Why Change Management Comes into Play in B2B Marketing

There’s no better time to be a B2B marketer – we know that. The opportunities for impact on an organization by marketers are tremendous. Technologies allow us to track performance, revenue and contribution to pipeline seamlessly and there seems to be no shortage of ways we can connect with our buyer. However, this is new territory for most marketers and most CMOs and not everyone is excelling in the ways of modern marketing. We aren’t being taught this stuff in school, it’s really only “on-the-job training” or attending key industry events, reading the latest blogs or connecting with peers that helps us develop new skills. That’s just not that easy to do while trying to drive demand for your organization.

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This week is Dreamforce14, the Salesforce.com mega-event that takes over half of San Francisco. It’s amazing to see how many people come to learn, network and engage with their peers, all trying to get just a little better at what they do. There are sessions on everything from mobile development, business agility with Joe Montana, a power panel with top women leaders or how to make an impact with infographics.  Dreamforce offers something for everyone. However, in speaking with a few marketing colleagues at the event, we discussed how some things are never covered, like change management and that in reality, if your CMO or CEO doesn’t want to accept or believe in the new ways or processes of modern marketing, the need to align everything to your buyer and their journey, your organization, and certainly your marketing and sales efforts, won’t improve.

I revisited a recent ANNUITAS eBook, Change Management – Staying Relevant, Productive and Sane in the Changing Landscape of Demand Generation, co-produced with Mathew Sweezey from Salesforce.com and pulled out two big barriers to change:

Lack of Leadership:
Change needs to come from the top, and be demonstrated by example. The importance of vision of a CMO or CEO cannot be understated. Without a clear understanding from the top that there is a need to do things differently (strategically) instead of just doing different things (tactically), change will not occur.

Too Narrow a Focus:
In trying to solve the challenges the shift in modern marketing brings to an organization, executives are trying to acquire employees with necessary skill sets to enable the change. As a result, they are missing the bigger picture of the underlying need for change management. New people with better skills won’t solve the problem- that is a tactical solution, not a strategic solution to a larger issue.

Again, I think most marketers will agree there is no better time to be a B2B marketer. However, there are many barriers to change in making the most impact in your organization, and addressing the need for change management is where we need to start. Marketers can develop the best content, design effective programs to drive conversions, and contribution to pipeline, but the organization (the executives), need to understand the strategic need for change across the organization, not just within marketing to be effective.

Author: Erika Goldwater, CIPP/US @erikawg is Director, Marketing for ANNUITAS



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