When a business is going through a marketing technology transition, installing a new martech instance and perhaps retiring an older one, it’s not always easy. Typically you’re looking at a fairly significant investment both in terms of money and in terms of time. And while no marketing or sales team goes into such a process planning to screw it up, it happens all the time. So how can a business leader prevent that from happening? How do you keep your martech investment from being wasted?
In this video, Senior Director of Strategy Dustin Clark explains three critical considerations every marketer should focus on when implementing new marketing technology to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as it possibly can.
Preventing symptoms, or curing the disease?
Typically, a martech change isn’t just coming out of nowhere. It’s a response to something, a reaction to a problem that’s causing your sales or marketing team pain. Maybe the sales team wants to be able to gather more information about leads before interacting with them. Maybe a marketer wants to be able to more closely track the actions a lead took before becoming a lead, and then hand that data off to sales.
They’re thinking about the right things, but to ensure success it’s important to take it a step deeper. That means not just solving the pain, but doing a root cause analysis to determine what the source of that pain really is—so that can be solved, as well.
Not doing this can lead an organization to implement a technology solution that does solve the immediate pain, but actually has a negative impact on the root problem. That will make it harder to solve later on—which, of course, is what you’ll have to do, unless you want to chase pain point after pain point for the rest of time.
Manage the change to ensure its success
As soon as you’ve made the decision to invest in new marketing technology, you’re inherently adding to the workload of your sales or marketing team (or both, depending on the technology and how it’s used). There are going to be new processes to adopt, new actions needed to align your website or email platform to the new automation system or CRM to make sure it can get the right information to the right place. It’s a lot of work.
So any time you’re making a change like this, you’re going to have to go through the change management curve and that means navigating the “trough of despair.” Starting something new is exciting, but everyone has to learn how to use and implement the new thing, and that can be really hard. It’s rarely a ton of fun.
Know this before you start, and plan to help mitigate it. Monitor your team, communicate with them, see how they’re handling the change. Some people will blast straight through the trough of despair and out the other side. Others will get stuck in there, confused and frustrated by the process of the change. That affects smooth implementation and your ability as a team to get to the point where the martech is truly working for you.
Recognize when people are struggling, and help them get through it. Provide ample training, and reinforce how and why the new thing is going to help make everyone’s life easier in the long term. Right now, at the beginning, it won’t feel that way. But assisting your team through the tough parts will get you there—and assure that you haven’t just invested a ton of money and time in something that doesn’t end up working.
Futureproof your decision-making process
Lots of times, organizations go into a decision like this thinking that they’re trying to solve a problem for today. This goes back to the pain issue from before—something feels stuck, so let’s fix it. But again, that doesn’t solve the real problem, the sickness behind the symptoms. And that means that pain can return, or some new pain can pop up, all caused by the same real root issue.
Martech is always about the journey, and never the destination. Solving your problem for today, at the exclusion of thinking about the future, is going to lead to new issues down the line. Think through what you’ll need a year from now, three years from now, five and ten years down the road. What happens if your sales process has to change in three months, or you need to expand into a new market? Will this technology still serve your needs, or will you end up having to spend thousands on refactoring every part of your martech stack to make it fit?
It’s no fun having to tell your team that the cool new toy you bought isn’t going to work for them next year. Think up front about how this tech will apply to your business and customers years down the line, before you make a purchase. Don’t buy for today.
Slow down to go fast
Of course, if you’re experiencing issues as a sales or marketing team today, you want to solve those issues today. It’s only natural. But when it comes to marketing technology, sometimes that isn’t actually the most prudent way to go. Sometimes it’s better to live with that pain for now, so that you can plan more intentionally for the future.
Think through the root cause analysis to get to the cause of the pain you’re experiencing, rather than solving for the pain itself. Think through how you can train and support your team through the change management curve, so that the difficulty of implementation and adoption is decreased to its lowest possible level. Think through where you’re going to be heading in the future, and what technology can get you there smoothly without having to refactor every 3–6 months.
Don’t rush into whatever decision you end up making. Feel comfortable committing to your marketing technology plan for the long run, not just today.