You’ve decided your nonprofit is moving forward with marketing automation. Super! (If you haven’t already, be sure to read Tip #1 and Tip #2.) You’ve stated your case and received the go-ahead to explore marketing automation solutions, so now it’s time to assemble your team and communicate what they can expect in the months ahead. In our interviews with nonprofit marketing automation pioneers, everyone agreed that team communication and delegation was just as critical to success as accessing the right technology.
Tip #3: From the start, support your team with clear collaboration and change management.
If you are the person who will be assembling and managing the marketing automation team, here are some tips you might find helpful in creating successful team collaboration and buy-in:
Enlist an executive sponsor
It will be hard to maintain the investment or momentum you need without leadership support. If you can, identify someone within leadership who can be your partner throughout the effort, advocating for this project at budget, planning, and board meetings.
Get wide input before crafting your plan—especially from tech team members
This will help you avoid planning for an engagement experience that is technically infeasible, but will also make sure you don’t overlook opportunities for cultivation or personalization that other departments know are there.
Try to start with just one automated series
Many experts that we interviewed for our Tips for Nonprofit Marketing Automation paper agreed that even a simple series often takes more time than you think. So plan to start with one automated series first, do it right, and THEN move on to the next.
Share the “why” to generate excitement
You’ve spent the time crafting your vision—now use it to spread excitement for the project. Show your team how this project will help other team members and departments meet their goals, and describe it in their language.
Know the roles you’ll need to fill
There is some variation, but you’ll almost certainly need someone for the following areas:
- Tools and product management
- Vendor management
- Web development
- Content creation
- Design and implementation
- Testing and analysis
As you try to fill those roles, reach out to colleagues to assess the existing skillset of your staff and find where or if there are knowledge gaps or interest for more learning.
Plan to communicate—a lot
As soon as you get started, book monthly and weekly cross-departmental meetings for regular reports on progress and coordination for future series. Allow ample time for questions and concerns about the way forward throughout the process. Be diplomatic about providing a forum for your team to address pressures and uncertainties they are feeling.
At the end of the day, your staff members are the people who have the capacity to make this technology deliver, so plan early for their time, questions, and expertise. You owe it to your team to explain how and why this technology impacts their roles. Getting your team ready from the inside can be a challenge, but it is essential to balance respecting your team members’ ideas and opinions while meeting your own goals. (Read more about change management in Managing Technology Change in Enterprise Nonprofits here.)
More Tips for Marketing Automation
Get more insights on how to get started with marketing automation our paper Tips for Nonprofit Marketing Automation below. It will help your organization evaluate where you are and where you want to be with marketing automation. You’ll hear directly from nonprofit communication pioneers from DonorsChoose.org, Greenbelt Alliance, Sierra Club and more who have taken the plunge into marketing automation. Inside you’ll learn insights on how to approach a new marketing automation effort, what to look out for, and how to make the most of this technology.
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