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Advice from leaders of organizations who have successfully executed their digital roadmap

Imagine you are the one leading the charge to align your organization to a digital vision and roadmap. You break political shackles and get ahold of the budget, talent and resources needed to execute. You make tremendous progress, and the initiative delivers the desired results in test and pilot environments. You receive approval to take the next step—an organization-wide launch! As you go live, however, an unanticipated situation erupts. The line managers who need to adopt this new operating model decide to opt out. They chose to continue along the “old path” and, worst yet, encourage their teams to do the same. How can you re-rail this derailed initiative?

Recent Alexander Group’s research shows that three out of four companies lack a formal, organizational understanding of “digital,” citing internal politics, budget and talent constraints as the top inhibitors to progress digital initiatives. The solution? Anticipate and eliminate the roadblocks by incorporating a change adoption program.

Case Example

After investing time and resources in developing a digital roadmap, a leading life sciences organization aligned stakeholders around launching a next generation inside sales model. Reps would be equipped with the data and tools to drive more productive conversations.

The organization designed the new roles, invested in the required data and technology, and documented workflows. In the future state, virtual resources would own small to mid-sized accounts allowing field representatives to focus more time on selling to the largest, enterprise accounts.

The company invested in baseline capabilities and hired an initial group of inside sellers. The pilot was launched and proved successful. Productivity was comparable to the old model, but deployment was more flexible and alternative career pathing was developed to increase seller retention.

As the company took it to scale, regional leaders deployed the model as they wanted. Some used the resource as sales support, some as pre-sales. Others delayed hiring the headcount and did not deploy. Without consistent deployment across the organization, the benefits of the model diminished.

Change Adoption Best Practices

Leaders of organizations who have successfully executed their digital roadmap offer the following advice:

  1. Invest Early – identify those critical to change adoption at the onset. Involve stakeholders at the start of the process. Whether they participate in interviews, working sessions, sit on advisory boards, or something more material, involve those owning implementation and users early in the process. This will often include marketing, sales and service line managers. Bring in the user community and establish evangelists.
  2. Relentlessly Communicate – articulate the purpose and expected outcomes clearly, consistently, broadly and often. Set expectation that adoption is the only option. Ensure the organization at large knows and understands the vision and intent. Tune messages to each audience and leverage peer evangelists for delivery. Use multiple channels—solely using email and corporate memos will not cut it. Treat it as a new product introduction. Would you launch a game changing product with a marketing automation email blast? Probably not.
  3. Train, Train and Train – set up a 12 to 24-month program for current team members and incorporate the model in new hire onboarding. Ensure new and existing team members understand the new operating model and how it impacts them. Sustain training until traces of old ways of operating no longer linger.
  4. Set Goals and Monitor Performance – ensure those owning implementation and users are properly directed and motivated. Set adoption and outcome goals. Communicate how they are expected to achieve those goals. Report on progress and incorporate performance in review cycles.

Organizations with successful digital initiatives continue to manage the process well after initial design is complete to ensure successful implementation broadly.

Alexander Group is available to assist you and your firm with your digital revenue organization transformation. For more information, please contact a Digital leader today.


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