Shifting digital strategies? Get your team onboard

By Tobias Pasma

Shifting digital strategies? Get your team onboard

When you decide to make a radical shift in your commercial strategy, chances are pretty high that you will encounter some resistance from your teams. It’s often said that people don’t like change. That’s a lie. People love change, but people are afraid to lose something. In the case of a radical shift in strategy, it could be a sense of security, certainty, and comfort that they are afraid to lose.

To minimise these barriers to digital transformation, it’s essential to secure broad support for the new direction and do everything in your power to give confidence to the teams affected. So how do you do this? This article will provide you with the main steps strengthened by examples of a biopharmaceutical and biotech industry company.

Prioritise training

The success of implementing a new strategy is greatly determined by and depends heavily on how well trained your teams are. They should be equipped with the skills and knowledge to succeed from day one. There are several steps you can take to ensure that:

  • Work to identify skills gaps and pinpoint areas for improvement.
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of individual employees and the team as a whole.
  • Provide suitable forms of training and vary them. This can include online training, internal training, workshops, and more.
  • Encourage questions and feedback and promote a collaborative, learning-based environment.

Let’s look at our example company. The goal of this company was to start using a CRM system and work with a proper sales process for the first time. However, there was a big cap in digital skills in the sales team (all highly educated people, some with PhDs). Therefore, the team training session had to have a good balance between educational and practical. During these sessions, it was great to see how colleagues with more advanced skills jumped in to help their peers set up their personal tools, like phone, email, and calendar integrations.

After multiple team training sessions, there was room for one-on-one sessions with the users who most benefitted from this. These sessions helped users with less digital skills log their meetings and tasks. One-on-one sessions with advanced users were used to help them build sequences, custom reports, and dashboards.

Provide the right tools

Make sure your teams have the right tools to execute the new strategy – A team is only as good as its tools. These can be technical tools like a CRM, Marketing Automation platform, or a LinkedIn Sales Navigator subscription. But these tools can also be things like precise persona profiles, a well-defined customer journey map, or great sales collateral.

You want to ensure that you have the funding secured for the right tools and software before getting started. A quick look back at the example company: they moved from the cheap but wonky solution of Excel sheets & Pipedrive to a more expensive but solid solution (HubSpot Sales Hub Pro for everyone in the commercial team). They understood that investment in the right tools was needed to support their rapid-growth phase.

Relentlessly push for clarity

The entire team must be entirely clear on why and what the company aims to achieve with this radical shift. Unclarity leads to uncertainty. Uncertainty leads to fear, the same fear mentioned in the intro, which leads to resistance to change.

What you should do to secure this clarity are maybe some of the most complicated and most crucial steps in this whole article:

  • Ensure everyone is on board with the mission. If this is the case, you can tie decisions and steps back to this mission, which will lead to understanding.
  • Ensure there is a safe environment where all feel comfortable acting when you encourage them always to ask questions and provide feedback.
  • This safe environment should also ensure that confused staff dares to speak up, as should anyone with objections or misgivings.
  • Make sure the strategy, goals, and results are clear and communicated often.
  • Make sure everyone fully understands, accepts, and enjoys their job and individual responsibilities - the right people in the right seats.

A strategy without a team

These elements you want to keep in mind when making a radical commercial shift. You can come up with the most excellent and most effective digital strategies, but if your teams are not onboard and have no desire to execute them, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve started.

Regarding ‘the most excellent and most effective digital strategies, feel free to download this presentation to classify six types of digital strategy. The three first are primarily offensive, targeting new demands, supply, or business models. The last three are defensive by nature since they aim to improve what the companies using them already do slightly.

If you're interested in learning more about how your company can overcome the challenges of digitalisation, make sure to take a look at our in-depth digitalisation guide to get more knowledge.

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Tobias Pasma
An experienced HubSpot specialist with many HubSpot certifications under his belt. Born in the Netherlands and moved to Sweden in 2019.
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