5 steps for successful change management in marketing
When we are looking to implement a new strategy or idea in an organisation, it's not always easy.
The larger the organisation the more complicated the change can be to implement but the process is the same regardless of number of employees.
Change management looks at the people side of the equation in order to achieve a business outcome, let's take a look at this in a real-life situation first. Let's say, we want to tell little Jonny, our 6-year-old, that's he is getting a baby sister. Now Jonny isn't a big fan of girls and he loves his parent's attention. Jonny isn't sure about this new addition and we know he isn't going to react well.
We could just tell him that this is what's happening and he needs to get over it and stop being so selfish but this means we are likely to hit further resistance down the line and he is less likely to want to be part of the process.
We could tell him then give him a few weeks to accept the idea then take him to a scan and see how he reacts.
We could tell him, reassure him, take him to the scan reassure him again, ask his opinion and create a vision of the future that benefits him in the hope that the transition helps his acceptance.
Now this is a super simplistic example as it involves a child and a whole host of other emotions but you could relate it to getting someone to change their beloved car or move to a different office too.
In the real world, let's look at an organisation who have hired me as a marketing consultant, they turned over £7MIL last year and are looking to grow yet again this year. There is a need for a full strategic, sales and marketing overhaul and there is no real marketing strategy so far.
1. Observation mode
So, in comes the observation mode, getting to know the staff and teams within the organisation, understand their pain points and how they operate currently.
I like to work by taking a benchmark of the current situation, the budgets, the people, the culture, the KPIs, the messaging, the customer point of view etc.
2. Current situation
Once the current situation is established, I move on to building the strategy and forecasts which will allow me to facilitate a transition. At all times, I have to take the people within the organisation with me. A company I worked with years ago, had an ACTUAL bus outside their offices when they were implementing a new CRM system, people who 'got on' the bus were on board with the changes, people who stayed off the bus were still resistant so it helped decipher who was in need of further support. Rather dramatic I know but it was a visual representation of what was happening in the company at that time.
3. Transition mode
The transition period needs hand holding to a certain extent but also clarity, consistency and exposure. You have already established that there are elements of the sales and marketing approach that need to seriously be addressed (that's why I'm here) but achieving those results is easier said than done with humans involved.
The transition mode needs to be managed very carefully and may often require creating a 'group' of employees based on opinion or phase in the change management cycle, there was a diagram on a course I attended years ago that mapped out the stages of change and they called them the uninformed optimist, the informed pessimist, the decision valley kids, the informed optimists and the realisers and transitioners. I quite like that I have seen those stages in real life, time and time again.
4. Future mode
The future period comes in to play throughout the planning process as it is part of the initial strategy but comes more apparent in the later stages of the change management cycle when the operations are taking place and the employees are satisfied that this change is going to happen and that it will improve their working day. We cannot lose sight of the fact that we are running a business here and that the strategy has been decided for a reason, for many SMEs they are very proud of their people though so in order to stay on track senior management need to be strong in the decision making and encouragement of new strategy.
5. Review mode
The review period is also essential to ensure that the whole change process and the strategy implementation with its outcomes, has been managed successfully. As a consultant, when you finish the implementation phase and aren't as visible any more, things can slowly revert back to how they were. It is essential that there is follow up and that there is a review of the outcomes expected and delivered in order to label the project a success.
If you are nervous of change in your organisation but need a fresh look at things, give me a shout email@example.com