Selling Alignment Up the Chain of Command
Okay, so you’re sold on the importance of aligning well defined business goals and marketing strategy. How do you sell that idea up the chain of command? Even the most enlightened management or executive team may be resistant to change. They will ask why. Be prepared to answer in a way that builds your case and helps them understand both the risks and rewards. And don’t forget to specifically ask for the spend.
Identify Why Change Is Necessary
What are the core issues? If there is no perceived problem, there will be no perceived need to change. Needs may include:
- New business or offering
- Flat sales
- Lack of profitability
- Underexposed Misperception in the marketplace
- Customer complaints
- Losing marketshare to competition
- Disruption in the marketplace
Be Specific when Framing the Issues
“We’ve lost a lot of business to Company A” is certainly alarming, but being more detailed will have a bigger impact. For instance, “we lost three deals over the last six months totaling $1.2 million to Company A. Two of the deals were new clients and one was an existing client that defected. The client who left indicated the primary issue was lack of flexibility in billing.” Being specific paints a much more vivid picture and also points to issues that can be solved vs. an abstract problem that simply causes anxiety.
Offer Multiple Solutions
When presenting solutions take time to properly research and offer two or three well considered solutions. Offering only one will typically be seen as subjective. Offering ten will be seen as too many choices and that you’ve not done your homework—you’re passing the responsibility of making a decision. It’s also important to know which option you’d prefer and why because you will be asked. Fumbling for an answer to a straightforward question like, “what would you do,” could stop the initiative in its tracks.
Discuss Potential Solutions in Terms of Risk/Reward (Cost/Benefit)
A friend once told me she’d happily spend a dollar to make two any day. The trick, of course, is predicting what will work and what won’t—and as soon as you’re talking about the future you’re talking about the probability of risk. Don’t shy away from this. Presenting the various solutions as choices between risk levels and their corresponding benefits often leads to more rational discussions—and in the end, quicker consensus building.
Be Engaged and Informed but Dispassionate
Coming on too strong will make your case seem one-sided. Have an opinion, even a clear favorite, but play the role of arbiter. You’re helping your team make the best decision. Don’t present bad ideas. Anything you bring in front of them needs to have value.
Thanks and be well,
~Your Friendly Animus Rex Team
Selling Alignment Internally will continue with Determine the Value of an Initiative, next in the Align Your Marketing Strategy and Business Goals Series:
Start with WHY | SMART Goals | Buyer Personas | Performance Metrics | Tactics | Tracking | Analyze & Repeat | Selling Alignment Internally | Determine the Value of an Initiative | Selling Alignment Internally Conclusion
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