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