(Note: Frank Sohn is President and CEO of Novus CPQ Consulting Inc.)
To ensure your configure, price, quote (or larger sales) transformation investment gets the desired results, there are three essential change management steps you should follow. These steps are critical because CPQ is – at the end of the day – used by people with different needs and different expectations. If you want to maximize user adoption and success, you need to listen to your CPQ constituents closely and most importantly, early in the transformation process.
While it may be tempting to not fully embrace the importance of change management (no time, no resources, no budget) be aware that it failure to do so will definitely impact the success of your CPQ transformation.
Here are the three critical steps you need to follow:
1. Appoint a full-time change management lead at the beginning of your CPQ transformation effort. This should be a senior person with a large leadership network within your company. That person should remain the change lead throughout your CPQ transformation. A change management lead needs to engage with senior execs, successfully negotiate scope or capability changes, ensure required resources are procured, and – this is essential- have a communications plan and stick to it.
2. Engage these teams at the beginning of your CPQ transformation effort. Sales, Sales Ops, Product Management, Marketing, Finance, Legal, IT, and if applicable, Channel/Partner Management. Setup a kick-off meeting to tell all stakeholders what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. Ensure you have regular one-on-one meetings with your key stakeholders as well as regular broader meetings with all stakeholders.
3. Prepare a change management plan. Choose the file format that works best for you (e.g. Excel, Word, PPT) and make sure the following areas are addressed:
- Setup a basic change management process (e.g. clarify the process to submit and approve change requests)
- Setup additional change plans (e.g. how you plan to rollout a solution in a production environment, how you plan to train all your users – internal and external). Also clarify what happens if things don’t work out as planned. A contingency plan is probably needed
- Do a change impact analysis: this determines what business processes are impacted, what roles and how many people are impacted, and what, if any, skills need to change.
Good change management will have a decisive impact for your CPQ transformation so make sure you give the proper attention it deserves.