How Marketing Operations can lead the change management

“It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent: it is the one most adaptable to change” – Charles Darwin  

The adoption of Marketing Technologies (MarTech) including Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) such as Marketo, Pardot, HubSpot or Eloqua is transforming marketing organizations today. These marketing systems support a demand generation strategy or revenue marketing but making everything work requires a lot of change management effort. Managing change usually boils down to persuading people to operate in new ways, use different systems or follow new set of proesses. 

Marketing Operations teams can lead this change management initatives and here is how you can do that. At Macro we aim to help you avoid the known pitfalls so you don't become another organization struggling with its digital marketing technologies.  

Stages of Marketing Change Managment

Using the three major stages of Unfreezing – Moving – Refreezing created by Kurt Lewin, a modern pioneer of organizational psychologist over half a century ago, we will explain the change management you can lead:

  1. Unfreezing
  2. Moving
  3. Refreezing

#1. Unfreezing Outdated Marketing Practices

The need to change usually becomes more evident when there is a crisis on the horizon. Your company can easily fall behind compared to what your competitors are doing or your customers are not getting the right marketing messags the the right time. This can be very concerning for both the sales and marketing leadership so they want to invest in the right tools to become a modern marketing organization.

At this stage, you may realize that a marketing automation platform would help you. You would need a way to send sequences of emails, establish a lead management and qualification process and  reduce the manual work required to move contact data from your CRM into an email blast tool. In addition, you may feel you need better reporting. There is no real understanding of what interactions you have with your customers or what target accounts to focus on. 

Defining the strategy which your MarTech will support

It’s very important to have a clearly defined marketing strategy in place first so you can then go find the right tool for the job. How can you get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going? Define what would work best for your needs: 

  1. Account Based Marketing (ABM) approach and targeting
  2. Demand generation through your website content
  3. Marketing programs and campaigns via multiple channels
  4. Nurture leads that are not ready to buy

Executive support & business needs

Sales and marketing leadership is concerned about future business states, having the right capabilities (tools & people) and the numbers they have to achieve. However, to make all this happens many tasks fall upon the marketing operations team. Now is your opportunity to show them how you can be the link between what they are trying to acheive and how it can be executed. 

You often work with different stakeholders who need help running digital marketing campaigns so you have to take into account their business needs when you put your plan together. Here is what you can do:

  1. List all the stakeholders or business groups that will be impacted (Customer Marketing, Product Marketing, Regional Businesses, Partner Marketing)
  2. Identify what their functionality needs are for each strategy ( read data from CRM, qualify leads, send sequence of emails, store digital assets)
  3. Identify what is apsolutly Required vs just Nice to Have functionality

Identify the right vendors

There are many MarTech vendors on the market, there are a lot of functionality available and different types of integrations that you can use. Not all of that is relevant to your needs. Once you have a future state defined and who in your company has what business needs then you can go ahead to take demos and short list vendors. 

To build a marketing and sales tech stack that works well together, you need help from your customer relationship management (CRM) administrators, sales operations, website developers and your creative department. Make sure they are on board to help you in the change process. 

What is often underlook in evaluating vendors is

  • - Support avaiable
  • - How long the company has been in the market
  • - Simiar customers in size and industry
  • - How easy is to work with them

By now, you should be able to have a vision created. Make sure you also have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time bound) goals in place.

#2. Moving to New MarTech

When you're ready, action must be taken to “unfreeze” existing state so you can allow the change to occur. Moving occurs during the stage in which the new marketing tech is implemented. Usually this requires changes in organizational structure and how departments work together.  

