Deliver change management for maximum software user adoption in a large user base. Get your people involved in the rollout.

Day 5 – Last day of training

“This was great training, and I am not going to use this software!”

Did I hear that right? We had been together in a classroom of 20 salespeople learning Sales Force Automation (SFA) for 5 full days. His company made a big investment in this software and training. And yet, here was John, Vice President of Enterprise Sales for the Mid-West with all his swagger and charm, and he was not going to use the system.

I was dumbfounded! I shouldn’t have been. In 2017 one reportsaid that 75% of business and IT executives anticipated that their software projects would fail.

A Change Management Strategy to Create Success Using Your Software

Business process software* should help people work together. This means that even with easy to use software, people are going to be using it differently and will have challenges switching to the new application for a variety of reasons.

A Change Management Plan addresses these challenges.

Change Management is a structured process that gets the right people involved at the right time to ensures everyone knows how and when to perform the new procedure and is committed to using the new process.

Prosi’s 2017 report shows that organizations that utilize an official Change Management program are six times more likely to achieve their objectives.

1. Analyze what needs to change.

What pain does the software address and for whom?

When a customer purchases a SaaS application, they have a clear idea of what their challenge is and how the application can be used to solve it. And, therein lies the problem. People need to use the application!

Let’s continue with another version of the sales force automation (SFA) rollout as an example. SFAs keep salespeople on track with what they need to do and say and help other team members stay up to date with the sales process. Sam Suthar of writes that “companies that use sales automation achieve higher conversion rates of 53%…”

With such fantastic possibilities, what could prevent salespeople from using this platform?

Learning and using an SFA (or any software) requires a lot of time and effort. It takes time to learn the application and how it is used within a specific team. And finally, people just don’t like change!

Let’s look more carefully at some of the challenges:

  • Time: Salespeople want to be out selling, not learning new software.
  • Priorities: Learning a new sales tool is simply not their priority. Selling is. PERIOD.
    • The Carrot: Show that this SFA will make the difference in their bottom line.
    • The Stick: Management has decided to switch SFA platforms, and all sales personnel must learn the new tool or there will be consequences.
  • Concerns: There are other concerns people have about changing platforms such as concern about cybersecurity, personal data breaches, support for the new platform, and others.
  • Knowledge: Sometimes a new platform is turned on and intended users simply don’t get the message that the team has changed platforms.

2. Get Buy-in.

No matter how good the tool is, or how badly it’s needed, if you don’t get buy-in, the project is just NOT going to happen. But who needs to buy-in?

Get Management Support to…

  1. Supply the money: You need to “sell” the software and the process to management to ensure there is enough money in the budget for the purchase of the product and the entire rollout effort.
  2. Be a messenger / cheerleader for the project. Even if your executive management needs help with messaging, their voice at the beginning and throughout the project is invaluable. It can give the project team the emotional energy they need, erase doubts about the importance of the project, and energize the entire team who will use the product.

Build Project Teams.

You are going to need people from various departments to make this work.

  1. Implementation Team. People from both the customer side and the product side will work together implement the application so that it helps the users succeed.
  2. Marketing / Communication Team. You’ll need to set up a Communication Plan to tell all potential users that great changes are coming, what the implementation timeline is, and that their suggestions will be welcomed. Get the customer’s marketing team’s help. They are experts at delivering messages that make an impact, are attractive and on-brand.
  3. Training Team: Trainers will lead workshops where users practice using the software with scenarios similar to what they will have in their jobs and can discuss how the software will affect their processes.
  4. Champions. In very large companies, you may need Champions. These are members of the team who will be using the new platform. They can be trained earlier in the implementation process than the rest of their team so that they can help with User Testing and can then be promoters and experts within their teams.

Build Excitement.

