Tough Talks Made Easy: How to talk with your CMO about tool adoption

Tough Talks Made Easy | How to talk with your CMO about tool adoption

Written by Matt Tokin

“Hey MOPs, we’ve got this great new tool here that could really make our lives easier. Mind taking this one on?”

For all the problems you can solve with tech, the creep in responsibility from owning yet another tool isn’t one of them. If your talks about tool adoption frequently sound like requests rather than discussions, it’s time to change the conversation. 

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll cover how to advocate for MOPs to your CMO when it comes to taking on new tech. You’ll learn how to push back when onboarding a new tool isn’t right for your needs. For when the decision is already made, you’ll learn how to influence the delegation of responsibility so you’re best set up to succeed.

Establish strategic intent

Any tool your business adopts should add value, whether it creates new efficiencies, helps to drive business, or makes it easier to build relationships with customers. Whatever the particular function of a tool—be it lead generation, email building, or data visualization—it needs to help your business achieve goals or solve problems for the extra upkeep to be truly worthwhile.

Here’s where the disconnect comes in: your day-to-day problems in MOPs likely aren’t on the radar of your CMO with sign-off on spend. Instead, their rationale for choosing a particular tool might respond to goals and opportunities at a different level, without knowing how this impacts your role.

Should leadership approach you about owning a new solution, ask them first about the strategic objectives that this piece of technology fulfills. Strategy is the guiding light for the tech your business onboards; the single most important factor for evaluating whether a new tool is really suitable. 

If your CMO can’t clearly identify how the capabilities of a tool support your business to achieve those strategic goals, advise that it isn’t an efficient use of budget or time to adopt that tool. Instead, if their priorities are clear but mismatched to the tool, you can offer to assess other options and suggest a better alternative.

Connect MOPs to the big picture

In other situations, your CMO’s rationale for taking on a new tool might be perfectly sound, but the extra responsibility for MOPs will be unviable. If that’s the case, you want to make your challenges and successes clear. 

If your CMO is suggesting a tool adoption that doesn’t respond to frustrations within MOPs, connect those challenges to the positive impact on revenue and productivity that solving them will have. Even if your performance is in good shape, there are still productivity consequences with owning a new solution. Explain how the extra hours spent on a new tool will suboptimally impact other elements of your work.

Bringing these things to attention draws a line for your CMO between big-picture strategy and tool acquisition. That connection encourages leadership to be purposeful with how they view tech, and gives a credible strategic angle to the work you do in MOPs. As a result, you make the link to your CMO that addressing MOPs’ needs—by adopting or turning down a piece of tech—also supports the strategy. 

Guide the implementation

Sometimes, the decision won’t go your way. If your CMO says you’re taking on a tool, your best approach is to advise them on the implementation process. Tempting as it is to see MOPs as the technical experts, make the case that delegating ownership for tools more broadly helps teams to work together and weather change.

If just a handful of people in MOPs own a tool, your team’s in trouble if they leave or change roles. So it’s good sense to suggest that a few people more than necessary—regular users, those with the expertise to troubleshoot—get familiar with how it works and undergo a documented onboarding process.

Shared ownership is particularly valuable when a piece of tech is relevant to different departments. Often, Marketing and Sales use the same tools for different functions, or do comparable things using different ones. When a tool applies to both MOPs and SOPs, advise leadership that people in both teams should share responsibility and learn the nuances of how each team uses the tech to work in lockstep.

Your CMO might want to see impact and reporting from that tool right away. To keep your data healthy, explain that you’re best to keep its data records separate from the rest of your stack until you’re confident that the tool works well and produces reliable data. Clean, accurate reporting is worth the wait.

Purpose and impact

To understand if any new addition to your tech stack will really work for your business, establish how its capabilities can improve the ways you work. When advising your CMO on behalf of MOPs, a clear sense of how a tool achieves purpose and impacts performance is the bedrock of your business case for or against tech adoption. 

If you need support with tech decisions, delegation, or implementation, Revenue Pulse is here to help.