Tough Talks Made Easy | How to Explain Your Tech Stack Overhaul to Your Boss
Written by Shad Khan
It’s easier than you think for a tech stack to get tangled. Perhaps your business has grown through acquisitions, bringing tools together that don’t sync well. Maybe each department calls the shots in silos, acquiring tech to suit their needs without regard for the overall strategy.
Either way, the effects are hard to ignore: campaigns behind schedule and bogged down by errors; a struggle to answer key reporting questions or prove marketing’s contribution to revenue. And now, your boss wants you to turn it around with a click of your fingers.
In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll cover how to set realistic expectations with your boss on revamping your tech stack. Creating and pitching a successful plan means taking a consultative approach around your company, so we’ll advise you how to approach the discussions you’ll need to have along the way.
Set the bar correctly
You can forgive your VP and CMO for thinking you’re magic. At their level, they’re not seeing all the work MOPs does to keep the ship sailing smoothly; they just see you get things done. When they approach you to rescue the tech stack, they’re probably doing so with an optimistic view of the time and effort involved.
The headline news to share here is that it’s not going to happen overnight. A core piece of tech alone—your CRM, CMS, or marketing automation platform—can take between 3-6 months to overhaul correctly. If your workplace is particularly complex or slow-moving, it can take up to 18 months to get all the pieces together.
Here’s what leadership needs to know: turning your stack around is a gradual process. It’s a project of finding the roadblocks that stop your team from working well and unearthing opportunities to improve your use of tech. Your assessment put to action can help Marketing gain revenue, reportability, and productivity—you just need time and space to do a thorough job.
Build your case
Your first order of business is to assess just how messed up your tech stack is; where the glitching processes and redundant tools are hiding around your organization. Tech stacks can get into sore states following years of bad decisions—decentralized acquisitions, half-baked “rip and replace” jobs—which potentially means untying knots from deep within the company.
Start getting friendly with people in different departments; Marketing, Sales, and IT chief among others. Ask them to walk you through their processes. How do lead flows work between Marketing and Sales? How do you get campaigns off the ground? What features do you use (and not use) in the tools you have?
These are the kinds of questions that’ll help you figure out how your stack interlinks, and which tools are essential vs substandard.
This is how you frame a case for change to leadership. The heart of your tech needs to be healthy, and additional tools should sync well with that core; your CRM, CMS, and marketing automation platform.
If not, each tool should be best-in-class at what it does, fulfill a relevant need for your business, and have strong momentum in the market. Tools that duplicate functions, lack useful integrations or are no longer relevant to your business only add costs and put pressure on your infrastructure.
Influence the outcome
This initiative will likely impact teams beyond Marketing—Sales, Finance, IT—so leadership needs to believe in your assessment to push it through. To get that support, make it clear to your VP and CMO how all the pieces gel and clash.
Present your stack as an interlinking diagram that maps out how your tools sync, how each set of features contributes towards revenue and productivity, and where redundant, siloed, and poorly-utilized software bloats your stack.
Some of those suboptimal tools will be popular with the teams that use them; naturally, removing or replacing these solutions can create tension. So, position this project to leadership as equally about refreshing the culture of your workplace along with the tech.
What you want to tell your VP: now we know the flaws in how our teams use tech to build landing pages or host webinars, we can rethink how to do those things for the better. Partner with MOPs to change the culture here, and we can implement procedural and technological changes that help to create better outcomes for the business.
To that end, propose that MOPs is fully involved with evaluating and signing-off on new pieces of tech. As you screen apps for quality, market momentum, and complementary fit for the business, your input saves the company from repeating past mistakes.
Turn your tech around
Untying the knots in your tech stack isn’t an easy task. Make it clear to leadership about what it really involves—ongoing time investment, holistic evaluation, behavioral change along with tech—and you’ll stand the best chance of partnering together to succeed.
For any guidance you need throughout the process, Revenue Pulse is here to help.