Now that you have your teams in place, it’s time to use that Communication Plan to let the users know what is coming. Facebook Workplace has a Launch Kit [] with fantastic marketing collateral to help companies promote it from pre-launch to post-launch. Materials you may want to include in your Communication Plan include:

  • Scripts for videos
  • Templates for email, web pages, email headers, email signatures
  • Posters and postcards
  • Badges

Get your highest executive to send out a message (video is great) about how excited he/she is that their company will be rolling out this software, set expectations about what will be involved in the implementation and rollout, and that the company will be looking for “champions” to help.

3. Get people to use the application.

It’s time, the application has been fully configured, User Application Testing (UAT) is done and now the product will be rolled out to the full team.

Run Instructor-Led Roll-out Training.

While self-paced training has its advantages and should be used to train new users post-rollout, instructor-led training during rollout is the most effective method for large scale change. Instructor-led training:

  • Sends the message that the new software is key to the company’s success. No matter how easy the product is to use, having a live training session (even if it is virtual) makes the event more memorable and sends out a message that people will be expected to use the platform from here on.

Facilitators should demonstrate the application and then give learners a chance to practice these new skills in a sandbox or live version of the application. Then participants can discuss their best practices, question new processes and functionality, and point out concerns or suggestions for configuration of the application.

Go Live with the Application.

Trainers should make sure users use their live instances before they leave class. Make sure when users leave, they know exactly how to log into their profile, and know exactly what to do when they get back to work.

  • Give users a voice. Make sure there is a mechanism to report challenges with the application. If there are questions about processes, discuss resolutions in future team meetings.
  • Continue communication post-rollout. Send out ongoing communication about new features, benefits and use cases. Make sure these emails and messages are short and easily consumable.

Evaluate and Reward Use.

Even with all the work you have done, not everyone will use the tool to its fullest advantage. So, what to do?

  1. Remind teams that this tool will help them achieve their business goals.
  2. Run reports to see who is using the application.
  3. Empower Champions to work with their teammates to see where they need help.
  4. Give Managers talking points for team meetings. Managers can improve adoption by bringing up issues during team meetings.
  5. Reward good behavior. Give badges, announce leaders during team meetings, or give small rewards for people utilizing the tool to its fullest advantage.

Remember, these business applications can only help a company achieve its business goals if they are used effectively. A well-executed Change Management process will help your teams overcome the challenges that always go with adopting new processes.

Want help getting users to adopt your software Schedule a meeting to discuss a Change Management and User Adoption strategy.

* Software that helps manage processes such as project management, communications, recruiting, sales and marketing.

Scale Customer Success with Customer Education

No big deal…

Customer Success’s only job is making customers happy and successful

As a Customer Success professional, your job is easy to quantify. You just need to onboard the customers and keep them from ever leaving. No problem! Actually, if you have Customer Education, it’s a lot easier.

Of course, the statement above is sarcastic. Customer Success is an all-encompassing position. According to Rick Adams, CEO of Practical CSM, there are three stages of Customer Success engagement. Each one requires skill and dedication:

  1. Initial Stage: Researching the new customer, getting to know the stakeholders, and reaching agreements about how the CSM team can help the customer be successful.
  2. User Readiness Stage: Onboarding stakeholders and training users for full-scale adoption.
  3. Ongoing Stage: Ensuring that the customer has realized initial and ongoing value. Evaluation of the first two stages, and how to maintain and build the relationship into the future to ensure ongoing customer satisfaction and success.

Customer Education to Scale Customer Success

A formal Customer Education strategy and training professional can help you scale your Customer Success efforts by taking over many of the tasks in Stage 2 – User Readiness.

  • Onboarding: Stakeholders and customer project managers can take public classes to learn about the system and end-user functionality. This helps them be far more effective partners throughout the implementation process. These classes can be offered as:
    • Instructor-Led public classes (in-person or virtual)
    • eLearning, self-paced classes
  • Adoption Planning: You work with stakeholders to maximize end-user adoption and success. This may involve a Change Management plan, where you map out the key steps required to ensure your groups embrace new processes to improve overall performance. These steps include developing plans for leadership involvement, communication, training administrators and end-users, assessing product use, and adoption post-roll-out.
  • Adoption Implementation & Training: Implementing your communication strategies, and training plans, you get users and administrators into training activities and using their live platforms.

