Managing Change for the Better in B2B Marketing

Many CMOs realize that the traditional marketing organization actually gets in the way of enabling omnichannel programs.

I coach my 6 year old daughter in softball. At this level (6U for you Babe Ruth enthusiasts), playing the field is equivalent to being banned from ball activity for at least 15 minutes. Whether it’s center field or Siberia, no 6-year-old wants to go there.

However, the often overlooked responsibility of a 6U outfielder is to to safeguard infielders when they miss a batted or pitched ball.

When 6-year-olds play softball, they miss a lot of strikes. They miss MOST captures, and the reserve player starts to see a lot of action!

Changing the player’s view of their position can alter team performance and dynamics – they will experience risks and uncertainties (am I going to play well? Can I handle all that saving?) but also rewards ( I feel like I’m part of the game in a big way!)

Recognize the risk tolerance of the B2B buyer

B2B marketing has reached an inflection point. Many CMOs realize that the traditional marketing organization actually gets in the way of enabling omnichannel programs. The old world of skills and tool specialization is counter-intuitive to surround a buyer with tactics that work together to convey the theme of a campaign or program.

A session I attended at the Executive Leadership Exchange at this year’s Forrester B2B Marketing Sales and Product Summit in Austin discussed adding a “buyer risk profile” to a marketing persona. traditional buyer. The thesis statement was: when a buyer makes a successful purchasing decision, the organization benefits. When a buyer makes a bad buying decision, they more or less bear the burden.

Therefore, recognizing a buyer’s or buying committee’s risk tolerance in a purchase will help a marketer develop the right tools to coax a buyer into their decision making.

Related Article: The New Priorities of Next-Gen B2B Marketing

Manage change for the benefit of the B2B buyer

Although this idea was presented in the context of a B2B purchase, I can’t help but think that a similar idea is relevant when considering change management within the internal B2B marketing function.

When a marketing team has “John-who-does-the-webinars” and “Jane-the-web-person” and “Peter-who-does-all-our-social-media-posts”, it’s easy to think of marketing as a set of siled activities.

To the buyer: this is not the case.

Marketing (B2B, B2C, whatever) is part of the buyer’s lifestyle. Your buyer experiences your B2B marketing alongside ad displays for their abandoned Amazon shopping cart, while receiving notifications from work and personal inboxes. These days, many are doing it from the comfort of their home office alongside their pets and peloton. The average shopper expects speed, personalization and synchronization in the way they are marketed, whether their search is for enterprise data storage or deodorant.

Related article: Do you suffer from account blindness in B2B marketing?

A siled marketing team cannot deliver a synchronous experience

But how do you break down the barriers when John, Jane and Peter identify so completely with their specialty? You can change the core responsibilities or environments of a position, but no change is successful without enthusiastic and productive team adoption. Anyone who has ever been through a reorganization knows that it takes time for the dust to settle and for a service to run smoothly and confidently again.

How do you get consensus and drive adoption when there is perceived risk involved?

Master the Art of Membership

Never assume your team understands the reasoning or motivation behind a reorganization or change in job requirements. Start building consensus through transparent, data-driven reasoning and leverage multiple communication channels to tell the story.

Set a realistic timeline

Nothing exacerbates the perception of risk like precipitating transformational change. Establish a realistic timeline that includes well-communicated milestones and opportunities for open dialogue.

Empower your team to provide feedback on how it’s going

The fastest way to destroy your credibility as a leader is to be unwilling to listen and act on your team’s feedback. If you’ve mastered the art of buy-in, you’ve communicated your vision and won your team’s enthusiasm. Give them the tools to communicate how they would change or improve your plan.

Give your team tools and opportunities to communicate with each other

If you’re changing your marketing organization to be more synchronous and buyer-focused, you’ll need to be very aware of how the team communicates with each other. Address areas of friction, stigma, and uncertainty head-on with productive forums.

Make the world bigger through cross-training

Cross-training forces empathy for teammates and a more holistic understanding of the buyer’s experience. How does Peter help amplify the webinars that John leads? How do these webinars work as a tactic in a larger campaign plan? Get your team to think about the whole wheel rather than each individual spoke.

Conclusion: leadership can inspire change

Change is risky, and it’s naïve to think your team won’t be at risk when you pioneer new processes or philosophies for buyer-centric marketing. However, good leaders can mitigate sentiment with strong communication and a reasonable timeline, leading to a better brand experience overall.

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