You’ve come across a brilliant new project management solution that could save your business money, automate a lot of the tasks you currently have to do and make your entire team’s lives easier. It even integrates with your current suite of tools! There’s just one tiny problem: Your workmates are against it. Every time you bring it up, you’re met with resistance, scepticism and cynicism and a vague shrug: “Oh, it sounds really complicated…”
You return to your desk, dejected, staring glumly at the pile of invoicing that awaits you.
We know it’s not easy being the champion of a new cause or initiative. But that’s where we come in; this blog post provides a step by step guide to winning over stakeholders and embracing change in your organisation.
Tip 1: Do your research
It sounds obvious, but before you take your proposal to your team, senior management or other stakeholders, make sure you’ve done your research thoroughly, examined a few options and shortlisted them.
- Understand the business pain points. For example, is your organisation routinely losing hundreds of hours across the board on manual invoicing or timesheet entry every month? Does the account team waste days on a laborious and inefficient invoicing process at the end of every month? Knowing the business’s sticky points will help you make a stronger argument in your software pitch.
- View third party review sites; Read through the customer ratings, and compare different software's features and functionality.
- Check out the software’s online presence. Remember that really bad MTV dating show that had prospective dates check their potential partners’ bedrooms? Well this is kind of similar, only less disgusting – to really understand the software, you want to investigate their “home” and see what you can find.
- The website: It should be up-to-date and appealing. This shows they’re “with” the times, and in all likelihood have a modern user interface and features, rather than a software that’s rusty and outdated. If they have 404 pages and broken links popping up everywhere, it’s not a good sign.
- Key information, features and benefits presented clearly.
- Robust, detailed case studies section that give an indication of how the software has helped other businesses
- Easy to find support information – whether it’s videos, webinars, tutorials or even a helpful “contact us” form.
- The social channels: How active is this company on social media? What’s their average response rate on Facebook? Do they interact with their fans and followers often?
- Prepare your arsenal; Gather facts, stats, quotes and testimonials to support your case. You might not use everything, but the more information you have at your disposal, the better!
Tip 2: Sign up for a free trial
Rather than speaking from desktop research alone, the benefit of signing up for a free trial means you can speak more confidently to your team, having actually tried the software out for yourself. You’ll have a much better indication whether the software has the functionality you need and how easy it is to use. Was there a good onboarding flow from the support team? Could you easily enter dummy data and mimic real business actions you’d be taking on a regular basis? Record your thoughts as you go.
**Sign up for a two week free trial and see why over 8500 customers around the world love WorkflowMax!
Tip 3: Talk to the designated account manager or customer support team
It’s a good idea to build a relationship with the sales rep or account manager on your free trial account who can answer any questions you might have. They’ll want to make the sale so will be EXTRA helpful – make sure you take advantage of this and ask them all the questions you have!
Tip 4: Present your findings
While you don’t want to spend ages on preparing a presentation, having a slide deck can actually be hugely beneficial. You’ll have all your research and findings in one place. Use Google Slides to create a deck quickly and take advantage of the myriad of templates it offers. These will help your presentation look professional and tidy without having to spend too much time worrying about what font to use (unless you like that kind of thing...then by all means go for it!)
The great thing about Google Slides is that presentations live online and can be shared easily compared to a clunky Powerpoint that sometimes misses links or video content altogether.
When you’re building your presentation, here are some things to consider:
- The audience; Who actually needs to be involved in Phase 1? Should you take it to a smaller team first, test your presentation, or do you have a small enough team that you can share openly to everyone in one go?
- The structure of your presentation; A little context goes a long way. Is this an idea you’ve voiced to the team before or will this be the first time they’re hearing of it? It’s always a good idea to frame the bigger picture and link it back to your company’s pain points and goals.
- Would a demo be beneficial? If you realise that halfway through your amazing presentation that your team’s attention is wandering or their eyes are starting to glaze over, it’s time to pull out this wild card: The software demo! You’ll have familiarised yourself with the product during a free trial and actually demonstrating the power and capability of the product can do a lot more to win your team over than words alone!
Tip 5: Encourage a “growth” mindset
In the research phase, make sure you gather insights from your competitors and industry trends as a whole. Are your competitors all on a cloud based software? Are you lagging behind? Or if they’re not on it yet, can you be the first and lead the way?
Remember: Your clients will appreciate working with category leaders.
To pave the way, you need to step outside of your comfort zone, embrace new technologies, and keep an open mind. It won’t be easy at the start, but make sure you highlight the long term benefit of doing so.
Tip 6: Whatever you do, make it easy for them to say yes
As we mentioned at the start, most people are resistant to change. So make it easy for them to support your cause by doing all the hard work for them. Some ideas:
- Use positive, benefit driven language; Don’t focus on the cost or money as such, but lead the conversation with time savings that can be made when implementing the new software. Read more about benefit driven language on the enchanting marketing blog.
- Tap into your colleagues’ motivations; What’s the one thing that irks them the most about their current workflow? Is it manual timesheet entry at the end of every week? Or misplacing client information on the regular? Make sure they know how much easier their life is likely to be with the new software solution.
- Steal from their vocabulary; Don’t use big tech terminology, instead language that’s commonly used by them, any time they said “I wish there was a way we could…” Well guess what!
- Limit the options; If you’re only offering Option A or B, it becomes harder to pick C, than if you show your team 10 different options and try to get them to pick one. Introducing variables you can’t control, subtle things that might sway their opinions…
- “Borrow” authority; If you think your colleagues may not find you credible enough, you can fall back on this great trick – simply appear to know more than you do by borrowing authority from others i.e. through quotes, statistics or examples.
- Talk about the benefit of having implementation partners; Some software solutions, WorkflowMax included, have a range of implementation partners in your local area that can help get your business set up and running. If this is a practical option for your business, make sure you talk about the pros to your team and see what others are saying about those partners.
- Highlight training and ongoing education support; Learning a new software can be overwhelming. Making sure your colleagues are aware of what training and education support is offered and offer to be the main point of contact for questions or queries.
Final words of wisdom:
- Every step in the right direction is progress – while you may not get to the solution in one go, keeping chipping away. Good luck!
- Changing behaviour takes time, so be patient and cognisant of people’s natural hesitation
- Address any issues they might have and go out of your way to answer their questions.