Adding a training strategy will help customers gain a holistic overview of the product, giving your Customer Success team the time and bandwidth it needs to focus on client relationships, implementation of the platform, and overall oversight of the customer lifecycle.

Are you ready to scale with Customer Education? Schedule a meeting to discuss your Customer Education strategy.

Great Instructor-Led Training for Software Adoption
Deliver instructor-led training that gets customers using your software to succeed.

Instructor-led training is a great place to start your Customer Education Strategy for software adoption. Because it is interactive, you can get immediate feedback about what customers need to know and which training strategies work.

Follow these 5 steps to great instructor-led training for software adoption to get learners engaged and using your software. Remember, while being entertaining can help, in business settings, people go to classes to get better at their job. Everything that you do or say in class must lead to those goals.

It helps to think of Instructor-led training (ILT) as a workshop and not a lecture. In a workshop, you can have discussions that lead to personalized learning. This is especially effective for business process software such as recruiting, HR, sales, and project management where participants can discuss specifically how these tools will they return to their offices.

Effective classes require great preparation. Instructors must have the tools, skills, and curriculum to entice learners to engage.

Step 1

Focus on results. What will learners do better after class?

Successful training means learners have new skills. Use the questions below to clearly define your desired results:

  • What is the problem you are trying to solve with the software?
  • How will using the application solve the problem?
  • What does success with your solution look like?
  • Who is using the application?
  • What do they need to know to use the application well?
  • What aspect of the solution does this class cover?

Step 2

Outline the class as a journey where there is a clear transformation.

The class needs to have a well-developed road map where, like a story, there is a beginning, middle, and end. Forget theory (unless it helps you DO something better)! Whatever you discuss in a classroom must lead to direct action.

Don’t assume your learners know what you are talking about. You must clearly explain how each fact relates and how it will help them do their jobs.

As you outline learning objectives, make sure that everything you add to the outline answers these questions:

  • How will this help the students do this job better?
  • How does this topic relate to the purpose of the course?
  • How does this sub-topic relate to / build onto the topic?

Step 3

Make class interactive. Let students discover.

LECTURES DON’T work for learning new skills! Remember “Telling Ain’t Training” and forget “the Sage on the Stage!” You’re a leader; but not the star.

Facilitate learners’ discovery of the material. Say only what must be said, but don’t say more. Think of yourself as a tour guide, where you introduce topics and concepts and build on what they know. As much as possible, build the course so students can discover the answers themselves whenever possible.

Discovery example

Navigating new software. It is surprising that often navigating new software is not as intuitive as we think! This exercise sets the class up for an easy early success.

Give learners a short tour of how an application is laid out. Then you can either have a student demonstrate as you guide him/her, or you can ask them to guide you through a few navigation discovery tasks.

Next, tell the students where to find the exercise in their student guide. And give them enough time to complete the exercise on their own through the application. Make sure they know exactly what to do when they finish their classroom assignments.

Step 4

Make it pretty.

Today, people expect pretty. Use your company’s marketing guides to design your slides and handouts.

Keep slide presentations brief and uncluttered.

Slide presentations should be concise, with as little text as possible. Do NOT include step-by-step instructions. Too many words on a slide distract learners from listening.

The Student Guide should have longer explanations and step-by-step exercises. If you have a longer explanation, make it brief and relevant. Refer students to the text in the Student Guide.

Step 5

Wrap it up by reminding them of what they learned.

Give your students a sense of accomplishment. Wrap up the class by going back through the agenda, reminding them how the topics flow together and what skills they have learned to complete their jobs more easily.

Getting learners involved in class will get them using your software to excel at their job and will make you shine as an instructor.