Your entire business is impacted when you dive into the e-commerce pool. Everyone, from Sales to Accounting, has to work differently, and that can cause agitation. How do you get your employees excited about a new, digital story? Success starts with respectful change management.
Change is inevitable. Even if you choose not to change, the world around you will, and that will have negative consequences for your business. You’ll only successfully change if you have your team on board. But internal resistance is the most common obstacle for change.
It definitely pays to make your employees enthusiastic about your change plans. Committed employees enjoy their work more and that has a positive effect on customer service. In addition, engaged employees make fewer mistakes, present more ideas and suggestions, are ill less frequently and they’re less likely to change jobs.
What should you look out for?
When employees are presented with a change process that leads nowhere, you pave the way for frustration and change fatigue. Which things most frequently sabotage their involvement?
A useful model to shape your change process is the ADKAR model:
How do you get everyone on board?
Every tip for a successful change process comes down to the same thing: communication. You might not even be sure of all the facts, but this shouldn’t stop you from communicating. Explain the goals of the project and what is already clear. Explain that you still need to clarify some other things. Do not do this just once, but provide regular updates on the e-commerce project. Share what you have already achieved, to help give a sense of progress, and ensure the image remains vivid and appealing to everyone.
Awareness and Desire in the ADKAR model are related. Employees want to be inspired. That is why it’s important that you do not just say what you are going to do, but why you are going to do it. Explain the benefits of digitization. Tell them that a webshop is open 24/7 and not tied to time zones. That ensures that customers receive better service and that you can tap into new markets, no matter how far away they might be. Moreover, a digital presence helps you collect data that you can use to refine your message and increase your sales. The higher your turnover, the more certain the future of your company and the more job security for your employees.
A successful change process is based on co-creation. From the outset, involve everyone who will be affected by the changes. In e-commerce, that means a lot of people: your IT experts, accountants, the warehouse staff, Sales staff and so on. Each of them will be able to share useful insights from their specific expertise and make suggestions on how to launch the webshop successfully.
When you open a B2B webshop, it mainly has an impact on your Sales team. They are probably afraid of a merciless round of lay-offs, but the reality is that you can perfectly integrate e-commerce into an existing Sales process. For example, you can reward your Sales people if they convince an existing customer to order from the webshop.
Another advantage of the automation that comes with e-commerce is that the Sales department no longer has to spend time on time-consuming tasks such as taking orders or answering questions about order status. This frees up countless hours for valuable tasks such as advising, attending training courses to keep up to date with the latest products, or following advanced sales and negotiation courses. Moreover, your Sales staff can gain valuable insights from the e-commerce data, enabling them to advise management on possible new markets or target groups.