Change Management: How Building a Sales Playbook Can Fail

When I’m speaking with prospective clients, one of the best questions they can ask me is “What would cause this program to fail?” It shows me that they’re invested in making things work and really thinking about how to implement our sales growth program. I typically respond with some specific things we’ve noticed as the keys to success in previous clients, but if I had to sum it up in two words, the biggest indicator of a program’s success is change management.

So what is change management, and how is it necessary in building a sales playbook?

What Is Change Management?

Change management is a field of study that looks at how people and teams are affected by organizational and process changes. It’s been a topic of interest since the 60s, and over time researchers have identified many factors required for successful change management.

Let’s look at a scenario. Imagine a leader in your organization decided to implement a CRM system. He purchased licenses, sent each member of the team their login information, and called it a day. How well do you think that implementation would go?

Applying the core principles of change management, another leader decided to implement CRM in the same organization. She started by getting buy-in from key stakeholders on the team on the need for CRM.

The team worked together to identify requirements and customize the system to match their process. She organized user training sessions, starting with managers and team leaders. They became power users to help their teams learn.

She established a CRM steering committee to meet regularly, review how things are going, and make changes to the system as necessary. She communicated with her team throughout the process, inviting feedback.

What are her chances for success?

The principles of change management have filtered over time into common management practices, but when it comes to sales playbooks, sometimes they are forgotten.

How Does Change Management Affect a Sales Playbook?

Now that many organizations have invested in building Sales PlayBooks, we’re hearing the same feedback about them that we’ve heard about failed CRM implementations over the years.

  • No one seems to have a strategic vision for what the Sales PlayBook should be.
  • Half the team (or more) doesn’t use the Sales PlayBook.
  • It’s full of stale and outdated information.
  • It’s too hard to use.
  • Usage expectations aren’t clear: is it for new hires or for everyone? What should people actually do?
  • Content is unbalanced – too much process or policy, no best practices.
  • There’s too much there – no one knows how to navigate it.
  • There are too many systems already in use.
  • It was written by one person or team and isn’t widely relevant.
  • It was purchased and not customized for the team’s language and process.

Do these sound familiar?

Just as organizations have learned to integrate change management into their CRM implementations, they are learning to use it in developing their Sales PlayBooks. It can be the difference between a Sales PlayBook that’s the heart of your process and a sales playbook that’s gathering dust.

Stay tuned for an eBook I’m writing on how to use the principles of change management in implementing sales growth programs, including a Sales PlayBook. And I’d love to read about your experiences (both good and bad) in the comments!

In the meantime, check out our resource on building a Sales PlayBook.

The ULTIMATE Sales PlayBook Guide[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

By | 2016-10-17T16:47:37+00:00 August 30th, 2016|Sales Leaders|0 Comments

About the Author:

Elizabeth is CFS's Operations Officer and Senior Advisor and is the Product Manager for the Criteria for Success Sales PlayBook. She writes about sales leadership, management, teamwork, motivation, and process based on her work with CFS's clients.

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