A siloed department approach to any new project requiring technology is a thing of the past. More so today than ever, marketing and IT are working together whether it's mapping the customer journey or attending meetings together so all pertinent information is gathered upfront.
The challenge still exists, however, with understanding each other's roles and how each corresponds to the end result. In fact, eMarketer conducted a study which revealed only 8% of marketers said they have a comprehensive solution in place for collecting and analyzing data.
To help minimize frustration and keep focused on the goal, here are 5 questions every marketer should ask of their IT/Tech Support team with new projects (also for marketing partners to ask of prospects):
What business problem are you trying to solve? Identify the issue that led you to this point. Was it an existing technology that needs an upgrade, is there a newer technology that allows your business to operate more effectively and efficiently or have you identified an industry issue that this solution will solve on a global level? With detailed information comes the correct solution. Ask clarifying questions, make sure you understand and agree what the issue is and determine the breadth of departments it affects so the right solution can be implemented.
What are you currently lacking? What do you want from this technology? Resources, expertise, different perspective, time? There are many reasons to seek a new technology solution but you will also need to understand if this is a one-time date or long-term relationship. Understanding why a company has reached out - beyond the business problem - helps clarify ownership once a solution is implemented.
Who will be involved in the project from executive level to daily active participants? Make sure you understand the approval process and who needs to approve the proposal, contract and cost. Also, know who is involved across departments the solution impacts and they are on board with changes that affect their department. There isn't anything worse than being blindsided in the middle of a project by an unexpected department or individual who wasn't involved in the initial conversations or understands the solution. It will delay, and possibly postpone or cancel, the contract.
What systems/technology do you currently use that will coexist with this solution? Understand the existing infrastructure, any planned upgrades, how they all work together across departments and whether they are planning for any upcoming upgrades or changes that will impact the solution. You don't want to have to go back to the drawing board after starting a project because all the details weren't revealed upfront.
How much are you willing or able to spend on a solution to your business problem? Solutions cost money. What does this solution mean to your business? What money will it save - direct and indirect? You need to identify how important the solution is to the business and where it is on their priority list. How much does the issue your business is currently having impact your day-to-day operations? Weigh the opportunity costs of operating with the issue, value against the dollar amount and value. Don't always let the dollar amount drive the decision. You may be surprised at the money being spent indirectly by operating in the current state.
According to SMB Group Research, 67% of small businesses and 81% of medium businesses say technology solutions help them improve business outcomes or run the business better. However, on 19% of the small businesses and 86% of medium businesses have IT personnel on staff - and most are generalists, unable to stay current on technology.
With these stats and knowing your business better than anyone outside the business, what business issues are you having? What's keeping you from resolving?
Use these questions to guide your conversations and make sure when you leave a meeting that everyone involved is on the same page on:
What the problem is
Current technology used/anticipated new technology updates/purchases
Timeframe (final deadline, what's being delivered and to whom)
With that, you are good to go! Let us know how we can help.