Change is an inevitable part of any sales organization. Perhaps your methodologies are outdated, your sales solutions are antiquated or you’re going through a restructuring period. You know you need to make adjustments, but you’ve heard stories from colleagues who have tried to implement change with their teams and it didn’t go quite as planned.
The reality is that developing a strong change management strategy is challenging. In fact, only 34% of implemented changes are a clear success, according to Gartner.
While change management challenges may arise, you can keep morale and productivity high through effective leadership focused on team excellence. And excellence will drive your sales team to success.
Here are five change management best practices to follow for a favorable change implementation in your organization:
1. Clearly Understand What Needs to Change and Why
A strong foundation is critical when building a house, and it is equally critical with change management. Without a clear understanding of what needs to change and why it needs to change, you have a significant chance of ending up as one of the 66% of organizations that fail to have clear success.
- Pinpoint what needs to change and identify the existing weaknesses. One of the biggest change management challenges you will face is to clearly define the problem at the beginning.
- Set clear, realistic goals. Goal clarity is proven to have a significant impact on team performance.
- Listen to different perspectives, analyze existing data and decide. After defining the problem and establishing goals, it is time to gather information. Understanding the existing data and the perspectives of stakeholders will give you the information you need to decide if the change is worth implementing and if it will allow you to hit your goals.
- Explain why. One of the best change management tips for managers is to explain why to your team. It’s not enough to just know what you want to change; you need to explain why it needs to change in order to get executive and team buy-in.
2. Discuss the Changes With Your Sales Team
One of the best ways to manage resistance to change is to enlist your team to refine and enhance your new process. Implementing change is much easier when you use proven techniques to becoming a truly transformative leader, which means investing in your company’s most valuable asset — the people. And it means treating them as valuable by hearing what they have to say and asking them to contribute to the greater good of your company.
Navigating organizational change requires that you connect with your team. Focus on building on each person’s strengths throughout the process. Be vulnerable and empathetic, which builds trust across the team. Remember, communication and transparency increase buy-in and means the change is more likely to be accepted.
3. Structure Implementation Around Your Sales Team
Once implementation begins, it is critical to provide change management tools and techniques to empower your sales team. Each person on your team has their own strengths, learning styles and communications styles, and you should intentionally accommodate every team member during the transition phase.
Additionally, support your team by being prepared for every “what-if” scenario. Many change management solutions offer a framework that makes sure your team doesn’t feel lost but truly is part of the solution.
4. Show Your Appreciation Throughout the Transition
Change management process steps are not business or leadership-focused. In fact, effective change management leadership will help you meet organizational Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to the people on your sales team.
Change implementation can be a very real struggle. Empowerment and motivation go a long way in creating a success-oriented culture. Unsure of how to start the types of conversations that motivate and empower your team? It starts with asking the right kinds of questions.
As your team starts to succeed, recognize their efforts. Positive reinforcement is a powerful business tool to help motivate your team, but remember — motivation starts with gratitude. Minor incentives help during transitions; however, words of affirmation and words of thanks are highly motivational and will deepen the trust between you and your team.
5. Ensure That Your Systems Are Continuously Evolving
A key component of a culture of excellence is a commitment to sustained improvement. Change implementation should include the development of a sustained improvement plan to ensure that changes were thoroughly adopted and any new tools, practices and work approaches that were put in place are being consistently used.
- Clarify who is responsible for managing the ongoing changes.
- Determine a process for measuring success, including the methods and frequency of assessment.
- Set up accountability systems that will guard against backsliding.
Transform Your Change Management Strategy
Leadership and change management best practices may seem daunting. Reading a list of best practices teaches you what to do, but the real challenge comes in actually doing it.
Concerned that your next change implementation will end with a lack of success? Lean on our team at XINNIX®, The Academy of Excellence. We won’t just tell you what to do, we will show you how to do it. Learn more about our transformational leadership training here.