I've been interested in how stuff works for as long as I can remember. I would open birthday gifts only to frustrate my folks as I grabbed the nearest screwdriver and began digging in.
I still do that today (not sorry!) but in a different way - I keep to pulling things apart to understand how they fit together but now with a greater focus on data. No more wires and buttons, it's more about why people click-on-this or open-that these days.
Over the last few months, I've been knee-deep in trying to understand how we merge legacy sales systems and processes with new and innovative marketing solutions and campaigns. We've been really successful in some aspects and others we're still struggling to understand.
It's an ongoing adventure. Here are three thoughts I've carried with me.
1. Know Your Culture
Throw out the data models and system configurations - focus first on the culture. Walk around and ask a few of the key stakeholders questions like:
- How are you using the current system(s)?
- Does it work?
- Are you willing to try something different?
- What signifies success?
From these responses (think about their tone / emotion / passion when responding to each question), you'll get a good idea of your next steps and their priority. Don't tuck these questions or responses away. You'll use them many more times over the coming weeks and months for reference and guidance.
In all honesty, if you're looking into doing something different, it's probably because something isn't working as well as it should. These questions won't stop you from moving forward, but the time taken to request input will help you down the line (buy in, direction, etc.).
2. Start Small, Move Fast.
Move really fast in really small increments. Think about that fourth bullet above and aim to deliver short-term successes while you build out your master plan.
While it may seem easy to throw out the legacy systems, you'll quickly find major change is tricky to implement when many different departments and people are involved. Ideally, you're first step is to draw out a simple campaign that you can build from.
As an example, let's say you've implemented a new email marketing solution. Since this only hits your team, the change (new solution and processes) will be less painful (and likely welcomed). Drilling down a bit deeper, you want to reach out to folks who haven't been engaged with your company for over 12 months. Finally, you want to deliver content that will be beneficial to them.
The next step is to get a sample of contact data to see how the sales system is used and what options you (as a marketer) have for the upcoming campaign. Using the filter above, you pull a list of contacts that can be used. There will likely be some that can't be used - make sure to note these contacts and why they are unusable.
Next, document a plan and get your sales director on board. Lock down dates and next steps. Then, push the campaign out.
3. Report and Discuss.
Remember, you are working with folks who might not know how automation and targeted campaigns work so make sure to publicize and discuss the results.
Using the campaign noted above, along with the documented plan and success criteria, pull out a handful of stats that make sense for the sales, marketing and executive teams. I like the reports to tell a story:
- Here is what we did and why we did it (executive summary)
- Here is what we found (pull out stats in addition to opens and clicks - geographic and device reports are usually good ones)
- Here is what we're doing next (don't let this be the end of the story - tie the stats back to the executive summary and discuss three different options for next steps)
One option we've found particularly successful is to follow up - within 24 hours - with those folks who were engaged with the campaign. This follow up can be a short email from the regional sales person, along with the original campaign.
Taking these steps will help your sales team take advantage of your marketing team's ability to craft targeted messages, and to follow up with those engaged contacts to build qualified leads.