Whether you’re a brand-new organization or a company that’s been around for a while, you should prepare your team for a successful software launch. Maybe your team has grown tired of using a shared spreadsheet for your sales efforts? Maybe your company is trying something new that's a better fit for your needs? The initial configuration of your new system will make all the difference in how effective it can be for your team.
Getting started with a new Sales or CRM platform is exciting. You’ve done your research, you’ve vetted several programs and found one that will meet your needs, you’ve been through a demo or two, you’ve signed on and are ready to go. So, what now?
Properly setting up and implementing your new software is critical to the project’s success. If the setup is not completed correctly, you won't get the highest value out of your new system. Adjusting the setup later on to reach this potential will likely require significant resources. There are some steps you can take to help make the setup process smooth and effective for your organization.
Bring the Right People Together
Ideally, you will have the means and capacity to create a team for this project. By including team members with different backgrounds and areas of expertise you will be well-equipped to maximize the benefits of your new software.
One member of the team will need to act as the project manager to organize and align the team's efforts and keep the project on track and moving forward. Other key team members would include:
Sales Manager – Someone who knows your sales process inside and out. Their expertise will be invaluable, and they’ll want to gain familiarity with the new software as early as they can.
Marketing Manager – Marketing and sales efforts often align for aspects like lead acquisition and communication, a knowledgeable member of the marketing team will have quality input to help guide specific parts of the project.
Technical Contact – If your new system will interact with other systems you are using or plan to use, having someone on the team familiar with all the technology you employ will be essential.
Smaller organizations will benefit from a team that's flexible and empowered to make high-level decisions.
Learn and Leverage External Expertise
In-depth knowledge of your new system will come as you work with the software and gain familiarity with the settings and features. By starting the learning process early you will be more prepared to answer questions that your team has once you begin implementing the new software, and you will be able to explain the benefits of the system. You may also uncover hidden opportunities to utilize additional features within the software that can further maximize the benefits.
Start by asking your point of contact for suggestions for getting up to speed with the software. Read any available articles or documentation, watch videos, and take advantage of any guided system tours or training offered. If questions arise, make sure you’re getting answers. Lean on your contact’s expertise with the new system whenever you’re not sure how to utilize the system for a particular scenario. They will likely have guidance or best practices they can share to help you tackle any specific business use cases.
Keep an Open Mind
When an organization is moving from one software program to another, it’s common to get hung up on the differences between them. Two systems may do a lot of the same things, but the way they do those things will inevitably be different – often very different.
Remember that different doesn’t equate to bad. You have already put in the time to determine that this new software will work for you, and you should approach it with an “all in” mindset. You should be invested in making this new software work for you and embrace the technology at hand. The way your old system works should not be a factor in how you approach the new system.
Prepare Your Team
Launching new software can be a cumbersome process for many organizations, but it doesn’t have to be. Before you launch your new program, it is important to think about how the change will impact the personnel that will be using it every day. It's common to have detractors whenever a high-level change occurs in an organization, and this can impact the success of the new effort.
You can combat this early by creating buy-in among the team members. Let them know early that the change is coming and explain why the change is beneficial to them and the organization.
It will also help if you can provide materials to the team to help them learn and build familiarity and comfort with the new software. Whenever possible, schedule training sessions for the team well before your launch date and help them get some hands-on experience with the program.
It's also important to listen to the team. By understanding and addressing their questions and concerns they'll feel that their input is important, as it should be. This will also help you understand who the major detractors may be, and you can work closely with these people to help harness a more positive attitude towards the change.
In summary, appropriately preparing for the setup of new software for your organization is equally as important as the setup itself. By taking a few key steps and harnessing the correct mindset you can build organizational confidence in the project before it even begins, which will result in the project being successful.