A Crucial Step 2: Engaging Your Key Stakeholders
In our last post, we explored the benefits of evaluating the strength of your marketing foundation. You should now have a clear idea of your company’s strengths and weaknesses, where the opportunities lie, and the potential threats that need to be overcome. With this information you have the key elements for a solid marketing foundation; a solutions-based sales and marketing strategy that will unlock opportunities for growth whilst remaining firmly aligned with your brand’s purpose, vision and mission.
Armed with all this information, you might be tempted to build your roadmap and jump right in. If you do that, you’ll be missing a crucial step in the process — engaging your team and key stakeholders.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb
It’s no coincidence that the most successful people in business are those who can influence and manage others, nor that the leaders you see consistently hitting their goals are those with cheering squads of stakeholders and armies of ardent ambassadors, devoted to the delivery of their roadmap.
Yet despite this, business owners and leaders rarely receive guidance on how to engage their team or nurture a collaborative environment. In fact, it might not even be on their radar as something that they should be actively implementing. But stakeholder and team engagement deserves to be taken seriously, because simply put, your marketing foundation won’t be at its best without it.
Engage Your Key People
We know that bringing together the experience and feedback of multiple stakeholders can seem overwhelming, but requesting their involvement and garnering their support will, without question, improve the efficacy of your roadmap. These key people will deliver increased innovation and insight, they will identify blind spots, uncover opportunities for growth, and will feel compelled to work with you to build and bind your vision. Here are some steps to get you started:
Identify Your Key Players
If this wasn’t done in the evaluation phase, then the first thing on your to-do list is to correctly identify your stakeholders. The people you choose as key stakeholders will depend on the type of business you have. Stakeholders could be your company leadership, or they could be customers, friends and family that you want involved to support your marketing and sales vision. The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines stakeholders as ‘individuals, groups, or organizations that may affect or be affected by a decision activity or outcome of a project, program, or portfolio.’
Once you identify those key stakeholders, it’s time to let them know what it is you want from them. If your key stakeholders weren’t already a part of that first evaluation stage, bring them up to speed and share with them what you found.
Be Clear and Consistent
The findings from your evaluation should be shared in a clear and consistent way. Your stakeholders need to fully understand the data and your vision if they are to be a valuable part of the overall roadmap. Additionally, relaying the role that they will individually play will enforce ownership and commitment to achieving your sales and marketing goals.
It’s important that everyone understands and agrees with the accuracy of your data to ensure true collaboration. Your marketing foundation won’t be at its best without their engagement.
Get Your Team Onboard
It’s human nature: people are more likely to support and adopt what they have a hand in building. For the greater part of a decade, expert after expert has concluded that 70% of transformations in business fail to actually execute their plans. However, McKinsey & Co. tells us that when our people are truly invested in developing our roadmaps, they are 30% more likely to achieve their goals. It’s in collaboration that you have a chance in beating those odds.
So, what’s the take away? Put a concerted effort into ensuring that your team (who, after all, will help you execute your roadmap) agrees with the data you’ve uncovered and the vision that you have laid out to increase the likelihood of overall success.
Ask for Input
Ken Blanchard, author of ‘One Minute Manager’ and leadership expert, recently outlined the multiple benefits of engaging your stakeholders in a two-way conversation, citing it as a way to improve employee engagement, whilst tapping into their inherent intelligence and creativity. As he says, ‘none of us is as smart as all of us.’
Whilst regular consultation with your stakeholders is essential if you want a solution that’s acceptable to the majority, it’s not enough to simply share your vision with them. If you want to develop an enriched and actionable marketing strategy, it’s vital to actively seek out and ask for input from your stakeholders. Their pooled insight, expertise and ‘boots on the ground’ experience is invaluable and will foster a true climate of innovation, ensuring that you will be able to capitalize on opportunities for growth.
Asking for input will also stimulate their emotional investment, thereby increasing their personal feeling of motivation. Heed the wise words of advice from executive coach Ed Batista, and practise making ‘feedback normal, not a performance review.’
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions” – Ken Blanchard
Success rarely emerges because of a singular, supreme effort, so even after you’ve begun executing your roadmap, think about implementing a feedback loop. It keeps the roadmap accountable and flexible, and will make sure your stakeholders stay engaged throughout the process.
Congrats! You’ve got your data and you’ve got the key folks engaged. Now, it’s time for you to create the marketing roadmap that will guide you toward your vision in easy, understandable steps.
Your final roadmap becomes the plan for the future state of your ecosystem and tools.
Your marketing roadmap will empower you and your team to build a stronger sales and marketing foundation. This actionable tool will help you to accomplish your goals and see sustainable long-term success. In fact, you’ll find that your marketing strategic plan will be a productive and powerful foundational guide to agencies, freelancers and team members for seamless execution.
Next week we’ll share advice on how to develop the tools and techniques needed for sustainable growth, in our third and final segment: Step 3 – Execute.
In the meantime, join us for a quick call to learn more. Or, if you’re ready, jump in and discover redMAP. Regardless of where you are in your business journey, our proven 10+ year method and redMAP assessment tool will guide you through a process of building a custom roadmap for you that is actionable and easy to understand.