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How to Prepare for Successful Salesforce Change Management

By 11.17.20 Employees in a roundtable meeting
Reading time: 5 minutes

This is part two in a series on unlocking change management mysteries. See the first piece here.

Silverline developed our change management framework based on a combination of industry best practices, the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) Standard, and the Prosci methodology that accelerates and maximizes user adoption. The framework comes down to three phases, the first of which is preparation.

Preparation Phase: Getting Ready for Change 

The mistake we so often see with our clients is: attempting to start Salesforce change management after the change has already occurred. The change management process starts well before that, in preparation for what’s to come. Think of it like the training required leading up to running a marathon. You won’t make it very far if you haven’t done the prep work. 

Change management starts well before the actual change begins. Don’t wait — prepare.

The preparation phase includes developing your tailored strategic approach to change management. All in, the preparation phase includes: 

Conducting a change assessment: What are you changing? Why are you changing it? What stakeholders are involved? 

Conducting a risk assessment: What are the risks involved, and how will you mitigate them? Conversely, what are the risks of staying the same? 

Developing a holistic change management strategy: What are your communication, adoption, and training strategies? Have you built out your plan of attack? 

This preparation phase is similar to the project planning phase of any project. If you want to ensure user adoption and performance, it’s best to go in with a solid plan that you will inspect and adapt throughout your initiative. 

5 Steps to Prepare a Successful Salesforce Change Management Plan 

We’ve developed a five-step process to building a comprehensive change management plan. With this in hand, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. 

1. Establish a change management team and network 

Start with your internal team. They’re the ones who will know the inside and out of your digital transformation and how it impacts the rest of your organization, partners, and customers. Establish clear roles and responsibilities within that team, including: 

Salesforce change management network

The first step demonstrates buy-in to the value of change management by formalizing the involvement of internal team members and understanding that it will take time and dedication to achieve desired outcomes. 


2. Conduct initial change readiness assessment 

Then, it’s time to determine how ready you really are for your new technology. Take the time to understand why you’re making the change, and the impact of the change so you can ensure a successful transition. Ask yourself: 

  • How would you describe the culture of your organization? 
  • What are your business objectives for this initiative? 
  • Do you have an executive sponsor, and is your leadership team aligned with this vision and business objectives? 
  • How will it benefit your organization? What about your team members and business units? 
  • What specifically will it change, and how will it impact your employees and customers? 
  • What ways do internal processes need to change as a result? Who does that impact? 
  • How big of a change is this? How has your organization dealt with change in the past? Will your team resist or welcome this change? 
  • How does your organization communicate and conduct training? What has worked in the past and what hasn’t? 

The more details you have, the easier it will be to…

3. Create your baseline Salesforce change management strategy and plan 

Your change readiness assessment will give you a sense of where you need to focus your attention. 

Create your baseline change management strategy and plan

Consider the impact of the changes you’ll be making and how they radiate outwards from one department to another, both positively and negatively. Your work now is to create a plan to manage that change, divided by specific tasks, dates, and owners aligned with your project phases. 

Creatively engage your stakeholders through surveys, interviews, and workshops, including customers and partners if applicable, to validate and enhance your understanding of their needs, expectations, and challenges. This means you need to… 

4. Determine your internal and external communications strategy and plan 

The key to any successful project is communication, but even more so when change is involved. This ensures sufficient support from all stakeholders, driving user involvement, buy-in, and adoption. 

You want to make sure that the right messages are sent to the right people at the right time from the right person. To do this, you need to first outline your communication intent. How often will you communicate with internal stakeholders? What key pieces of information do they need to know (and perhaps more crucially, what details are best left out?) What will be the best format? 

Next, how will you communicate with your stakeholders? Outline the channels that reach them most effectively based on your organization. This could look like a project-specific Slack channel, company-wide emails, intranet, or meetings. 

Then you can talk about the what. Consider these four communication campaigns to keep everyone on track, starting with high-level messaging to broader stakeholder audiences and moving toward detailed communications to those most directly impacted:

Four communication campaigns for successful Salesforce change management (Awareness, UNderstanding, Adoption, Reinforcement)

Finally, you’ll need to… 

5. Build a baseline training strategy 

In the reinforcement phase, you’ll need to implement training and support, both for existing employees, but also for new team members as they come onboard. Prepare for this by analyzing business unit specific personas and roles within your organization, including the required skills, knowledge, and tools each role requires. 

Baseline training approach and methods for change management As you build your strategy, you’ll want to: 

  • Identify your objectives for each role and what they should learn 
  • Determine what training looks like and how it’s delivered 
  • Create a plan for specific format and media, such as written collateral, recorded videos, or in-person/virtual sessions, and how you’ll execute them 

Once you’ve completed these five steps, you’re ready for implementation. 

Ready to learn more about how you can master change management for your org? Get your copy of Unlocking the Mystery of Change Management now.

Banner image, click to learn more about the importance of change management and how you can unlock its mysteries.

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