Strategic Account Management (SAM) software can help you up your game by allowing you to track, measure, and analyze everything that might be important to your company. As much as the benefits of a great SAM software are evident, the process of rolling it out across your company is never easy. How do you get your people on the same page so you can fully implement the new SAM software and start getting all the benefits as soon as possible?
Change management will play a key part in this. If you try to force the change through without taking the time to make sure you do it right, you could end up with a lot of disgruntled company employees who resent the new system. For the sake of getting the best out of your SAM software and helping your company reach its full potential, pay attention to how you’re implementing the new change. If you ignore change management and focus too much on new, you may leave too many people behind.
Any Change Creates Resistance
In the context of business, any change you make will bring immediate resistance. It’s a fact of life that people do not like change, even when the change is something that’s obviously beneficial. Facing change in the workplace is especially difficult because of the sense of uncertainty that’s created. No one likes to feel uncertainty in their job, which will lead them to resist any change you plan on implementing. The larger the change, the stronger the initial resistance will be.
Resistance to Deploying Strategic Account Management Software
Deploying a Strategic Account Management software platform company-wide is a large change. Whether you’re starting from scratch or replacing an existing asset management software with something better, it’s going to be a long road. People in your organization may become worried about how they’ll use the new software, what they’ll have to learn, how long it will take to get used to it, how it will be different from the old system, and a lot of other things.
To minimize the consequence of resistance to your proposed new Strategic Account Management software deployment, you need to pay attention to a lot more than just the change itself. Take a look at the full picture of all the moving pieces involved in the deployment, including the people working at your organization. For the entire deployment process to run more smoothly, you need to practice change management.
Implementing Change Management Principles
There’s a process you need to follow whenever you want to make an organizational change. The process doesn’t really change, even if the actual change being implemented is drastically different from case to case. Whether it’s a SAM software deployment or a total restructuring, this is the process of implementing change in your organization:
Management must support the change
In most organizations, change needs to go from the top down. Leaders in your organization need to be on board with the change and to stand behind it wholeheartedly. If you’re in a top leadership position, you need to fully stand behind it yourself and bring your colleagues on board with you. Even if you’re not in a top leadership position, you need to petition your leadership to stand behind the changes being implemented so everyone in the organization can be on the same page.
It all starts with organizational leadership. When leaders can confidently tell people in the organizational that this SAM software deployment is the right way to go, it can help others gain more confidence in the change and give it a chance instead of outright rejecting it.
Present a logical reason
Leaders need to explain why the change is necessary and beneficial. Employees at any organization are capable of understanding when something needs to happen, whether they like it or not. Your job in this beginning phase is to help them understand why the organization has decided to deploy a SAM software and how it will improve things for everyone.
You need to focus on logic. Fill in the missing pieces by pointing to the need that exists in your organization right now and how this software is going to fulfill that need. Presenting the case for a change can help people ease into it more comfortably, since they’ll be able to see why it’s necessary to go through the process of changing. You may start to win them over if you help them to wrap their minds around why it needs to happen.
Communicate about the change
Up a line of conversation open. Be transparent about what’s going on during the transition, and keep people updated throughout the process. If you present that a change is going to happen and then you fail to keep them in the loop about it, you can create a lot of anxiety and uncertainty around the whole process. Update regularly and communicate about it openly.
The other part of communication is reaching out to people directly. Ask them to be involved in the deployment in some way. These will be your SAM software champions, because they’ll be more interested in seeing things succeed when they’re directly involved. Their involvement will help to bring others into the fold as well, limiting the number of people who get left behind. It’s good to do these talks as directly as possible with each person, so they can understand their role and their importance in making it happen.
Follow through with the timeline
Create a timeline about how the account management software will be rolled out, then stick to what you’ve said. If things change, update the timeline to reflect it. Do your best to follow a predictable timeline so you don’t create uncertainty and chaos. The best thing you can do when you’re implementing a large change is to keep things as stable as possible by letting everyone know ahead of time how and when things will happen.
Just because you bring people on in the beginning doesn’t mean you should expect them to follow you through everything without question. Make a habit of checking up with people regularly to make sure things are operating smoothly. If there are any problems, you need to put yourself in a position to catch them early instead of letting them fester and grow in secret.
Try to ask specific questions when they’re appropriate, to get more informative answers out of people. Ask about specific parts of their role, and ask follow-up questions until you get satisfactory answers. You need to root out any existing problems and potential issues in order to react appropriately to them as quickly as possible.
Compensate for weaknesses discovered [training employees, communicating better, etc.]
Each time you talk with people in your organization, you need to take action whenever there’s a solvable problem in front of you. This will mean something different depending on what problems people are facing with the deployment. If they’re struggling with any part of the software, you can organize training sessions. If they don’t fully understand their role or what they’re supposed to be doing, find the gaps in communication and fix them.
Some of the challenges that come with change are difficult to solve. However, if you ignore any weaknesses you uncover in your staff, you may be just pushing the problem farther down the road where it’ll be more difficult to handle later. Problems that are heard and not addressed, or problems that are ignored, can create a bad working environment that causes people to leave rather than sticking with it.
As you’re going through the change process, make sure you take the time to acknowledge when things are done right and when your people have important successes. Celebrate the small successes as they come.
Beyond change management, there are other aspects of a new software deployment that you should be paying attention to as it goes.
Do It Right from the Beginning
Avoid taking shortcuts and allowing people to get away with using the new software the wrong way, even in the beginning. If they’re using it incorrectly or they are refusing to use it as it needs to be used, you need to correct their behavior right away. Be consistent from day one and don’t allow laziness or lack of motivation to use the new system creep in.
Starting right and staying consistent is going to help the entire organization build good habits around use of the new software. Instead of excusing improper use or letting people get away with not using the software at all, teach them how to do it right and encourage them to learn the right way from the very beginning. This is going to result in a lot of people with a higher competency and a better overall understanding of how you expect things to be done.
Develop a process around the new software. Adjust your current working processes to accommodate the new software. Make sure that you’re using it to the fullest of its abilities as soon as possible.
Train Your Organization
No one is going to know how to use the new software intuitively. Everyone will have a learning curve that they’ll progress through at their own rate. Some of your more tech-savvy people are doing to pick it up very quickly and learn to utilize it right away. Others are going to need a bit more training to understand how to use the software fully.
Make sure that training is easily available. The only way you can take all your people with you into the new phase of the organization is to teach them how to use the new tool. When possible, tailor training to accommodate the needs of different people. Try not to force quick learners to sit through hours of unnecessary training or to move so quickly that slower learners can’t keep up. If necessary, create different training teams to make sure people are getting the kind of attention they actually need.
Lead by Example
Organizational governance cannot slack off when there’s an ongoing transition. You need to lead the way and champion the change. If the organizational governance isn’t even taking the new software seriously, no one else is going to either. Take the new processes you’ve developed and make sure you’re consistently using them yourself and encouraging others to do so. Give a lot of grace as people learn how to do it, but do expect them to learn and start to use it on their own over time.
Looking at the Long-Term
Pushing things through as quickly as possible won’t make them a success. Just because you’ve gotten everyone to start using the new system also doesn’t mean you’ve succeeded. The way you implement a change will make a huge difference in the long-run. For the new change to stick and become an integral part of how your organization operates, you need to do it right.
The change management process is going to set you up for long-term success. Strategic asset management software like Kapta can help you reach your goals and keep track of what’s going on in your operation, but you won’t get the most out of it unless you pay attention to how you roll it out. Overlooking change management could be a costly mistake in the long-run.