9 Steps to Simplify Salesforce Change Management

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Googling Salesforce change management? You’re probably wondering how you can get your team to successfully adapt and reach a defined destination.

You recognize that without alignment and communication, the change your organization so desperately seeks is at risk.

In this post, we’ll walk you through nine steps to simplify Salesforce change management to ensure new features, processes, and brand-new Salesforce instances roll out without a hitch.

What is change management?

Change management is defined as a framework for a new organizational structure or process. Think of it as a “recipe” for change with four key steps:

1. Preparation: Have a clear understanding of where your organization is. What tools and skills do you have to drive the change you’re seeking?

2. Implementation: Here’s where you follow the steps you’ve outlined in the prep phase. It’s also important to adjust and recalibrate as you’re moving through implementation because as you probably know, change is a constant. Just don’t forget to keep sight of your goals.

3. Immersion: This is where changes are embedded into your company’s workflows and culture. Ideally, you’ll want to implement a lightweight software solution that reinforces learning and adoption in Salesforce and the other tools your teams use most. Spekit, a just-in-time learning tool, enables you to embed documentation, dynamic walkthroughs, and self-service features directly in Salesforce.
4. Analysis & improvement: See how change is going. Are new processes sticking? Where are individuals and teams getting stuck? Spekit’s embedded analytics let you gauge success based on user behavior in Salesforce, giving you invaluable insights into how to improve your change management initiatives.

Why change management is critical to Salesforce adoption and success

What is Salesforce change management?

In truth, it’s not all that different from change management. The process is similar to the four steps we outlined above. But the tools for rolling out change and driving adoption may differ.

One of the reasons why Salesforce is so popular is customization.

But learning to do your job in a highly-customized environment with increasingly short cycles can be intimidating. As a result, those thrust into new environments and processes often feel stuck or fear “breaking something.”

That’s why change management is vital to Salesforce adoption and success. On the flip side, if users spend hours keeping up with changes or tapping others with questions, their primary responsibility (building customer relationships) falls to the wayside.

Suppose you don’t have a change management process or the tools to support you through change. In that case, you will lose valuable time performing essential tasks, rolling out new features, and collaborating across a new or modified system.

9-step Salesforce change management process

For a seamless Salesforce change management process, you’ll need to:

  • Get executive buy-in
  • Set up a change management team
  • Perform a change readiness assessment
  • Create a Salesforce change management plan
  • Phase implementation and test changes
  • Provide contextual in-app training
  • Deploy changes
  • Analyze adoption metrics
  • Provide ongoing support

We’ll explore these nine Salesforce change management best practices in greater detail below. So keep reading for tips on how to master each area.

1) Get executive buy-in

Prosci, a change management consultancy, recommends the ADKAR model to get executive buy-in.

Awareness: Leaders need to know about a problem. You’ll need to develop a business case for Salesforce change management. What are the benefits? How can you mitigate risk, and drive ROI? Explain how change management will help you realize defined goals.

Desire: You need to cultivate a willingness to participate in and support change management. You can do so by showing how the change will transform customers and the organization.

Knowledge: Read up on how to apply change management. Sometimes that’s bringing in external help or finding change champions within your organization.

Ability: Implementing change is half the battle. Here’s where seamlessly embedded learning tools like Spekit for Salesforce come in.

Reinforcement: For change to stick, it needs to live in Salesforce and the other tools your teams use every day. To succeed, empower users with just-in-time learning tools.

2) Set up a change management team

Leaders can’t drive change alone.

Create and support an internal change management team to drive Salesforce adoption. Ideally, this team will consist of people who understand how the changes you’re considering will impact your organization, partners, and customers.

Make sure you assign clear roles for day-to-day activities and develop a long-term strategy to remove resistance to change.  

3) Perform a change readiness assessment

Knowing where your organization lies on the change receptivity scale is crucial to starting a change initiative.

Some questions to ask during your readiness assessment:

  • Why are you making this change(s)?
  • What are your objectives?
  • Who’s driving the change? Are your leaders aligned with the change’s vision and objectives?
  • How will your teams react and why?
  • Have you rolled out changes in the past? What did you learn then? What can you do differently this time?
  • How will you communicate these changes internally and externally?
  • How will you ensure people don’t resist change and adopt new processes?
  • How will you measure the impact of your change initiatives?
  • What will you do to improve continuously?
  • Will you collect feedback? Who will review it?
  • How will you use that input to drive enhancements?

