- Technology often requires alignment across several functions to be successful, from product to marketing to sales
- Many b-to-b marketers purchase new technology to make their lives easier without thinking about how it fits into their ecosystem
- Buying new technology needs to start with a view of aligning processes, data strategy and enablement
Ah, the promise of new technology. It can make us more productive, collect the data we used to type into spreadsheets, give us visibility into our KPIs and more – if you don’t let yourself get trapped in a silo.
Much of the technology we buy in marketing automates processes that don’t just sit in the marketing silo. I’m not talking about a tall cylinder for storing grain – I’m talking about viewing your function in isolation from your colleagues in other functions, such as sales and product, that help you complete these processes. You also need to consider the silos of data, measurement, and even skills or expertise. These cross-silo dependencies are more often the rule than the exception.
We talk to many clients who are trying to figure out the right next step in their technology investments, and we often hear the following comments:
“We want to measure marketing tactic attribution, but sales ops needs to make the necessary enhancements in our sales force automation platform for it to work.”
“We want to automate our content marketing process, but our subject matter experts in the product team and the creative department need to get on board first.”
“We’re looking at an app to simplify planning and budget tracking, but finance isn’t ready for us to integrate with their purchase order system.”
None of these problems is insurmountable. If your organization is properly aligned before you start the buying process, you avoid making the wrong investments or investing before you are prepared for success.
That’s why we introduced the SiriusDecisions Technology Alignment Framework. It consists of eight stages across two phases that help organizations analyze their current processes and technologies and put in place a collaborative governance process.
In the discovery and analysis phase, you assemble a steering committee of relevant stakeholders to lay the groundwork for making investment decisions and executing and optimizing an alignment plan:
Initiate agreement with stakeholders in marketing, sales, product and other organizations on what aligned infrastructure means in light of your business objectives.
Audit the current technology infrastructure to understand your baseline, what’s working and what’s not.
Analyze how the current state compares to your desired future state to expose gaps that need to be addressed first.
Propose solutions to the gaps in your capabilities, and ensure that your proposals are tied to your business objectives.
In the execution and optimization phase, your stakeholders plan the actions and deliverables for each proposal to drive infrastructure improvement:
Prioritize the best proposed technology investments, weighing the benefits against the costs, including internal staff time.
Plan all the details of project implementation, including financial projections, resource allocation, major milestones, and start and end dates.
Execute the implementation plans, and be sure to include regular communications to your stakeholders on project successes and roadblocks.
Govern the results of your new investments to uncover lessons learned, and make necessary adjustments in future plans.
This framework can be used to evaluate specific key investments, but you can gain more value by using it to optimize your complete technology infrastructure. After all, technology alignment is an essential element of aligning all functions to drive significant growth and profitability for your organization. It may not be as fun as buying that shiny new toy on a whim, but it will save you from investing in technology that fails out of the box.