How to Guide Your Team When Learning New Software
At the beginning of a new year, every business is trying to achieve the goals they’ve set out for themselves. We often hear that an agency’s goal in January is to find or adopt a new agency management system.
However, we know that learning new technology or even a new feature in your current system can be a little scary.
To help you set up goals for yourself with your new software and put things in place to make adoption a little easier, we asked our own experts. Our Client Success team learns new software right alongside our clients. They have to learn each new enhancement we launch while also learning software to manage their day-to-day.
So, we asked some of them for their advice on what they do to make learning new software successful and how much time they devote to the whole process.
The full interview is below; for a shortened visual version, watch our video:
Meet Our Interviewees
Question 1: What is your process for learning new software or a new feature in your current software?
Tasha: We also get new software from time to time, and we have to learn it just like our clients have to learn AgencyBloc. My process is to jump in the deep end and learn as much as I can on my own. I like to click around, and I like to figure things out on my own—that’s my preferred method.
Kelly: One key thing that we do when we’re learning new software is to think about what we’re trying to achieve before we even start learning. We think about the goals, the outcomes we’re hoping for, and then we start learning. This allows us to put that learning into practice as we’re going through it and creates those real-world examples in our minds as we’re learning this new material.
Neal: When I’m digging into a new tool, the first thing I always plan for is time. I block off time on my calendar to isolate myself from my workday and focus on learning the new software. From there, I explore their onboarding and training features typically found in some sort of help center.
Most of the time, software companies have a dedicated team that’s figured out how their clients have had the best experience. I follow that documentation, start running a few tests, and learn more about how this software can help me and my team succeed.
Tori: We just started a new platform for our Onboarding Team here at AgencyBloc. I would say the one thing that’s helped me the most is my coworkers. Just spending time going through the system with them, asking questions, and bouncing ideas off one another—teamwork makes the dream work!
Question 2: How much time do you usually devote to learning new software/features?
Tasha: That really depends on the urgency of when we have to start using the software. But, when we do have software to learn, I’m setting aside at least an hour a day to learn it.
Neal: At the beginning, I want to dedicate 1-2 hours to setting up my goals and learning an overview of the software. As new ideas form, it’s easy to get distracted from the big picture. So, make sure, at minimum, to take notes or use a task management program to keep track of your goal progress.
Tori: Maybe 1 - 3 hours a day, at least for the first week. But, more importantly, I think consistency is important. Just making sure you’re logging in every day, following procedure, and really incorporating it into your daily work life.
Question 3: What is your advice to others when learning new software/features?
Tasha: My advice is just to dive in and learn it. Even it’s frustrating, even if it’s difficult, just do it, focus, and learn it. It’ll be worth it in the long run. Additionally, most good software companies have video tutorials, a help section, or a person to reach out to for help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get yourself familiar with the software as much as possible.
Kelly: One piece of advice I have is to think of your software as a person on your team. I’ve heard this a few times in my career, and it’s really interesting how your brain shifts and how you think about software differently. Think through:
- What are your goals for that software?
- How do you expect that software to work within your existing team?
- How do you expect your team members to interact with that software?
When you go through that thought process, it really sets you up for success and ensures that the software will be a key part of your business’ processes.
Neal: You want to get the best bang for your buck, as well as truly help your team succeed. The time commitment and goal tracking are two of the most important things to being successful with new software.
Tori: My advice is to go all in. Make the tool your own and use it like you own it!
Question 4: What is the one thing someone can do to set themselves up for success with new software/features?
Tasha: Just commit, commit to the process, commit to learning, and do whatever you can.
Kelly: The one thing that someone can do when learning new software is make it a daily habit. With a lot of software, you get out of it what you put into it. So, think through what those few highest-return activities will be within your software and make it a daily habit to do those things.
Neal: Create a habit of repetition. In our busy world, particularly if you’re working from home, it’s easy to forget things you just learned—no matter how exciting they are. Keep returning to your new software to ensure all of your onboarding efforts don’t go to waste in the long run.
Tori: Be sure to plan out your adoption of the new system. Be aware of other’s timelines and bandwidth to be able to learn the new system. Ensure you have the resources to really incorporate and adopt a new system when you first purchase it.
When purchasing new software, we always suggest you follow these 5 steps:
- Identify your pain points & goals
- Identify your needs & wants
- Research your vendors
- Make a decision
- Manage the change
These tips and pieces of insight are here to help you achieve #5: Manage the Change. Manage the change means putting together a gameplan not only to buy a system, but also to implement it and get employee buy-in. Without a plan in place, you risk the overall success of your venture and can make the process significantly more challenging.
If 2021 is the year you’re looking for new software, then start outlining your gameplan today. Ask yourself:
- What goals do you want to achieve?
- What do you need from the software to maintain your bottom line?
- What functionalities are essential to how you work today, and which ones would help you reach your goals tomorrow?
- Who do you want to partner with? How do you want that partnership to progress 1, 5, 10+ years down the line?
With answers to these questions, you’re in a better position to start developing your adoption process and ensure it goes more smoothly for yourself and your employees.
To help you get started in your new software search, here are some of our top-downloaded research resources:
By Allison Babberl on January 19, 2021 in Technology
Allison is the Content Lead at AgencyBloc. She manages the creation and schedule of all educational content for our BlocTalk and Member communities. Favorite quote: “Conversation is the bedrock of relationships. Without it, our relationships are devoid of substance.” -Maribeth Kuzmeski More articles