Gaining Buy-in

Recently a decision was made to completely rebuild our entire organization’s communications framework – what I call our Growth Framework. This includes all outward facing communications from the organization (email, mobile push, marketing/ advertising, web and mobile experience, trigger notifications, etc.). The need for this is that current operations are disjointed and disconnected, both in message and in experience, and this has resulted in a very convoluted operational function. This is a business-critical undertaking required for long-term success, but rebuilding a 55M+ database for a mature business ecosystem is complex and requires the buy-in of not only C-suite executives but also the teams responsible for implementing the rebuild.

In order to secure buy-in of this rebuild with C-suite executives, I needed a persuasive argument for this scale of project. I also needed data and metrics to support my argument, bottom-line information, an organized plan and timeline, and credibility.

• Persuasive Reasoning. I put together materials that walked through a comparison of what current vs. future state capabilities could look like, compared our current state to what best practices looked like throughout the industry, and described how I believed current gaps within our current system could be addressed through a new approach and framework.

• Data and Metrics Support. To support my reasoning, I provided current engagement data from our existing framework and compared it to industry averages, citing where current experience points were broken or lacked clarity. There was a lot of data that told the story that everything we were currently doing was not as effective as it needed to be.

• Bottom-line Impact. In addition to marketing funnel metric improvement data, I supported my argument with estimates to what I believed bottom-line impact to increased revenue would look like. I accounted for budgetary needs and resources required.

• Organized Plan, Process, and Timeline. You can promise the world, but it means nothing if you aren’t able to implement. In order to help organize my own thoughts about how to implement an overhaul of this magnitude, I devised a multi-phased plan complete with processes, timelines, and resource requirements to enable a timely and effective rebuild.

• Credibility. As I’ve discovered throughout my career, you can devise the best possible plan, but if you don’t have the right credibility and trust of the room, your biggest challenge might be convincing people to come along with you. Fortunately for me in this situation, I had already established credibility throughout the organization on several other major frameworks that I had previously designed, introduced, and implemented successfully at our organization. More so, the previous frameworks each leveled-up and built upon one another, and would be playing central roles in this next challenge. Put another way, if we were building a car from scratch, the chassis and transmission were already built.

Regarding how I prefer to work with colleagues at all various levels, I try to take a similar approach. For example, with any idea, whether it is from higher leadership or elsewhere, I’ll typically try to stitch it all together and vet the idea with my team to build out and make sure all cross functional actions are accounted for.

Once buy-in is obtained I typically operate within a flat-archie style type of management (a flat-archie is a blend of a hierarchical structure and flat structure – instead information and communication flows freely from the top down and back up, and then amongst peers – it promotes communication, ideas, collaboration, and feedback at all levels). In turn, I believe this type of approach makes individuals feel 1) valued, and 2) that they have a stake in the business and solution, which helps with buy-in and support all-around.

Accountability. As mentioned before, I like to have an understanding of the full organizational process and efficiency flow of how everything works. This helps paint clear pictures for everyone on how all of our roles roll into bigger initiatives and goals. We’re only as strong as our weakest link, so we all need to be accountable to one another and understand how each of our day-to-day and job functions need to work in harmony in order for us to reach our full potential and hit our goals.