CheckThe launch of any new system in your organization is a big change.  Here’s a quick list of 10 things to make it go smoother.

  1. Choose a SuperUser! Selecting the right admin for your organization’s training program is critical because the administrator will play the most important role in making your implementation successful.
  2. Build a Training Team. These are the people who can tell you what a successful implementation will look like. You need to understand the key goals of implementing your system and determine what the organization wants to be able to do. Coordinate with external partners. Help your colleagues with the system.
  3. Executive support. Obtain and maintain executive support for the Training project. This step cannot be overstated enough. The executive sponsor should lend his or her influence to the project. Having that person’s full support and participation—from the planning stage until the go-live date and beyond—is absolutely critical!
  4. Take baby steps. Don’t try to do too much all at once. As we like to say, training is like eating an elephant…you need to do it one small bite at time. It is easy to get carried away in the midst of the excitement of building a new system. However, remember that complex projects should be broken down into manageable and measurable phases. Slowly, slowly. Rome was not built in a day.
  5. Don’t be scared to make adjustments.  The technology should be modified to meet your needs and not vice versa.  New things will inevitably creep in during the initial launch…and usually for the better. People will start to realize the power of the program, and make new requests for bigger and better process and applications. This is OK, as these changes will help foster better adoption rates, and more interest in the overall system.  With these changes be sure to provide fast results. Don’t build a training program that might not be relevant by the time you go live. Concentrate on getting the correct basic functionality and data, and then go ahead.
  6. Set expectations.  To your users, your system is all new, so your first task is to give them an overview and to set expectations—what they can expect from the application and what you expect from them. If possible, involve your executive sponsor in this presentation to highlight his or her support and the importance of the system to your organization.
  7. If it’s not in the system, it doesn’t exist.  It’s a good idea to set this expectation right away—otherwise, you lose key advantages such as giving managers visibility into the pipeline and doing accurate forecasting. Have your executive sponsor deliver this training segment as well to show that you mean it.
  8. Be clear about how users are measured.  Have clear metrics to let users know how they’ll be measured. For example, set target dates by which users must make changes, managers must review the funnel, and when pipeline reports will be pulled. Other metrics include how often users log on and how many objects they create. We suggest that your executive sponsor also deliver this segment.
  9. Answer: “What’s in it for me?”  Don’t just make demands—get people excited as well. The best way to do so is to show how the new system will make life easier—for example, with less administrative work, easier reporting, around-the-clock access, a clear view of the sales funnel, or easy forecasting. Ask one or more respected power users to deliver this training segment.
  10. Provide follow-up training.  Some people think you train users once and you’re done. But successful training isn’t a one-shot effort. Be sure to follow up after a few weeks because by then, your users will have a new set of questions. A great way to provide follow-up training is to recruit enthusiastic users to follow up with their peers and use what they find out to create highly targeted mini-training for various user groups.  Providing great training isn’t difficult, but it does require planning, effort, and an ongoing commitment. Use these tips to help you create and execute a training plan that works!

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