Become a martech change agent
Adaptability to change is crucial in fast-moving digital marketing world driven by marketing technology (martech). In this article, I aim to empower you with the strategies to become the martech change agent in your organization.
Define your business imperatives and build your plan
Before deciding where and what change is needed, you should consider your marketing objectives, as your martech stack must support your modern marketing strategy (content marketing, ABM and demand generation strategies are common examples). You must strategically plan how that will work and this may require profound changes in many parts of your organization.
A solid plan considers the following business imperatives:
- Future state of the organization
- Example: A shared global centre of excellence for marketing and operations
- Strategies that the organization will undertake
- Examples: Demand generation and content marketing strategies
- Technology needs to support the business needs
- Examples: Cloud CRM and a marketing automation platform
- Business units and leaders involved
- Examples: Marketing leadership, sales leadership and IT
Moving on to change: Here are some questions that need to be addressed in detailing your martech plan:
- Who must lead change? In most cases the major changes to implement the new marketing strategies have to be made by a marketing leader or a joint leader for both sales and marketing teams.
- What must they change? For example: The sales teams have previously tried to follow-up with everyone in the database, but now they have to focus on marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and approach only those accounts who match the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) identified by the scoring capabilities of the marketing automation platform.
- Who is affected by the change? Your new marketing strategy can have significant effects on other employees in the company, and also outside the company, including existing customers and partners.
- When must the key steps occur? If the situation is at the crisis point, action must be taken virtually immediately. You must review and reduce overlapping functionality between different tools when subscription contracts come up for renewal.
- What are criteria for success? Several kinds of measurement can be used:
- Marketing budget / revenue attributed to marketing
- Efficiency in running campaigns and scale
- Staff required to manage operations
- Number of marketing departments enabled by your martech stack
- Cost of your martech stack
- What resource are required to support the new behaviour? These resources can be financial (e.g. technical training budget, agency support, marketing operations budget) or non-financial (executive support, work management, project, documentation and collaboration tools). How you work can be just as important for success as what you are doing.
- What resistance to the new technologies is anticipated? Will people affected by the change embrace or oppose it? What form will opposition take? A good martech implementation plan must analyze where the resistance might be expected to occur, how it will express itself, and how it might be overcome. In my experience, resistance has occurred in the following situations:
- Budget is moved between IT, sales and marketing, leaving one team short.
- Sales and marketing responsibilities are rolled up in one leader who may have more experience in one discipline over the other.
- Leaders struggle with retaining junior talent who may want to utilize their technical skills in another organization.
- Senior members of the team do not prioritize learning new tools or performing the hands-on operations work required.
- Agency support is discontinued or there is a conflict between different agencies
- Marketing operations teams are requested to do more work with less resources
- There is no plan to clean up the marketing database so no real data-driven decision can be made.
- Users are frustrated when organizations buy multiple solutions from one martech platform vendor for consolidation and cost-saving (rather than performance) reasons.
- What reinforcement should be offered to support behavioral change? What I’ve seen work well as reinforcement is recognition for the marketing operation teams who need to be hands-on working with the new martech stack.
- What organizational support is needed? How can the company remove barriers and enable the change? For example, if you are switching to a new marketing automation platform you may need to dedicate budget for a consulting partner to help with the migration. Budget must also be dedicated to training your team.
The communication of the plan is critical to winning acceptance of new technologies and motivating the behavior changes required. Carefully plan your target audience, message, timing and method. The appropriate communications style to employ is a function of four factors:
- The visibility of the need for the new technical capabilities
- The clarity of the strategic direction
- The sense of urgency in the situation
- The degree of trust required between sender and receiver
Change is not easy. There is little change that can be implemented without taking many of these concepts into account. Hopefully with the insights shared here you will be in a better position to become a martech change agent in your company.
A longer version of this article can be read here.