Technology Audit: Tips to Build Consensus
- Technology decisions need buy-in from stakeholders in sales, marketing and product
- Build alliances and political capital to convince others that technology alignment is a good idea
- Use research, case studies and real examples of successful technology implementations as evidence of the benefits of alignment
It’s happened before: A sales or marketing leader tries to align technology between sales and marketing (and within each function) only to find that his or her enthusiasm is countered by a lack of will in the organization to make it happen. What is someone in this situation supposed to do?
First and foremost, don’t go it alone. Technology alignment and decisionmaking cannot happen without buy-in from multiple stakeholders, so you need allies. Here are four methods to help convince your counterparts to participate in joint planning:
- Get personal. Alignment is about getting personal and having one-on-one conversations with the right people to help convince them of the need to align. Schedule lunch dates and discuss common areas of interest or corporate goals. In essence, build up some good will, and then ease into conversations about aligning on process or joint planning. Charging in with a model and trying to impose it rarely works in the long term.
- Publicize small wins. If you can’t get buy-in across the organization, concentrate on the technology within your own team. Set up the process and framework on a small scale and pilot it, then demonstrate that it works and promote it. That means measuring. For example, if a new Web site implementation drove 20 percent more traffic in the first quarter after launch, make sure that increase is known. Follow up in subsequent quarters to see how many more qualified leads were generated from that uptick in traffic and tie it to any positive revenue changes.
- Designate a “hitter.” Steering committees need to include individuals that have the organizational clout to get changes and new projects moving. If you’re not that person, find an influential individual in your organization that shares your values, and approach them to be the sponsor or champion of alignment efforts. In other words, have them go to bat for you.
- Seek authority. Sometimes we just need to hear things from someone else. Ideas within organizations – or coming from particular departments or certain individuals – might not always be highly regarded. However, third-party research and data, case studies, and peer examples can help show the value of alignment. It also helps in attaining the executive sponsorship needed to give your committee legitimacy and authority.