Imagine. You are the Regional Sales Manager for a large manufacturer. You’ve got feedback that your firm is uncompetitive because you don’t have modernized tools. Your company needs to make a major change, yesterday.
This was the situation at Acme Widgets Inc. They had 35 rep firms, but were losing business to competitors who offered online tools and better customer experience. Everyone at Acme wanted to succeed, but they were too caught up in their own problems to see what was needed. That is, except for Doug Denny.
Doug was a Regional Sales Manager at Acme. He saw the handwriting on the wall about their lack of modern tools. Mainly because his Sales Reps reminded him on a daily basis. But he didn’t know what to do until a friend gave him a book titled, Who Moved My Cheese?
It was a short book on change management. It gave Doug a few ideas for getting senior management onboard to get the new tools his team needed. The book suggested 6 key steps for better change management. Here are some of the takeaways Doug got from the book:
- Recognize Change Happens
- Anticipate Change
- Make the Change
- Adapt to Change
- Monitor the Change
- Enjoy Change
1. Recognize Change Happens
One of Doug’s Sales Reps, Johnny Johnson was a wizard at using social media. In him, Doug saw a new generation that was driving change, whether the CEO wanted it to happen or not.
But senior management couldn’t see what Doug saw. He needed to share what he knew, even though they might not want to hear it. He softened the blow by sharing his book with the CEO and VP of Sales.
It must have nudged the VP of Sales in the right direction. Because she inspired the CEO to have an epiphany. He now realized they must act. But rather than going off half-cocked, Doug suggested to the VP of Sales they take some time to prepare.
2. Anticipate Change
CEO Jim Jameson took the advice of his VP of Sales and started preparing Acme for change. He wanted to make sure they got it right the first time. Jim instructed his managers to discuss the situation with their teams including Sales, Order Entry and I.T.
Senior management needed to impress upon everyone that change was needed for their survival. But it would also improve everyone’s situation. The last thing he wanted was a siloed organization. Or, a revolt.
Jim didn’t want his managers to oversell this, either. He wanted to build consensus. He realized there would be roadblocks ahead and objections to be overcome. So it was smart that he got the right people involved early.
3. Make the Change
When the time came to roll out the software, everyone was ready. A meticulous plan was in place for each part of the rollout. This included a detailed timeline with milestones for each stage.
The management team started priming the pump early, too. They sold the benefits of the implementation to every part of the organization. This alleviated everyone’s fears. Of course, it was about selling the sizzle, not the steak.
4. Adapt to Change
VP of Sales Julie Jackson knew adapting to change meant overcoming fear and inertia. And she had her own fears. Adapting to change would mean the salespeople must use the system, or else it would fail. Her ass was on the line.
If the salespeople weren’t using the new system, she needed to know why. Problems with the software could be fixed. But if lack of use was due to indifference, she would take measures Rather than punishing people though, she would better help them adapt.
Julie knew the sales rep would need help. She’d recently read a book called “Atomic Habits,” by James Clear. It opened her eyes about how hard it is to change. And that you must first rid yourself of old habits, before you can develop mastery at new ones.
5. Monitor the Change
Acme was now in their post implementation phase. But Sales Manager Doug Denny knew it wasn’t over yet. Reporting was now critical.
In the book, Who Moved My Cheese?, this was the point where the new cheese was being consumed, but not by everyone. Some people still needed to adapt. How could he get all his Sales Reps to enthusiastically use the new software, Doug wondered.
Fortunately, the new system let Doug see which reps were logging into the system, how often and when. And what they were doing. He knew some of his reps were more tech savvy than others.
Doug decided to develop some new training materials to explain the benefits and help them all adapt.
6. Enjoy Change
Six months had passed since Acme Widgets had implemented their new sales invoicing software. The good news was that everyone was now using the new system. But it wasn’t the thought force of management.
The planning had paid off. The new software genuinely made everyone’s life easier. It saved them time and effort. CEO Jim Jameson laughed when he remembered how worried he was that things would go off track.
Thanks to change management, the implementation went smooth and sales were increasing. Best of all Jim thought, his most loyal employees had adapted to using the new software. He felt secure about the company’s future.
VP of Sales Julie Jameson had cut her monthly sales forecast preparation time by 70%. And her new forecasts were consistently 10% more accurate. This was a huge relief for the CEO. And it saved Doug the time he used to spend on the phone with her.
Johnny Johnson loved the new sales tools, too. His quotes doubled in quantity. Many were going to Danny Dimagio who was now sending most of his business to Acme. The same was happening with the 34 other rep firms Acme worked with. So, their sales skyrocketed. This paid for the cost of the software, and then some.
The eRep Advantage
eRep CPQ specializes in sales quoting software for manufacturers. The eRep team has successfully implemented over 400 projects. With this much experience, they are the change management experts.
Although the example of Acme Widgets is a fictional scenario, the story is based on real-life stories that eRep clients have lived through. And, like the Acme Widget example, the eRep team will walk you through each step of your implementation for a journey to success.
Digital Transformation Success Guide
Part 1 of this series showcases strategies and pitfalls you’ll need to understand why organizations succeed and fail during a digital transformation.
Part 2 of this series looks into the personal desires and concerns that the key players at Acme Widgets Inc. will face as they go through a digital transformation.
About the Author
Wes is the Director of Marketing at BCA Technologies, and brings over 15 years of sales, marketing, and technology expertise. He has successfully completed major CRM, CPQ, ERP and CMS projects and is a seasoned expert in how technology can positively impact user experience and drive business value. Outside of work, he is a loving father and husband and a huge fan of the Tennessee Titans.