Three steps to change management during CRM implementation

Implementing a CRM system can have a huge impact on how your business functions, including the day-to-day jobs of individual employees. Facilitating this change is important, since it involves essentially restructuring your company culture. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, staff productivity decreases up to 75% during unmanaged change.

Start off by surveying your organization to see how prepared they are for change. Surveys can help you identify departments or individuals who might be resistant to change and why. This will help you develop your change management strategy.

Here are some procedures you should follow as part of your change management strategy to ensure a smooth transition:

1. Communication

Create a program to inform all affected parties about the CRM system, including its benefits and the process to come. This can be done through a series of general meetings, announcements, or newsletters, but it’s a lot of information to process, so try to get creative.

Recommended reading: find CRM software that is easy to implement with our comprehensive CRM vendor directory

You can develop an email campaign to inform employees about the benefits of CRM for the whole company, not just sales. According to surveys by Tech News World, the benefits can be vast, including better customer service, satisfaction and retention; better sales, market intelligence and lower costs.

Since your CRM solution will affect the workday of many people, you can expect some resistance to change. CRM is designed to streamline business tasks, and some employees might fear their job is in jeopardy as a result of the change. Others will simply dislike the new standard for business processes.

Set up an approach to respond to these complaints. Focus on the benefits of CRM for them -- for example, less busy work makes it easier for them to close sales. Address the concerns of these individuals one-on-one, enlisting the help of peers and supervisors.

2. Incentives

Showing people the potential benefits of a CRM system for them isn’t enough to get them enthusiastic about using it. Implementing some kind of incentive with a measurable benefit is an effective method to fix this.

For example, you can ‘gamify’ your CRM implementation with a reward points program or something similar. For example, an employee could earn points based on their CRM login rate. Store these points on a special website like IncentiveMarketing.org, which is designed just for that.

3. Internal guidelines

Communication and incentives will help ensure most of your organization is enthusiastic and accepting of change. These are the first and most important approaches to take, but in the end, management should still draw out some clear guidelines for who they expect to use the system and how.  Include CRM usage as part of your job descriptions and performance evaluations to encourage adoption.

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Courtney Danyel

About the author…

Courtney is a business writer, content marketing expert, Twitter addict (@danyeltravels) and recovering academic. These days she works with marketing agencies and SaaS companies to create content that engages audiences, generates buzz, builds relationships, and drives sales.

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Courtney Danyel