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How to drive sales force user adoption through a comprehensive change management program

by Karl Rupilius

February 10, 2011

 This SAP CRM comes directly from the presentation I will be delivering next month at CRM 2011 ( event, March 22 – 25 in Orlando, FL. When implementing sales force automation tools, one of the biggest risks is user adoption of the new tool. Learn how a comprehensive change management plan helps to drive user adoption. 

 Organizational Change Management (OCM) Objectives

  • To prepare the organization for upcoming changes
  • Minimize the associated disruption or loss of productivity
  • Enable users to perform their job using new tools and processes
  • Support adoption and sustainability

 OCM Building Blocks

  • Change - Focus on preparing the organization and people to adapt to the new changes introduced with Sales Force Automation (SFA)
  • Communications - Provides SFA program and release-specific communications and key messages to stakeholders
  • Training - Prepares end users to use the new SFA system to perform their jobs

 Change Objectives

  • To plan and execute organizational change management support activiti es that will:
    • Build alignment and engagement
    • Gauge adoption readiness and risk
    • Identify and address change impacts
  • Change activities should focus on achieving the following:
    • Maintaining active program engagement and commitment from leadership groups (e.g., program steering committee, regional and/or functional leadership)
    • Enabling effective team interaction, information sharing,
      and support
    • Assessing and supporting the organization’s preparedness
      for change
    • Identifying leadership and stakeholder concerns
    • Understanding impacts to the business and proactively developing solutions to support adoption

 Communication Objectives

  • To design, develop, and deliver a communications program
    that will:
    • Generate awareness of the SFA project and business objectives
    • Develop general and personal understanding for end users
    • Support and enable delivery of design and deployment activities
    • Increase buy-in and support adoption by the organization


  • Communication activities will be ongoing and iterative, and will focus on achieving the following:
    • Internal team interaction, information sharing, and knowledge transfer
    • Ongoing engagement and alignment to program objectives via regular steering committee status reports
    • Addressing stakeholder concerns via stakeholder action plans
    • Delivering key messages in support of change for all levels within the organization
    • Delivering communication to external groups: cl ients, members, vendors, consultants as appropriate
  • Communication vehicles include: Steering committee meetings, core and extended team meetings, 1:1 stakeholder conversations, departmental team meetings, demo sessions


Training Objectives

  • To design, develop, and deliver “just-in-time” training that will enable users to:
    • Understand the business drivers for the change and “what’s in it for them”
    • Focus on how to perform their day-to-day roles using the new tools and processes
    • Understand what is changing and where they can get support
  • Training activities should focus on achieving the following:
    • Provide the right training to the right people at the right time
    • Develop role-based training delivered as close to when employees will use the new tools and processes as possible
    • Educate end users on the benefits and use of SAP CRM while combining business process training with application training
    • Create self-sufficient users by providing them with opportunities to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills through real-life exercises
    • Provide ample hands-on activities and practice time to help users learn the new tools

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