We're closing in on the finish of the presentation I didn't get to give at the Henry Stewart conference titled "Ten Things Most Vendors Won't Tell You."
#6) Implementation hurts
Any vendor who tells you that implementing software to manage your marketing operations is easy is like a dentist saying "this won't hurt a bit..." But the pain has nothing to do with the software itself. We're talking about changing the way people work, and people -- especially busy ones like marketers -- don't like to change! So you've got to expect resistance, complaints and loss of faith partway through the implementation, no matter how bad the old way was. Thus the important of so-called "change management" strategies. Or put more simply, don't forget the people factor!
If you're at this conference [OK, so you're reading a blog and not at a conference, but remember this was supposed to be a presentation!], you're probably a project manager running the software selection or an IT business analyst. That means you're already invested in making this successful. The key to success is to get the people who aren't invested -- most importantly the rank-and-file users -- to actually use the product. User adoption will make or break your project, because only they can ensure the data in the system is accurate and valuable to your management and decision-making processes. Here's a tip: get executive sponsorship and buy-in, so you can use both the carrot and the stick.
A common concern for the average marketing software user is that "Big Brother will be watching me! I don't want to have the status of everything I do tracked in the software." Many vendors and project leaders rush to reassure them that it's not true. But it is true! That's half the point of using these types of systems, and it's what makes the information in them so valuable. However, the good news for users is that Big Brother won't call them as often on the phone, or make them scramble to put together status reports, or assign work to them when they're already busy. So, learn to love Big Brother!
Next time, the last two things.