Change Management & Your Marketo Implementation: Garner Executive Leadership

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In my last blog I discussed the importance of defining the scope and vision of your Marketo implementation, this installment focuses on the significance of getting attention and buy-in from executive leadership.

Why is executive-level support key for success?  Besides being able to break down any potential roadblocks between and within departments tasked with the Marketo implementation (e.g. IT, Marketing and Sales), executives can set the tone for the entire organization. As the proverbial captains of the ship, having top-level support can help all departments sail in the same direction. Recruit these “skippers” to champion the vision and strategy for the Marketo implementation and beyond.

In the article, 10 Change Management Keys to Effective Software Implementation, Samantha E. Velez writes, “When there is consistent, managerial backing at every level, the entire workforce is being driven toward the common goal of accepting and adapting to the new system. Effective leadership can sharply reduce the behavioral resistance to change, especially when dealing with new technologies.”

Part of your change management strategy should incorporate an Executive Leadership Plan. When formulating the plan, here are some things to consider matched to typical implementation phases:

  • Kick-off: Get the executive team together and have them describe how Marketo fits into the overarching goals, direction and strategy of your company –  then get them to communicate this company wide.  This not only gives the implementation the visibility it needs; it also helps bring clarity to the entire organization around why the changes are being made.
  • Design: Consider providing Marketo overview training to familiarize executives with Marketo features and functionality.  This forum can also facilitate conversations around scope and time frame related questions, as well as expose this group to available metrics, report types and provide a look at user roles.  When it comes to analytics, some executives like to have system access to run their own reports, while others want things delivered to them.  And, the discussion around user roles might surface new business processes that will need to be adopted. Figuring all this out early in the process helps set expectations.
  • Implementation – and beyond: Focus on providing project updates and strive for on-going organizational alignment. Consider hosting executive briefings, or providing weekly reports to keep executives apprised of project successes and challenges.  During the implementation and early project phases, more frequent meetings and reporting might be necessary, while post implementation you might scale back to quarterly updates. Whatever the meeting or reporting cadence, continue to enlist executive support when needed – be it for issue escalation, or to broadcast your awesome achievements.
  • All Phases: Create a cycle of positive reinforcement. Consider having executives single-out key adopters (both marketing and sales) and program successes. Include these updates in your internal newsletters, company intranet and social network.  Who doesn’t like to be recognized for good work? And we all know that a ‘shout out’ can go a long way when it comes to motivating a team.

Much of what I’ve been discussing emphasizes communication.  In an upcoming blog I’ll dig deeper into the importance of formulating an overarching project communication plan.  If scheduling quarterly meetings makes sense for your business, consider including your Marketo or partner team.  Your Account Manager, Engagement Manager, or partner will keep you abreast of the product road map. This will give needed visibility and runway, allowing you to continually evaluate your strategy and to plan for adding or shifting resources as new features, like Account Based Marketing, change or amplify your existing strategy.

Set your organization up for smooth sailing! Getting executive buy-in from the start puts your investment in Marketo on a long-term course for success.