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The Secret to Successfully Managing Change in Your Small Business

The Secret to Successfully Managing Change in Your Small Business

Learn how Organizational Change Management (OCM) applies to SMBs as they implement CRM systems. This is a significant change for any growing company, and this post examines how to manage the process to set your business up for bigger future returns on investment. Get more tips on how to scale your small business with our ebook featuring insights from a Salesforce startup.

“Change is inevitable.”

“Change is the only constant.”

You’ve heard it all before. And that’s because it’s true — especially in business. As Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter put it, successful companies develop “a culture that just keeps moving all the time.”

Good change management strategies can spell the difference between riding change to success or letting it bring your business down. So, how should your small to medium-sized business successfully manage change? Check out the strategies below.

What is Organizational Change Management?

Change management broadly refers to any and everything you to do to prepare and support your organization during a time of great change. In other words, when a big change is coming, change management is everything you put in place to help the people and teams in your organization succeed. Plenty has been written about the topic of change management. Authorities on the matter agree: a systematic approach to both the organizational and human sides of change is your best bet for managing transitions without disrupting your business or making your employees unhappy.

An example of change management close to our own hearts, here at Salesforce, is the implementation of a CRM platform. This is a significant change for any growing company. Managing this process well can set organizations up for bigger returns on investment in the future. After all, CRM is not just a new technology for teams to use, it’s a tool that changes the way people work at the individual, team, and organizational levels.

Implementing a CRM platform requires managing change on both the “hard side” (i.e. the technology) and “soft side” (i.e. the people) of change management. The combination of the two is what we typically call Organizational Change Management (OCM).

Like ROI? You’ll Love OCM.

A study from change management research firm, ProSci, cited by Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School, showed that OCM is the path to success for managing organization-wide projects like CRM implementation.

According to the study, the five primary success factors for any company-wide initiative all fall under OCM: 

  1. Effective and strong executive sponsorship
  2. Buy-in from front-line managers and employees
  3. Exceptional teams
  4. Continuous and targeted communication
  5. Planned and organized approach

Putting a strong OCM plan in place before implementing a new CRM platform and workflow process directly impacts a business’s bottom line. A McKinsey study, also cited by Graziadio, found that ROI associated with these kinds of implementations was 143% when a solid OCM program was part of the initiative but only 35% with a poor OCM program or no program in place at all. That’s a potential difference of 78 cents for every dollar invested in your CRM implementation!

So, what makes for a good OCM plan? Here are the three most common things consistently found in successful change management programs:

  • Senior and middle managers and frontline employees are all involved
  • Roles and responsibilities are clear
  • Reasons for the project are understood and accepted throughout the organization

Basically, this boils down to planning, communication, and buy-in. Makes sense, right? When people feel involved, understand their roles, and believe in the change that’s happening, the organization as a whole is much more likely to succeed.

Ready for CRM? Manage the Change!

Are you getting ready to implement a new CRM or make the move from a spreadsheet-based system to Salesforce? Organizational Change Management can (and will) guide you to success.

From facilitating collaboration and information flow between marketing and sales, to uncovering new avenues for growth, adopting and implementing a CRM platform can help your small business reach new heights. But it’s a process that involves change — from individual roles and responsibilities to the way teams work together. Getting ahead of that change with executive sponsorship, clear communication, and a well-defined vision for how the organization will grow from that change is a big part of preparing for a successful implementation.

Get more tips on successfully scaling your small business with this ebook featuring insights from a Salesforce startup. Download your free copy here. Salesforce helps you find more customers, win their business, and keep them happy so you can grow faster than ever. Learn more about our small business CRM solutions or follow us on Twitter at @SalesforceSMB and join the conversation with #SalesforceEssentials.

Noah Kravitz Writer, SMB Marketing

Noah Kravitz is a writer and technologist working with the SMB Marketing team at Salesforce. A former journalist, he also hosts a podcast on Artificial Intelligence and is researching virtual reality-based wellness therapies.

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