Your marketing team has spent weeks, maybe even months implementing a new system and it’s almost go time! You can feel the excitement building! Your team knows what’s happening… but does everyone else?
While we wish it were as easy as sending out a chat announcement that includes a user guide, it takes a bit more work to get your team to be as excited about this new tool as you are. Change can be especially hard on an organization when it isn’t done in the right way.
Planning for how to engage your users from the very beginning of an implementation will ensure that they will become your best A.L.L.I.E.S. and adopters of this new system.
Wait – this should go at the end, but “L.L.I.E.S….A” just wasn’t going to work. Use data to convince! You can use reporting from an existing system to help your new users understand the true WHY behind the reason for this switch.
If it’s a brand new way of doing things, explain the benefits to each unique role within the company. What about it is going to make their lives easier? Afterall, that’s why you ended up choosing this system in the first place, so be sure to share that with them.
After implementation, you will also want to analyze the user data to validate that people are using it. Monitoring who isn’t using the new system (and why) is just as important as checking out who is using the system. My tip? Find out who’s going rogue and skirting the new system without becoming the user police (no one likes that) so you can help guide them back to the new way of doing things.
(L) Listen & Lead: This part is exactly what it sounds like. We all know the best leaders are listeners before they are leaders. They know the people. They know the pain points. They’ve been there before.
Put yourself in their shoes and think about how using this new system will impact them. Will they see this as an intrusion on their day-to-day duties? Will they think a new system is going to eliminate the need for their position one day? Does this feel like extra work instead of “the way things used to be”?
Try selecting a focus group or strike team of individuals from various departments to be your system testers, feedback givers, idea sharers, true cheerleaders of the system, and greatest fans! Listen to their ideas and make sure they feel represented and heard. The more fun and exciting this process is, the better!
(L) Leave It: If you’re replacing one system with another, pick a time to cut the cord.
You’ve got to leave the old system behind if you want a true transition. As long as people have 2 options on how to do things, chances are they are going to choose the known path, the easier way, or how they’ve always done it. It’s human nature. I do it, too.
You can plan for a transitionary period where the old and new cross-over but make sure it’s clear that choosing between the two is not the long-term solution. The new way is the only way.
(I) Integrate: Choose systems that truly make your users’ life easier. Consider the integrations offered by this new system.
Even though it may seem like more work or a phase 2 step, plan for it and make it happen. Stitching together your existing systems with a new one is a sure-fire way to make sure you’re getting the most out of all systems involved.
Integrated systems usually help boost the speed of information and can cut down on manual input reducing cost for the company. Part of this step may include getting your IT or Engineering team on board, so make sure they are aware of what is coming and include them on that focus group we talked about before. Pro-tip: Bring them cupcakes.
(E) Excitement: Build the buzz! During the build and implementation phase, get these humans excited about the new system in development. Tell them early and tell them often with meaningful information shared along the way. When launch time finally arrives, host a webinar or something in person (where allowed). Bring food, drinks and desserts. The main point is to celebrate the accomplishments and make this launch an event-something out of the ordinary. It will help cement the launch as a clear milestone for your organization and team.
Additionally, encourage your champions and cheerleaders to spread the word for you. Hearing how much a co-worker loves a new system goes farther than hearing it from the CMO!
(S) Simple: We’ve saved the easiest one for last. We all know the saying about keeping it simple, but truly – make sure this new system is easy to use and understand.
Pick the tool that’s just enough to meet your needs and not more than you can handle. Provide clear training and instructions to your users.
One great way to do this is to create an overview how-to video on the system. We’re talking 2-3 mins long, hit the highlights, add music, keep it engaging. The most important topic to cover in the video is the WHY and what’s in it for them. Focus your highlights on how this new tool makes their life easier.
If you don’t have the resources to make a video, invest money in outsourcing or ask your contacts at the new system if they have someone who offers these services… they just might!
No one wants to put their blood, sweat and tears into implementing a new system just to have it wither away and go unused. Make the license renewal in 12-months a no brainer by ensuring that everyone is engaged and getting value from the new system.