Collaboration and alignment: Keys to a great marketing plan

Written by: Bruce Brien on 5/16/19 9:47 AM
Bruce Brien
Connect with me:

A great marketing plan is one that integrates marketing with other departments such as sales, finance and product development. Departmental collaboration is essential in order to create an in-depth and complete marketing plan. Unfortunately, it’s not as common as it should be. And if you can relate to this lack of collaboration, you’re not the only one; in fact, you’re in the majority.

In a recent SiriusDecisions study on planning maturity, respondents stated that participation from other departments in marketing planning is minimal. As you can see from the graph below, sales has the most involvement, followed by leadership, but the level of significant involvement from all of the departments is below 25%. This chart was mentioned in our last blog, but it's so important we thought it would be worth another look.

Source: 2019 SiriusDecisions Marketing Planning Maturity Study

Companies consider one of the main motivations for planning to be departmental alignment. In this case, it’s clear that motivations and realities are far apart. It’s critical that other departments start playing an active role in providing input to the marketing plan. Each department’s input and buy-in are important, and here are some reasons why:

  • Leadership: To ensure goal alignment and that objectives and milestones are being reached.
  • Sales and Channel: To understand what kind and quality of help and leads they’ll receive and what they’ll be responsible for.
  • Product: To keep up to date with new releases, upgrades and product launches.
  • Finance: To be aligned on not only the budget but the seasonality and impact on cash flows.

Communication Fosters Collaboration

By now you’re probably thinking - or being reminded of - how these departments aren’t as involved with the marketing plan as they should be. And a lot of it comes down to communication, or lack of. Employees usually attribute team problems and failures to a lack of collaboration or bad communication.

More often than not, communication is the root of the problem and, at the same time, the answer to the problem – it bridges the gaps between departments.

Such is the case of knowledge within companies. Knowledge is a core component of any business, and without communication, there’s no way for this to be shared. A lot of this can be attributed to the sheer number of communication tools that are being used. When static spreadsheets, out-of-sync tools, presentations and email are the main methods of communication, knowledge is siloed, and barriers are formed.

Breaking Down the Barriers

The answer to this is the use of a marketing planning platform to successfully involve other departments. Departments want to collaborate with marketing but they’re not going to go out of their way to do this. Give them the right tools, however, and it’s a different story.

The use of a shared platform can bring departments together. It facilitates meaningful, informed communication and allows you to make informed decisions that avoid conflict.

Getting everyone working on the same page is tough, especially with barriers like geography and managerial differences. Yet, by no means is collaboration something that is unachievable or should come to be neglected.

Collaboration Gives You the Full Picture

A marketing plan is a living guide with shifting targets that adapt as your business grows and changes. It should give you a sense of control over where the department and the business as a whole are going, and this can only happen when other departments are fully involved in your plan. Without their input, you’ll be unable to get the full picture and have control over the direction that marketing is going.

Senior Management is Key to Adoption

With the adoption of new processes and systems, it is critical to get the buy-in of senior management. Their participation will drive the adoption. If the CEO says, “our xxx system indicates we’re going to miss the quarter - anyone want to share their thoughts?”, and that system is out of date with bad data due to a lack of adoption, people will soon recognize that these systems are being looked at and, therefore, must be kept up to date to send the right message.

In contrast, a CEO that says “how does the quarter look?” is not inspecting systems but instead relying on her team. The difference may seem subtle, but it can make a big difference when it comes to the adoption of any new process or system.

Request a demo now and discover how Hive9 consolidates marketing efforts, investments and plans in a collaborative way.

Topics: Marketing Planning, Effective Planning, Best Practices