6 Tips to Aligning Stakeholders before a Demand Marketing Transformation

Aligning stakeholders around a large, new initiative or transformation has to be one of the largest challenges demand marketing teams face. Between getting the c-suite on board, aligning your marketing and sales functions, and getting web and tech teams up to speed, demand marketing teams have to put in just as much work up front as they do throughout the new initiative. But picture this: Your organization is taking on a large new initiative. All your stakeholders are aligned and your marketing and sales teams are working cohesively and efficiently as one unit focused on achieving growth. Everyone feels informed and prepared for the initiative. There’s a common goal. Good leadership is in place and there is open communication between all stakeholders and teams. The change management that came along with your new initiative was managed and minimal. 

Sounds like a dream, right?

In reality, rallying a large, complex organization around any initiative – especially a Demand Marketing Transformation – is no easy feat. And these challenges are multiplied when you’re starting from a place of misalignment, where people are used to (and comfortable with) the status quo. 

We’ve put together 6 tips to aligning your stakeholders before a Demand Marketing Transformation that will help you get closer to that dreamy, aligned state:

  1. Change Management is a Process – NOT a Destination: Transformations don’t happen overnight, and neither does getting all of your stakeholders aligned and on board. Change management has to be a continuous process because a transformation can be messy and full of surprises. Getting people engaged early, and keeping them informed at every stage of the process is key to maintaining success throughout the transformation.
  2. Small Sprints = A Marathon: These transformations are a long-term investment, requiring organizations to address multiple areas of the business holistically to achieve results. But oftentimes, organizations may not have the endurance for the time it takes to realize the strategic end state. While a phased approach can help, keeping stakeholders and partners aligned around the long-term vision by identifying quick wins can be pivotal. Just be sure you don’t break them up so much so that teams revert back to a tactical mindset working on siloed initiatives.
  3. Consistent and Personalized Messaging: First things first: You need to understand your stakeholders. What is important to them and their department? What are their goals and pain points? What excites them about this initiative? Show that you know and understand what matters to them. Once you understand them, you can make sure your message resonates. This will help keep your message and goals consistent and your vision aligned across departments.
  4. Stakeholders Should Own the Messaging: A Demand Marketing Transformation is not just a ‘marketing initiative’, ‘lead gen initiative’, or something similar. These initiatives are business-wide, and once all the stakeholders are invested, they need to communicate to their respective teams. From the beginning, identify champions within each area of business to deliver the cohesive message across the organization. This way, the messaging isn’t disproportionately coming from marketing.
  5. Get in the Trenches: Leadership is critical through a large transformation, but in large organizations, leaders can only drive the message down one or two levels. There’s a missed opportunity if the communication doesn’t make it down in the trenches. These are the people who will ultimately operationalize the transformation and drive true value. They will bring insight and experience to the process that leadership likely hasn’t had exposure to. Getting them excited also means having early adopters and champions of the initiative to drive momentum.
  6. It’s All About the WHY: Mandating alignment doesn’t lead to sustainable change and can eventually do more harm than good. Make sure you aren’t just communicating the how of the initiative, but the WHY. Each stakeholder should know why a Demand Marketing Transformation will enable them to be more successful. This makes the initiative less of a “because I said so” and makes each stakeholder want to change. 

A Demand Marketing Transformation is a huge and disruptive initiative – as it should be! But that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed from the beginning. Following these six steps to align stakeholders will set you up for success and make that dream a reality. To learn about aligning stakeholders more in depth, we recommend reading this article: Aligning Your Stakeholders to Achieve a Demand Marketing Transformation Success

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