Private equity professionals are no strangers to the 100 Day Plan. While the strategy behind 100 Day Plans has evolved in the last 20 years, they are largely used today as a way to guide companies through the mess and uncertainty of integration, post-due diligence matters, business planning, as well as stakeholder and employee communications.
Most business leaders, regardless of industry, will tell you that undergoing a technology transformation or new software implementation can have the same effects on a business as a transaction – and we tend to agree! Having performed over 500 implementations for investment banks and private equity firms over the past 10 years, we know just how important it is to outline the overall vision, define major milestones, and garner buy-in across the team.
But don’t just take our word for it! In this article, we discuss eight key takeaways from the early days of implementation – each from a client who has completed their CRM implementation. Based on their experiences and the unique needs of your firm, the list can be leveraged to create the foundation for your own 100 Day Plan.
“Get on the same page.”
Before implementation takes place, be sure to share the estimated implementation timeline and dates for training. Since teams are often more receptive to changes when the implementation is rolled out in an organized fashion, many firms choose to host a launch or kick-off party, find an internal champion, and/or formally recognize a designated super-user.
“Get top-down buy-in.”
Put simply, Principals and Partners need to say this is a firm-wide initiative. Just like in post-acquisition integrations, everyone will be looking to the leaders for excitement and for confirmation that the investment will have a big, positive impact… so there needs to be support from the executive level in order for implementation to be successful.
“Define the roles clearly amongst the team.”
When rolling out a new technology, everyone wants to know what their role will be, especially those who will have a new set of responsibilities. For some clients, a clear delineation between the person owning the implementation and the person running the platform was important. No matter which way the team is divided, make sure the roles are clearly documented and understood. If the responsibilities shift, the entire team need to be made aware.
“Assign the team a mentor or coach.”
Sometimes referred to as “power users,” there are usually early adopters of new technology that can help to change the tone across the team and can impact the outcome of the implementation. Don’t be afraid to highlight and celebrate these people, but make sure they have the bandwidth to provide meaningful support to their peers.
“Provide opportunities to build the skill.”
One client we spoke to said that a large amount of his team was struggling to effectively use the Email Outlook Add-In. As a result, the firm updated their 100 Day Plan to include weekly, informal office hours where users could ask questions and be trained by their peers.
“Integrate the technology into everyday life early.”
When implementing a new technology, it’s important to showcase its efficacy early. Let the platform powers the Monday morning meeting, for example. Some firms have even gone to the lengths of instituting a “no-paper policy” to encourage everyone to re-think and increase their usage.
“Create 30, 60, and 90 day goals.”
Be sure to share the list of goals your organization has for the new technology platform. On a regular basis (at 30, 60, 90 day or other intervals), look back at those goals and show how well or poorly the team is tracking towards them.
“Create guides and checklists – do whatever works best for you.”
Every firm is different – and as a result, each will need different levels of support. For some firms, checklists, step-by-step guides and handbooks tend to be the catalyst that urges user adoption. For others, one-on-one training is the only solution. No matter the case, it’s important to figure out what works best for your firm. But don’t go it alone — seek guidance from DealCloud’s Implementation, Training, and Account Management teams who have blueprints for making CRM implementation faster and more meaningful for the specific needs of your firm.
Internal improvements such as CRM implementation should be treated with the same care and thoughtfulness as would be applied to a portfolio company or other investment. 100 Day Plans help organizations roll out new tools more thoughtfully and intentionally, no matter the size or complexity of the team.