Build a Road Map and Adoption Plan

You cannot build everything in one day, so a phased approach always works best. Test pilot certain functionalities of the system and slowly add more complexity over time. For example if you are implementing a new marketing automation platform this is a typical yearly plan we establish with our clients:

Q1 Initial Set-Up & Transition

- communicate the change 
- train the power users
- integrate the data-points and systems
- define new process
- review data quality
- use a project management tool

Q2 Initial Campaigns & Feedback

- rollout access to multiple users
- enable users to be self-sufficent
- test functionality with initial campaigns
- build a Center of Excellence (CoE)
- start data clean-up

Q3 Review what is working

- optimize team performance & skills
- find the right agency to support you
- define what additional functionality is needed
- identify the right attribution for your campaigns
- report on efficiency and effectivness

Q4 Plan improvments and scale

- optmize team performance
- define what additional skills are required
- optimize the platform for scale
- report on revenue performance

Remember what you are trying to achieve

Don't lose sight of what you're trying to achieve. Remember these basics of modern marketing technologies:

  1. Business objectives: Business leaders need to know what results, customer experiences and performance reports are available and where to find them.
  2. Better governance and control: Marketing Operations needs to take charge of managing the marketing systems. Expectations on service level agreements (SLAs), data quality and process must be established. 
  3. Alignment of sales and marketing ensures that marketing activities tie into the sales process and to how customers buy.
  4. Leverage technology: In order to better use your new technologyknow whatwork can be done internally and where a specialized agency partner is required.Web Developers need to understand how the web tracking works and best methods for using lead generation forms.
  5. Improve creative: Landing pages, emails and website content needs to runs mothly through the new technology. Know the skills and specifications required. 

Expect Resistance to Change

During the move you will encounter resistance from different areas of your organization. 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. It is useful to understand what drives the resistance and remember people often lie. 

The people who think the change will negatively impact them are usually the ones who ove more slowely or back away. You must know that each person will see the effect of change differently, and therefore they will move to the acceptance of change at different speeds. Here are a few tips to help you field the ngeative responses to change:

- Communiate once again the vision and clarify requirements
- Give people time to absorb the change
- Look in the mirror and ask the leadership to do the same. Are you following the change?
- Encourage cosntructive discussion
- Stay calm and carry on

Managing technical problems

Technology will always fail at some point, remember that. In order to manage technology ills, you need to pinpoint where they are coing from in the business. There are usually a few suspects:
- has insufficient end-user input been recieved
- was the system designed using incomplete or changing requirements and spcifications
- does the team expect world peace from technology
- do technoogy users have an unspoken (or spoken) lack of tehnical skills?


#3. Refreezing Performance and Process

Changes need to become habits. Once the MarTech implementation is in place, action has to be taken to reinforce the changes that have occurred. New ways of executing marketing campaigns, importing leads into the marketing system and reporting needs to be anchored into the marketing organization’s structure, culture, and recognition & reward system.

  1. Recognize what you have achieved and far you got
  2. Reward and recognize people who follow the new process
  3. Realisticall evaluate how well the new MarTech is meeting your business needs
  4. Prepare to scale your marketing operations

The Constant Changing World of MarTech

As a caveat, you can’t be too set in your ways. The fast-paced world of marketing technologies requires you to keep up with many new tools and systems, which will have to work together.

Marketing operations needs to constantly find better and faster ways of working, automate manual tasks and service the business needs. These changes have to be quickly refrozen and communicated to all stakeholders on an oingoing basis. 

You are now empowered with new knowledge and tips to become the MarTech Change Agent in your company.

You Might Want to Also Learn About:

Content Marketing Best Practices for Supporting Channel Partners

As a vendor, you want to make sure that your partners are given as many tools and support as possible to help them close leads and drive revenue. Content marketing can be a tremendous asset to those partners if done right—not to mention, it’s a worthwhile way for you to stand out from other vendors […]

ZiftONE Product Updates - June 2023

ZiftONE, a leading channel marketing platform, has recently released an exciting set of updates that further enrich its already comprehensive suite of tools. These new features empower businesses to enhance their partner experience, streamline their marketing efforts, and maximize their success in the channel.  4 new features you might want to check out: 1. Write […]
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram