The Enterprise Marketer's Guide to Managing Change
As an enterprise-level marketer in a data-driven world, your technology toolbox is likely a mile deep and just as wide—ranging from CRM to an entire ecosystem of tools for research, execution, measurement, and more. You’ve probably come to understand that no matter how great any technology is on its own, it is only one part of the solution. Strategic and intentional deployment, along with ongoing optimization and team adoption, are the bridge between a good solution and a great outcome. And even then, when a powerful strategy has been the foundation of a well thought-out plan, change is constant and requires additional adjustment and flexibility.
We see many types of change within the enterprise companies that we work with: from team growth, to team attrition, to changes of the digital landscape, and even changes in overall corporate strategy. Hardly a week goes by without managing the downstream (or upstream) effects of change.
So whether you are a marketing practitioner leveraging your toolbox or leading the charge for a set of tools, we wanted to share our thoughts on how to navigate constant change. We’ll start with three key tips for getting started on the right foot, and then cover a few best practices for long-term success.
Three key steps for a successful instrumentation of a new tool or process:
1. Have a bulletproof plan.
The first step is to build an implementation plan with the ideal outcome in mind. This may seem obvious, but sometimes the initial intent or purpose can get lost in the details of executing a change. I personally like to start with a proposal or brief covering the why, the how, the timeline, the stakeholders, the benefits, and the risks. Don’t be shy about identifying potential obstacles and barriers. Be sure to run it by both your higher-ups and the people who will be most impacted by the change. Once you’ve set your goals, work to stay on track—but be flexible and realistic. Be prepared for scope to change or blockers to prevent you from hitting your goal, and build those potential blockers into your timeline.
Sometimes the intent or purpose of a change can get lost in the details of executing it.
Make it easy for everyone involved. Engage employees by giving them a role in shaping the change, encourage participation, and set expectations by clearly defining how it will impact their role. When you begin to share the change on a wider scale, predict how your audience will receive the message. Try to anticipate the questions and frustrations they might have. Remember to articulate the reasons behind and benefits to the change, and feel confident in addressing the negatives as well—people appreciate transparency.
Each organization communicates change in different ways. Lean into how new tools, processes, and systems are communicated at your organization while also staying open to offering multiple ways to get teammates up to speed. Schedule face-to-face meetings, send recaps via email, set up a Slack channel, create forums, etc. Meet people where they will best receive the message. Face-to-face communication, manager support, and real-time coaching are all critical to preserving trust and boosting morale and performance in times of change.
3. Drum up support at all levels.
Buy-in can make or break your success, so involve stakeholders early on. Find support from different groups at all levels within your organization and ask them to help carry your message. Look for quick wins and share them across your business. Celebrating and promoting a quick win is a fantastic way to keep the momentum alive. Don’t give up on your late adopters or underminers—work toward converting them as well.
Your initial plan worked well. Great. What’s next? Here are a few bonus tips to drive the outcome you set out to achieve:
- Measure success. Go back to your plan. Review where you are against your initial goals and set up a measurement framework that allows you to check in on your progress. Make this part of your reporting cadence.
- Have an expansion mentality. The biggest mistake we see with change management is a “set it and forget it” attitude. You or someone else needs to be the designated champion of your proposal long after it has been executed and implemented. Continue to promote wins and be on the lookout for expansion opportunities.
- Document as much as you can. Communication is the foundation of success in change management, but documentation is equally critical. Make sure processes, steps, logic, how-tos are documented and easily accessible for others.
How Spredfast Can Help
Trust me when I say that we understand change: last year alone, 33% of our main points of contact had accepted new positions. We make over 600 changes each month to our platform, and each day, there are numerous changes made to each of the social networks we support. That’s a whole lot of change. So we understand that there is a lot to keep up with at any organization, especially in the digital space.
Since our industry moves at the speed of light, we’ve built our solutions with the concept of change as an inevitability and a constant. At Spredfast, we help our customers manage the administrative burden of implementing technology through flexible enablement and continuous education for new teammates throughout the partnership. Between our 24/7 global support, an interactive customer community, weekly training office hours, and on-demand learning courses, our customers can easily stay up to speed with Spredfast—even as they move onto new positions and as social networks evolve. To keep up with the fast pace of social and digital, we also research social trends and provide thought leadership, tips, and tricks on our blog, monthly webinars, industry events, and even via email.
Getting a new tool, process, or direction launched within an organization requires significant planning and the change dimension certainly adds extra complexity, but when you plan for it—even for the unexpected—you’ll be in better shape.