the new process and system.

With clarity and purpose, your team will know what they're doing and why and how they'll be held accountable and be able to help transform your business.

No time to lose: efficiency is the key to closing

With the right processes baked into your organization, sales reps and leaders alike will be able to spend more of their time selling and working on the deals with the most potential for closing. In times of economic uncertainty, this is incredibly important.

Now is the time to invest in solutions that help your entire team achieve better results with less effort.
Curious about how to reliably hit targets and grow revenue under the toughest conditions? Check out our top resources on how to amplify sales rep impact.


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