TLDR: Marketing automation platforms are difficult to insert and replace, impacting teams around the business. Your CIO can allocate personnel from IT and Data Science to help implement the platform successfully, but they need to know the investment makes sense. Gather the data to forecast the impact of the platform on revenue and productivity, accounting for costs and long-term personnel demands. Position this platform as urgent for survival, and back it up with a thorough cost/benefit analysis, and you stand a strong chance of getting your CIO’s support.
One of the most important skills of people in Marketing Operations is to read the martech landscape and identify technologies that can add real value to the business. While MOPs succeeds at intuiting the relevance and benefits of new technologies, it’s often trickier to translate industry know-how into persuasive arguments why C-Suite should invest in bringing tools onboard.
This is especially difficult when talking about marketing automation platforms—key pieces of infrastructure that impact teams around the business, integrate with many other tools, and require significant time and cost investments.
If you’re pitching a new marketing automation platform, that conversation will take you beyond Marketing and to your CIO; someone who can allocate technical personnel to implement the project successfully. In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to plan and present a case for a new platform that your CIO can get behind.
Building your case
Before putting together a plan, it’s worth reflecting on the scale and value of the implementation. Marketing automation platforms are difficult to insert and replace, with downstream impact on different teams in the organization; most notably IT and Sales. By nature, a platform implementation demands collaboration across disciplines; at a minimum, Sales, IT, and Data Science should support the project and contribute their expertise. Marketing might exclusively use and spend on the platform, but getting cross-departmental resources means selling the platform as a lift to productivity and/or revenue that boosts the business as a whole.
Crucially, you’ll need people outside of Marketing to handle the technical wiring and create training resources. CRM Admins, Developers, Data Scientists, and Data Warehousing Specialists are examples of key people who can bring the implementation to life, all of whom usually report to the CIO. Personnel contribution, rather than dollar investment, is why you’d approach your CIO.
To get buy-in, your CIO should understand that the platform you’re advocating is necessary for the organization’s success and survival. Obsolescence = lights out for any business, so frame this as a do-or-die opportunity: you can adopt this platform and transform your business, or fall behind.
Assume that your CIO isn’t plugged into the martech space; meaning, your observations about how the platform fares in the industry and with competitors won’t persuade alone. Instead, numbers speak louder than words. What are the hours saved and efficiency gains per month? What revenue increase do you expect? How does the platform make personnel quantifiably more productive?
When it comes to revenue projections, you might not have the data on-side to create a solid forecast. This is where you reach out to Sales—it’s equally in their interest to have a platform that brings in the dollars. Projections from Sales like opportunity and win rates, lead types and quality gains, and conversion rates for the highest-scoring leads can help to frame the revenue opportunities on offer with the platform.
Gather the data points you need to forecast the impact of the platform on revenue and productivity. Then, accounting for the costs of implementation, walk your CIO through the hours and dollars that the business can expect to save or gain by implementing the platform. Even when working with estimates, a thorough cost/benefit analysis is exactly what your CIO wants to see.
Even after digesting the benefits of the platform, one key question remains from your CIO: How is this going to be a permanently successful venture? To answer this, you want to factor in post-implementation planning. Users and people who experience a downstream impact from the platform need to clearly understand how it works, so account for any training sessions, change management, and the creation of educational resources that personnel under the CIO need to lead.
Realistically, the ways your Marketing team uses the platform will evolve over time. This means increased support should be available from technical staff long after the implementation. Let’s say your current platform requires the support of two admins from IT. You might budget for a surge of 10 system administrators to implement the platform; after working at this cadence, the demands on your business will change.
Rather than scaling back down to two admins post-implementation, you might need four admins permanently to manage the platform. This is especially likely if you’re scaling upwards to a more robust platform.
Your CIO wants this platform to succeed on a long-term basis. The more precisely you can account for the investment of personnel, during and past the implementation, the more accurately your CIO can size up the investment and commit the resources you need.
Selling your vision
Cross-departmental support can be tricky to secure, but it’s crucial to successfully implement a new marketing automation platform. Come prepared to pitch the platform to your CIO as a vital and sensible move for the business—necessary for survival, with a thorough forecast of the revenue and productivity gains against costs and long-term personnel requirements. This is how you build a persuasive case for buy-in.
Need some support with implementing a new marketing automation platform? Revenue Pulse is here to help.