Digital Marketing teams are undergoing tremendous change. With empowered customers being highly demanding, a growing marketing channel complexity and Martech platforms requiring effective integration, marketing professionals are challenged to question their ways of working.
Often, enterprises focus on technical change realisation – for instance, a technical implementation of a new Web Analytics platform or a technical configuration of a new CRM system. In large organisations, marketing projects can easily become high-risk projects. Numerous groups in various parts of an organisation are typically impacted by a change and in some cases, completely new functions must be introduced to support internal needs and meet customer expectations.
The human element in change
A technical project completion will never be sufficient enough to realise true benefits for an organisation. Also, we often experience massive gaps in terms of adoption rate or proficiency levels with innovative marketing technologies or tactics. It is time to take change seriously and acknowledge that human factors are crucial contributors to our ROI in any change project.
Concretely, there are three main factors determining the outcome of a change:
- Speed of Adoption: How quickly do employees start applying newly defined ways of working or using new technologies?
- Ultimate Utilisation: How many employees are using new features and following optimised procedures?
- Proficiency: How well are the new solutions used across an organisation?
” Only 15% of projects with poor change management will meet or exceed project objectives.”
Training is not enough
As consultants, we are well familiar with statements like “We don’t understand what’s stopping people – we have provided so much training”. Even the best training schemes will not be enough to drive change successfully. Assessing an individual’s change readiness must consider the numerous phases that an individual goes through during any type of change. Today, change management practitioners use a number of different models to describe these individual steps.
The ADKAR model, developed by Prosci founder Jeff Hiatt, highlights five outcomes an individual or group must achieve for change to be successful.
As consultants, it is crucial to understand these change mechanisms. Almost on a daily basis, we experience resistance and hesitation to change – primarily due to the lack of Awareness and Desire with individuals.
To run most effective trainings, resistance must be tackled first and resistance levels should be at their lowest.
Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between project success and sponsor involvement. Only 29% of the projects will succeed if there is an ineffective sponsor. However, it would be too easy to simply blame senior management. To drive change effectively, change leaders must understand that in most cases, sponsors and senior managers are not sufficiently prepared to play an active role during change. As a matter of fact, they are often not even aware of the key role they play.
First, change leaders must start including sponsors during a project. According to studies, sponsors and senior leaders are key senders when generating awareness and desire with employees.
Secondly, sponsors must be coached and equipped with the necessary tools to engage effectively and ensure project success. Active and visible sponsorship includes:
Taking change seriously, change management practitioners should initially outline a clear stakeholder map, assess key people’s change competencies, and focus on creating a robust sponsor roadmap.
72% of all projects meeting or exceeding project objectives experienced strong and effective sponsors.
Successful change projects
When driving change successfully, it is important to stress the importance of both the technical and the human side in projects. While traditional project management is focused on the technical project completion, using timelines, resource planning or budget plans, effective change management is securing the employee’s successful transition into truly realising all the benefits of a new platform, way of working or team set-up.