Preparation. Implementation. Follow-through. These are the key phases of successful change management, per Harvard Business School Online contributor Tim Stobierski.
They’re also the phases business leaders — starting at the very top of the company — must guide their organizations through when the situation calls for it.
In a way, change management is project management. But instead of team leaders and managers overseeing change initiatives, it’s executives: CEOs, CIOs, CDOs, and the like.
And there are many situations in which execs must manage change. For instance, when:
- The leadership team restructures: by addition, subtraction, and/or promotion
- New or revised company policies that affect all departments are put in place
- External conditions force adjustments to the business model and/or personnel
A change management plan is also pivotal to organizational success when C-suites invest in and, ultimately, onboard a customer data platform (CDP) for their companies.
Why C-suites must prioritize change management when investing in a CDP
“Everyone expects that their marketing and data technology investments will lead to improved [business] outcomes,” BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach wrote for Toolbox.
By “everyone,” Cory means executive teams charged with giving technology users the right tools to succeed. But she added it’s “not enough to simply add a CDP to your business infrastructure and expect to immediately reap the benefits.”
Rather, change management processes must be put in place to enable teams and users to properly leverage their customer data platform.
Now, there are many types of organizational structures at large-scale companies today.
Thus, senior executives at different businesses across industries will have different structured approaches regarding how they manage change across their growth-focused teams.
(That is, the tech users charged with driving growth and/or interacting with customers. This includes marketing, ecommerce, digital product and experience, and analytics.)
Having said that, there is one high-level change management model C-suites and their management teams can implement to set their growth teams up for long-term success.
The organizational change management strategy for businesses with new CDPs
Jeff Hiatt, founder of change management firm Prosci, developed a model that helps business leaders address the three critical components of change management today:
- 1) People: The human side of customer-centric project teams
- 2) Processes: The specific business case for implementing changes
- 3) Technology: The tools teams will use to execute moving forward
Specifically, Hiatt’s “ADKAR” model helps executive teams ensure its tech users understand the traits they need to contribute to change and business transformation:
- Awareness: Executives must explain why they’re investing in a CDP to all internal stakeholders (even those who ultimately won’t use it, like human resources and finance). Notably, they have to share why the solution is required. That is, note what pain points and challenges it solves for.
- Desire: Detailing the pros of change (see: transformation) is one thing. Getting buy-in from the entire organization is another. Business leaders need to make themselves available to get employee feedback. In the case of customer data platform adoption, that would be CDP power users.
- Knowledge: Technology users who will leverage the customer data platform in their day-to-day need to be empowered to do so. Use cases must be decided on. Roles and responsibilities need to be assigned. In short, executives must offer clarity and guidance regarding teams’ CDP utilization.
- Ability: Pure-play customer data platforms like BlueConic that have a single user interface in which users can work on segmentation, activation, analysis, and modeling are already intuitive. But getting best practices from one’s CDP vendor is essential to make the most of the modern tech.
- Reinforcement: Digital business transformation initiatives fail when business users don’t embrace the changes required for said transformation. Therefore, it’s on C-suites to ensure all their teams stick with the initial plan regarding their change initiatives to realize the desired ROI.
This can serve as a broad change management model for companies across industries.
But execs must modify it based on their business use cases, company size, team structures, and other factors unique to their organization to ensure successful CDP implementation.
How one retail company managed change well when onboarding BlueConic
Simply put, leadership must detail how their CDP of choice empowers their growth-focused teams to execute more advanced marketing, augment customer data analysis, enhance predictive model deployment, and streamline their segmentation efforts.
Translation? They need to change how their teams work and get them to take advantage of all a pure-play customer data platform — one like BlueConic — has to offer their companies.
One retailer that uses BlueConic changed its approach to customer engagement by embracing lifecycle orchestration.
The business groups customers based on who buy its best-selling products. Then, it uses our Segment Overlap Insight to identify overlapping attributes among these customers.
Specifically, the retailer identifies and categorizes:
- ‘Cold’ customers: Haven’t visited their website or purchased in the last 60 days
- ‘Hot’ customers: Have visited the site in the last 30 days, but haven’t purchased
- ‘Very Hot’ customers: Visited the site in the last week and haven’t purchased, but their ‘session quality’ was five-plus pages per visit
This approach helps the company easily map these attributes to a corresponding Lifecycle:
- At a micro level, the business can send specific audiences to AdWords, Mailchimp, and Facebook to target them with relevant messaging as part of its cross-channel marketing.
- At a macro level, this approach has helped the retailer transition away from relying on static, outbound campaigns to broad customer segments as its go-to marketing activity.
That is, the business has embraced orchestrating lifecycle messaging to individuals based on their real-time behaviors, interests, and interactions.
“[A] CDP fundamentally changes how brands … work by giving marketers the tools to transition from a channel-centric to a customer-centric approach,” Cory wrote for Toolbox.
Marketing often gets credit for achieving customer centricity for their companies. (As it should, given the team is responsible for direct audience engagement across touchpoints.)
But a pure-play CDP like BlueConic helps all growth teams contribute to this greater focus on individuals and ensuring they have high-quality experiences with their companies:
- Analysts can identify trends and patterns related to high-value segments.
- Data scientists can construct, deploy, and refine their predictive models.
- Digital product teams can develop more compelling online experiences.
All of which furthers their organizations’ efforts to transform the business. One of the primary reasons they likely invested in the customer data platform in the first place.
Effective change management: Just one CDP implementation success factor
Transformative businesses today are the ones who don’t accept the status quo. Rather, they embrace change to accelerate their growth and gain a competitive advantage in the market.
They also invest in premier technologies to enable their growth teams to succeed.
Roche Global Head of Talent Innovation Tammy Lowry noted to Gallup that a big part of change management is ensuring long-term agility and flexibility for every tech user.
And this agility and flexibility can be gained with the right people, processes, and tools.
“From a technical perspective, [agility is] more about [having] clear platforms that give you simplicity around those things that need to happen regularly, fluidity in roles to enable flexible resource utilization, simplicity in governance processes, etc.,” said Lowry.
Your path to agile transformation (and, in turn, greater operational efficiency) in 2021?
Invest in a pure-play customer data platform like BlueConic. Then, ensure alignment across the entire business to ensure your growth teams extract the most value from the tech.
Discover how BlueConic can aid your ongoing business transformation efforts and help you unlock new revenue opportunities. Request a demo of our CDP today.