Why Process Transformation Fails
Recently I was presenting a Demand Generation Strategy that our team had developed for one of our B2B clients. As we walked through the Demand Process approach we needed to take, one attendee from our client made mention of past attempts to “do things differently” and the resulting failure. The comment was not made from a skeptic’s standpoint, as if this attempt was also doomed to failure, but from an inquisitive standpoint on why this time was different? Why was change was actually occurring.
Over the next few days, there was continued discussion on past failures and highlights of why past initiatives have failed. Some of what was mentioned is not all to uncommon are the culprit on why many organizations, while well intentioned, never see the return from their marketing activity that they hope to achieve.
Here are some of the most common obstacles that exist in organizations today that prevent organizations from improving Demand Process.
In order for organizations to truly change how they drive demand, it is not simply changing the campaign structure, creating more content or “workshoping” a few key items with sales, it is truly a focus on aligning People, Process, Content and Technology around the buyer. Without the understanding that all of this has to be taken into account, organizations will never fully experience the pipeline impact that can be achieved by this transformation.
2. Making Technology the Centerpiece of Change
In one recent discussion with an industry analyst, I asked her why she thought organizations struggled with transforming their demand generation strategy and process. Without hesitation she said “because it is technology led”.
Her point was well taken, technology does not drive change – it enables and when organizations make technology the focus of the organizational change, it simply will not be effective.
3. Arbitrary Deadlines and Lack of Patience
To often organizations rush to implement technologies or take short cuts on strategy because of a deadline of a get it done now mentality. This is a critical point of failure. Implementing strategy and process is not a quick fix approach and rushing things to meet an IT change policy, the beginning of a fiscal year of a product launch is not good business and will often cause more disruption in organizations that improve the current state.
4. Lack of Leadership
Change can be hard. It is even more difficult when leadership fails to drive the change. In his recent article, Is the CMO the Problem, my colleague Adam Needles detailed some of the issues that organizations face due to a lack of leadership at the top. If true process change is going to occur in organizations, it has to be supported and driven by leadership.
5. Lack of Skills
The need for both B2B marketing and sales people to acquire new skills is staggering, yet year in and year out, little investment is made. There has been plenty written that documents the change in todays B2B buying process and ownership that the buyer takes of their buying process. However, marketers and sales people alike are ill equipped to adjust. Organizations cannot expect their personnel to learn on their own, they must invest now to ensure the proper skills on content development, analytics, and demand generation strategy and buyer-centric selling are properly developed.
There are no quick solutions or answers to transforming your organization. It involves a holistic, process-based approach that will necessitate aligning People, Process, Content and Technology to the buyer and their purchase preferences. This is not a short-term endeavor, however, organizations that want to excel need to drive a fundamental change and avoid these common obstacles in order to succeed.