In the B2B world, Executives and teams that master the art of technology in the revenue acquisition process fare 5x better than those that do not according to research from SiriusDecisions – this post is to help executives better communicate and understand what your teams face with their new technology investments in Salesforce.com, databases, and marketing automation. It also helps those doing the technology work in these areas on how to better communicate with their executive team. Based on an informal poll of 6 B2B global companies, executives want and demand ‘more’ faster and cheaper yet they have no fundamental understanding of the complexity of their own data and lack an understanding of technology. On the working side of salesforce automation, database management, and marketing automation, the workers that are knee deep in the technology process often say how out of touch their executive leadership is with ‘data reality’. Those that bridge the gap will recognize more revenue quicker and cheaper than those that are unable to recognize and effectively bridge this gap.
To best avoid this grand canyon gap between executive knowledge and the workers involved in this technology, here are a few approaches that could work:
- Roadmap with achievable technological milestones – set realistic expectations BEFORE investing in technology because the tendency of executives is that if you buy something shiny and new, it should pay off immediately which is an incredibly incorrect assumption yet it is how they operate. Often times there is a significant lag between purchase time of a new revenue generating technology and actual results. Technology is never a silver bullet. People are the silver bullet. People make the technology work. People drive process. It’s best to have the people set the executive expectation as to what to expect and when
- Benchmarks – workers and leaders should actively seek outside benchmarks (ala SiriusDecisions) or actual ‘live people’ testimonials from other companies who have experienced similar implementation challenges so it’s not just your own viewpoint when explaining to an executive why a technology integration is taking as long as it is against the ‘more’ quicker/cheaper executive standard. Often times when executives hear from other data points outside their own company, it’s additional validation for them. Outside 3rd parties can take the heat off you yet effectively bridge to an executive in communicating this gap.
- Metrics: what does your Executive know about your prospect database, which is the lifeline to future revenue for the company? Does she/he understand it’s relevance is to the target market, what old names are vs. new names are, what a stale database is, what opt in or opt out is? Executives understand metrics and KPIs. Workers – you need to translate the health of your database into consistent, understandable executive metrics – the risk of poor data is like a bad sight on a rifle – if your rifle sight is off by an inch, you’ll miss your target by a mile. If your data is bad, it won’t matter how many people you have on your sales and marketing team, it won’t matter what technology you have to nurture contacts – you have to have a discipline around an area that likely never sees sunlight in your organization.
I see this process as a journey, not a destination as technology is always changing, thus giving people new opportunities to learn and apply their learnings to their company and to their prospect’s buying cycle. What experiences have you found helpful?