How to Effectively Communicate Your Martech Solution Choice to Leadership and Internal Users
You’ve found a martech solution that addresses some of your biggest challenges. It can save your department time; help you execute more effective campaigns; and generate quality leads. But, first you have to convince two key stakeholder groups that will use the new software – your executive leadership team and staff members who will be using it.
Internally “selling” a martech software implementation can be difficult, but most of the challenges can be traced back to two basic objections:
- CXO perspective: Is the technology worth the investment?
- User perspective: Do we really need to change things?
Securing buy-in from management and users will require effective communication of the software’s potential benefits, but what and how you communicate to each stakeholder group should differ. Here’s how to effectively communicate the benefits of the martech solution you are getting behind, which should help you save time by clearly and thoroughly demonstrating your rationale, addressing what matters most to these key audiences:
Justify the Investment to Leadership
Securing top-level buy-in is the natural first step. After all, there’s little value in spending time winning over employees if key decision-makers aren’t on board. That being said, you should be prepared to answer questions regarding how well employees might accept a system change.
- What are the current problems?
- How are they holding your business back?
- What are the expected measurable benefits?
- What’s the scalability of the software?
- Are there sufficient training and IT support resources?
- How will the software integrate with existing systems?
- What is the cross-departmental value?
Distill Research and Evaluation Notes to Make Your Case
Research and evaluate various software options and articulate why your choice rose above the competition. Avoid bombarding the executive team with a massive spreadsheet of key features and pricing information. Hone your notes and research until what remains is a succinct list of benefits that address issues most important to the C suite.
Be Prepared to Explain How the Software Will Combat Pain Points
Be able to verbalize, if not already apparent to leaders, the problems the software will measurably resolve to justify the investment. Communicate the expected outcomes associated with the software and emphasize that you will perform continuous evaluation to ensure you are reaching your goals. Look for relevant case studies to support your reasoning. Investigate whether other departments within the organization are successfully using the same software or a comparable platform that saves time and resources.
Link Software Features to Measurable Objectives
According to a recent Gartner article, sound technology purchasing decisions should be grounded in SMART objectives. Develop objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound that you expect the martech to effect. Avoid broadly stated goals such as “Generate more inbound leads.” Rather, assign a percentage growth and a time period: “The new tool will help the marketing team generate 30% more inbound leads in 2018 compared to 2017.”
Secure Buy-in from Internal Users
Lack of employee buy-in is a major hurdle to overcome for successful martech adoption. The software champion first needs to generate acceptance of a new system, then maintain enthusiasm through the onboarding period.
There is always resistance to change, even if the change is positive. Even if that legacy system is rife with issues, they’re a known quantity to users. It can be a tough sell to convince employees that learning an entirely new way of doing things is worth the trouble. But adoption is essential in getting the desired ROI from the system – so this step is critical as well.
While conversations with the leadership team focus on specific measurements and business values, communication with potential system users needs to convey the idea of the software. Tell a story, in essence, of how the product can change their work lives for the better. Talk about time saving, elimination of headaches and other real pains they experience.
Educate employees about the new software far in advance of the launch so that even the most tech-averse users will have time to warm up to the change. Meanwhile, advanced communications might win over more tech-savvy employees who tend to be early adopters; they can help generate enthusiasm among peers. Don’t forget that most decisions are base on emotions. Communicate the idea that the new software will make their lives easier rather than harder. This also helps make users aware early on that executive staff is committed to successfully implementing the new software.
Acknowledge that change is difficult and that the launch of something new is inherently messy. Recognize that employees will need to “retrain their brains” to adapt to the new interface. Then, stress that the long-term benefits will make the transition worthwhile. Frame an authentic story around how their workday looks today, highlighting inefficiencies and challenges. Contrast it with how their workday will improve post-implementation.
Listen to Users’ Concerns to Gain Valuable Input
Taking user concerns seriously is an important part of the implementation process. Gather information on what might be needed to help navigate potential barriers to a successful launch. Understand the challenges on the employees’ end, and foster a collaborative approach to achieving the end goal – easier, more efficient processes for users.
Follow Up with Extensive Training and Evaluation
Congratulations, you’ve secured executive sign-off and an implementation schedule has been set. Your role as project champion now transforms to project nurturer. The smoother the adoption period, the faster the new technology will start proving ROI.
Lack of proper training is a top reason martech solutions are underutilized and fall short of expectations. Ensure that the necessary time and attention are devoted to training and onboarding.
Also, check in frequently with users to identify any perceived issues or barriers to complete adoption. Assigning a tech-savvy early adopter to act as a liaison is a solid way to get smart feedback. If something isn’t working, address concerns immediately – don’t let issues fall through the cracks. This is a fast path to dwindling returns. Likewise, gather feedback on employees’ perceptions of the most valuable benefits.
About Mark Frisina
As an entrepreneur, direct marketing guru and Vice President of Strata Company, Mark Frisina’s career has been built around business development and client relations. Mark’s strategic insight, ability to build trusted relationships, and focus on delivering the best ROI for clients are valued assets among all those he collaborates with. A proud Penn State and Villanova alum, Mark spends his spare time at the golf course, cheering on his son at lacrosse games, and watching his daughter cheerleading at local high school basketball games.