Before drawing up your change management plan, take time to lay out your vision, benefits, challenges, and expectations to avoid repeating this step.

4) Create a Salesforce change management plan

In this phase, you’ll create a plan for your change initiative.

  • Examine your current Salesforce processes
  • Interview key stakeholders for their perspectives and to gain a better understanding of the areas that need solving
  • Analyze your findings and create a plan that addresses the most critical pain points

5) Phase implementation and test changes

Now that you’ve drawn up the change you want to implement, test it in a staging environment.

If you’ve ever released an update, you know things can go wrong, so replicate the Salesforce production environment as much as possible. You can achieve this with a:

  • Full sandbox: Here, all your production data is copied. But this comes at the cost of refresh rate; full sandboxes refresh only once every 29 days.
  • Partial sandbox: Here, you have all your production metadata but only a subset of your data.
  • Developer sandbox: Here, you have no data, just production metadata.
  • Production: This is your actual instance. We don’t recommend testing changes here before staging because if something happens, undoing it can be a time-consuming and expensive process.

6) Provide contextual in-app training

Contextual in-app training powers a “learn by doing” mentality. Rather than bombarding Salesforce users with swaths of knowledge, Spekit enables you to support them with bite-sized pieces of information in their workflows.

Employees forget 50% of what they learned in an hour.

In-app training reduces that problem by giving Salesforce information in small, digestible chunks.

Spekit’s digital adoption platform (DAP) meets employees where they are and reduces friction between tools because it lives where they work.

7) Deploy changes

Once you’ve communicated changes and ironed out the production kinks, you’re ready to go live.

But don’t pop the champagne just yet. Monitor the changes you’ve rolled out. Collect feedback from Salesforce users and use Spekit’s built-in analytics for deeper insight into the success of your change initiatives.

8) Analyze adoption metrics

There are many approaches to analyzing adoption metrics or key experience indicators (KEIs).

Google’s HEART framework can help you choose and define metrics that reflect both the quality of user experience and the goals of your change experience.

In addition, Spekit’s built-in analytics and survey tools can help you collect feedback on Salesforce users’ Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, and Task Success.

9) Provide ongoing support

For change to stick, you must test new content and processes, analyze user behavior, and identify friction points.

Adopt an experimental mindset and regularly involve users in your research to find new and better ways to do things. Get your entire organization invested in their individual and collective transformation.

Simplify Salesforce change management with Spekit

Salesforce change management can be daunting, but having a strategy and the right tools can make the difference between success and failure.

As the only one-click Salesforce integration, Spekit helps change champions drive lasting transformations with the following features.

In-app training: Support users within Salesforce. Spekit enables a self-service experience right in Salesforce and other popular tools like Slack and email, so your users don’t have to leave the tools they use most.

In-app training: Embedded Speks support users within Salesforce. Spekit enables a self-service experience right in Salesforce.

Guided walkthroughs: Spekit Flows are easy-to-create guided walkthroughs that reinforce critical knowledge directly in Salesforces, so your teams stay focused and in flow.

Centralized knowledge base: Seamlessly organize organizational knowledge by topic, team, or tool and make it accessible in any workflow. Spekit’s centralized knowledge base makes it faster and easier to create and manage content and surface information when and where needed.

In-app alerts and announcements: Spotlights, in-app digital alerts, welcome individuals and teams, instantly aligning them with changing processes, products, and customers. Use them to share announcements, big wins, and other critical information in 30 seconds or less.

Analytics and feedback loops: See what content is performing and where users are getting stuck. Spekit’s built-in analytics give you deep insight into what’s working and what needs improvement.

Salesforce is a lot like an organization’s central nervous system.  

It connects teams like sales, marketing, and product to your customers (the rest of your body in this analogy). If there is a disconnect between your brain and your body, sales dip, customer relationships suffer, and marketing misses the mark.

Luckily, that’s where a Salesforce change management strategy comes in. Learn how to drive seamless Salesforce adoption with Spekit, or reach out to us to get started.