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  • Bethany Jacobs

4 Steps for Successful Change Management in Your CS Organization

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Effective change management empowers your team to successfully adopt organizational changes. And in turn, effective adoption leads to better business outcomes. According to Prosci’s Best Practices in Change Management, a change management strategy leads companies to be six times more successful in achieving outcomes than organizations with no such strategy. And yet, managing change is often the number one challenge that organizations face.

A wealth of literature on change management concludes that thinking about the process for introducing change is a crucial factor in effective change management. Leadership teams that thoughtfully approach change management build trust and engagement in their teams, which makes change more successful.

Leaders within organizations implementing Gainsight also report that changing day-to-day processes is a significant challenge. While the specific approach may vary depending on the nature of your change and your organization's culture, there are four steps that help facilitate any successful organizational change. Think about the following steps before you roll out Gainsight or make any significant new changes that impact your team’s daily operations.

1. Fully understand the change

Before implementing any change, it is essential to thoroughly understand the need for change and its potential impact on your organization. You may understand what Gainsight does, but you need to connect this understanding to what this means to your team’s daily interactions with customers.

  • First, outline the goals and key objectives your organization is seeking to accomplish by implementing Gainsight.

  • Next, investigate how this tool will change your processes from where you are today. Let’s think about this from the perspective of a "day-in-the-life" of your CSM. Outline your current process and tools, and your current pain points or areas of improvement. Then outline how this process will change after implementing Gainsight and the benefits of this change to the organization and your team. Make sure to speak with your team to gain their input, rather than making assumptions.

  • Finally, identify any challenges you anticipate as a result of this change.

2. Make a Plan for Change

Create a comprehensive plan outlining the specific steps and timeline for implementing the change, including objectives, milestones, responsible parties, and resource allocation. A well-structured plan helps you identify potential challenges and establishes a clear roadmap that all stakeholders can follow. Within this plan, include all the resources and training that will be necessary to implement this change based on your day-to-day operations and all the items outlined in step one. It is also important to consider the “Who,” “What” and “When” of change. Let me explain:

  • When talking about the “Who” of change, this means who are your go-to contacts for questions and concerns for your team. Your “Who” are your project sponsors who have ownership when it is time to train your employees; and also your promoters who may already be familiar with Gainsight and can be resources to help lead the rest of your team; as well as those who are impacted across the organization and whose support you need to ensure that Gainsight’s use and adoption is successful. This could include sales, the executive team, and product development. Once you identify your “who,” you can plan according to everyone’s needs.

  • Then, think about “What” you need. Consider the training and other materials you will need to walk your team through the changes. This could be PowerPoints, worksheets, or maybe examples of how to use new Playbooks and CTAs. You should also think about what information platforms you can use to share information with your team. Is this slack, Guru, a learning management platform, or some other training tool? Your training tech stack may include one or all of these tools, but there should be a centralized location where all the content is accessible.

  • Your “When” is making sure your team understands the project timeline for rolling out Gainsight, as well as timeframes for planned iterations for new features and functions. Within this timeline should also be the training details associated with each. Be sure to build in an assessment or feedback method and timeframe. You’ve spent a lot of resources on this new tool, so you need to know what is working or not working with Gainsight or the associated training. You can collect this feedback with a survey, during team check-in meetings, at a metrics review, or maybe even by establishing a steering committee.

3. Craft a Change Communication Strategy

Effective communication is one of the most critical aspects of successful change management. Have a clear, consistent message about why this change is important and why it will benefit the organization. Develop a compelling vision of what the organization will look like after you implement the change. Most importantly, highlight the key benefits of the Gainsight implementation to your team - or the “what’s-in-it-for-me?” Then, when deciding how you will communicate this message to your team, consider the types of individuals within your organization. In The Customer Education Playbook, Daniel Quick and Barry Kelly propose three useful personas for thinking about change management:

  • Eager Ester - She has used project management software before and is eager for change. She wants all the details and specifics about the new processes. Ester needs detailed resources. She also may be a good candidate to serve as one of your project promoters.

  • Lost Lucy - She is motivated to change, but she is lost in what she is doing and what this change means to her. Lucy needs clear guidance and step-by-step processes and instructions. She needs to feel supported.

  • Reluctant Ray - Ray has been using the current system, and it works for him. He doesn’t see the need for change, and in fact, views it as getting in the way of his work. Rather than dismiss Ray as “difficult,” consider that he, like everyone on the team, needs to know how Gainsight is going to make his life easier in the long run. If you can successfully make your case to Ray, you can make it to anyone!

4. Put the Change into Action

The implementation is when the actual changes are put into action. This step involves executing the plan developed earlier, equipping your team with the resources and training, monitoring progress, and making necessary adjustments as the change process unfolds.

During this step, it is important to offer training programs, workshops, and support resources to help employees transition smoothly. Why is training so important to change management?

  • It helps to engage employees and answers the questions “Why change?” Providing training offers a level of trust in the new process and communicates why this change is good and why the change makes sense for the organization.

  • Training also makes the change concrete. Clarifying and training on the new processes makes it clear and documents all the details around these new processes. It is a source of truth for all of your changes.

  • Training increases success. When change initiatives fail, it is typically because of poor management of the change process, or because employee needs are not being met. Training sets employees up for success and forces management to engage with the team, which also enhances trust.

By following these four steps, you can increase the likelihood of a successful Gainsight change initiative, minimize resistance and disruptions, and foster a more positive environment. Change is often met with some level of resistance, and a well-structured change management process can help you navigate through this resistance while ensuring that the desired outcomes for your Gainsight implementation are achieved.

The author, Bethany Jacobs, is Manager of Education Services at nCloud Integrators, an industry leader in Gainsight implementation, Gainsight administration, and customer success strategy with a track record of improving customer journeys at hundreds of organizations every year.


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