Whenever you make a change to your company’s tech stack, objections are bound to arise. People will be hesitant to abandon the tools they’re familiar with. They might be concerned about having the time to learn something new. They might be stressed at the prospect of changing their current processes. You might even have team members who just dislike the new software you’re adopting.
If you want to successfully implement new software, you can’t let these objections fester unaddressed. Change management and a structured rollout plan can help you overcome those issues to see better adoption as well as a better relationship with the software in the long-run.
How to Ensure a Smooth Rollout
The process for gaining adoption for a new platform starts well before you begin rolling anything out. You need to ensure the platform you’re choosing is actually a high-quality fit.
Evaluate the software and ask questions like:
- Is the software easy to use?
- Will it enable employees to do their jobs better?
- Does it have all the necessary features and functionality?
- Does it integrate with the other components of your tech stack?
- Does the product roadmap align with your company’s growth trajectory?
Having a concrete explanation for why you’re adopting this software will make it easier for you to get buy-in.
In most cases, once you’ve made a decision to move forward with a new software you should start communicating about it with your team to give as much notice as possible. However, in some cases if you know the decision has the potential to upset a lot of people, it might make sense to wait to inform your team until you have a full rollout plan ready to present to them. In either situation, the goal of these communications should be to ease the nervousness about the change.
People often dread the prospect of changing up their tech stack, and the more integral the tool is to their job or the larger number of people using the tool that’s being implemented, the scarier that process can seem.
Advance notice about the upcoming change enables your team to prepare mentally. It also gives you the opportunity to generate some excitement about the new tool. Remind everyone of the weaknesses of your current systems and highlight what improvements they’ll see with the new software. Present some screenshots of the new tool or other teasers about what it can do to hype everyone up.
Another way you can combat that fear of change is by explicitly explaining every step that’ll take place as the software is implemented.
Outline the plans for both rolling out the new software and sunsetting any tools it’ll be replacing. Having to simultaneously learn a new tool, transfer information onto it from the old tool and stay on top of a normal workload can be nerve-wracking, so leave as little uncertainty as possible.
As you progress through your plans and the implementation process, continue to communicate about what’s going on. Provide continuous updates and reminders so the new software adoption doesn’t get forgotten by anyone.
Training Before, During and After Rollout
Provide training sessions, videos and resources in advance of the launch so that people can hit the ground running. Not everyone will be interested in this and there is a limit to how much you can do since no one will be in the new tool yet, but pre-launch training can help with expectation setting and enable faster time to value once the software is implemented.
Once the software is rolled out, you should host in-depth trainings with everyone that’ll be using the new tool. While you can start with something high-level to introduce everyone to the platform, you should also create more custom trainings for each team.
These team-specific trainings allow you to highlight the software features specific to different roles and let people ask questions about the software that are specific to their day-to-day work. If different employees are utilizing the software in different ways, they’ll have different questions about it.
Once the platform is completely rolled out, these trainings shouldn’t completely stop. Software evolves over time, as do your business processes, so you should continue to educate your team on new updates and reinforce best practices.
All of your training sessions and materials should be available somewhere for future reference. People might not immediately start using every feature they learned about in your initial training, and a couple months down the line they might not remember everything they originally learned.
A training library with videos and articles can help with that and make it easier to onboard new hires onto the software in the future. On top of the resources you create that are specific to how your employees will be using the software, you can also promote materials from the creator of the new platform. Most software have knowledge bases and video walkthroughs about how to leverage their tool, so utilizing those can help you enable your team and save time on creating training materials.
Gaining software adoption from across your company is important because it enables consistency in your tech stack and processes.
If one team member is using a different tool than everyone else, then all of the information they deal with might not be accessible to other team members. This can impede collaboration and communication if files are incompatible or data isn’t being passed on properly.
But being consistent in your business processes is vital for fulfilling the expectations you set with your prospects and customers.
If an account manager isn’t using the same project management tool as the rest of their team, their tasks can get overlooked. If a sales rep isn’t using the company’s CRM, the customers they close might have bad onboarding experiences because the details learned about them during the sales process weren’t passed on. If a support rep isn’t documenting their communications in your ticketing system it might take longer for tickets to be resolved or customers might receive duplicate responses.
Ultimately, a lack of software adoption can hurt your company’s reputation so it’s vital to work on overcoming objections from the start.
Andrew is the Manager of Production at New Breed, and his main goal is to keep the services team happy, productive and efficient. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and biking with his wife Kristina and his puppy, Cooper