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5 best practices for Salesforce change management

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By Rhoni Rakos |February 29, 2024

Change is a staple of life for any organization. Whether it’s upgrading part of your tech ecosystem, finding more efficient business processes or even updating physical infrastructure, navigating change is something nonprofits and other organizations have to face almost every day.

5 best practices for Salesforce change management

But just because change is constant, it isn’t any less of a challenge. Whether a change happens goes smoothly or runs into unforeseen obstacles, it can be challenging technically and emotionally – and it’s not getting any easier in our fast-paced digital world. One recent Gartner survey revealed that while 74% of employees were ready to support organizational change in 2016; only 38% were willing to support change in 2022.

People can be highly resistant to change, especially when it alters their established ways of working. Nonetheless, for nonprofits looking to either implement Salesforce for the first time or build on their existing setup, managing change is crucial to keeping things running smoothly for both your organization and your members.

What is Salesforce change management?

What is Salesforce change managementSalesforce change management is the process of strategic communication planning that organizations go through when they either begin a new Salesforce implementation, add new features, expand or shift their offering or change the user experience.

The goal behind Salesforce change management isn’t just to implement the changes correctly, but to ensure staff, members, and customers are guided through the change so that they are properly prepared.

The benefits of Salesforce change management

The benefits of Salesforce change managementWith every Salesforce release comes the potential for more efficient ways of running your nonprofit. But while new functions and workflows might make tasks easier on paper, this doesn’t mean teams will be quick to embrace them – especially if they differ from previously established ways of working.

That’s where Salesforce change management comes in. The more effectively you can manage changes to your Salesforce system, the easier it will be to implement new releases in a way that doesn’t slow your team down. That means your organization will be able to take advantage of more efficient tools and processes sooner, and you’re less likely to have individual team members resisting the changes.

That also has benefits for both your employee and member experience. The smoother a change or new integration goes internally, the happier your employees will be. Meanwhile, your members are less likely to see any interruption in your services.

Best practices in Salesforce change management

Planning and assessmentTo make your new Salesforce implementation or feature rollout a success, it’s worth breaking your communication roadmap down into how best to get your team on board and smooth out the bumps in the road.

1. Planning and assessment

The first step of Salesforce change management is to plan for the process as thoroughly as possible. And before you start communicating change, you need to know exactly what you’re communicating. 

Think through what steps and resources your team will need to make the change successful, and what a realistic timeline looks like for the process. Also consider what potential risks might occur – including possible breakpoints in your tech ecosystem (when you’ll need to switch from one application to another, for example) as well as potential complaints from your team members – and put contingency plans in place to handle any setbacks.

2. Clarity in your message 

Clarity in your messageWhether you’re implementing Salesforce for the first time or changing how you do certain processes, your people need to know what’s coming.

Clarity is key to that. Every change has the potential to make a major impact on how your people do their jobs, and they need to be able to properly prepare for any adjustments they might need to make. In order for that to happen, they need to know exactly what changes they’re preparing for.

That doesn’t just mean the technical details of what’s coming. It also means taking the time to think through how each change is going to impact individual departments and roles, and how to best communicate the incoming change as it relates to each person’s context.

3. Communicate change far ahead of the rollout

On the subject of helping your teams prepare, timing is important. Even the best attempt at communicating an upcoming change won’t have the impact you need if it’s delivered on the eve of the rollout.

Nonprofits need to ensure they have a plan in place for that rollout, including when your teams need to know about what’s coming. If you can give them time to be as prepared as they need to be, it will go a long way towards improving their engagement and retention.

4. Focus on the process

Focus on the processOne of the biggest challenges with Salesforce change management is getting too caught up in the tool and not the business process behind it. When that’s the case, people tend to see it as change for change’s sake, not something that will make their day-to-day tasks easier.

If you stay focused on the processes you’re trying to improve, you’ll be better able to identify where change is most needed – and from there you can define the change process, evaluate the impact and communicate it out to your people.

Change management becomes significantly easier if your organization gets into the habit of iterating on processes more regularly – because your people become more used to change and gradually optimizing how they work. This might simply be a case of taking a step back quarterly or bi-annually to review what could be done more efficiently. When the next significant process improvement comes along, your people will be more prepared to evolve.

5. Advocacy from the top

Leadership is crucial when it comes to communicating change. One of the best practices for Salesforce change management is ensuring your team leaders take an active role in anticipating the impact of upcoming changes, planning for it and communicating with the people affected.

Your leaders should also make sure to advocate for the changes. If anyone in your team is resistant to change, that will only be worse if their leader is setting the wrong example. But if they actively support the new process or feature, they can help drive the transformation.

Change management is an often overlooked aspect of technology projects. However, managing how people understand and respond to change is imperative to success. If you’re looking for support with implementing Salesforce in your organization, fill out a contact form to see how fusionSpan can help.

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Rhoni Rakos
5 best practices for Salesforce change management

Rhoni is a digital strategist and customer experience designer with over 10 years in the field designing digital experiences using user-centered research and design strategies. She has focused her career on mission-driven organizations, non-profits and associations, ensuring they using technology to maximize their impact. Rhoni is excited to be developing fusionSpan's Digital Strategy specialization, helping organizations harness the power of intuitive and powerful experiences across their digital ecosystems.

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