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Effective Communications Strategies for Internal Alignment

Courtney Beasley

Courtney Beasley

In the first of our two-part blog series derived from conversations at our Marketing Masters: 3 Essential Pillars of Communication for Achieving 2020 Marketing Goals online event, we’ll cover key takeaways from the discussions, including strategies for internal and external communications.

This July we hosted our first Marketing Masters event, part of an online series designed to bring B2B marketers together to share actionable insights with their peers that they can implement at their own companies.

At the event, marketing leaders from Amazon Business, Uberflip, Tealium and AmWINS facilitated small-group, breakout room discussions on internal and external communication strategies to find success in 2020. The first breakout session focused on communicating with internal audiences, specifically on aligning on priorities and goals with stakeholders and teams. Here are some of the key takeaways:

How to Communicate and Align on Goals with Internal Stakeholders

Due to the rapidly changing business landscape, this year marketers across industries have had to quickly shift priorities in order to drive revenue. As channels and strategies have changed, goals have had to adapt along with them, making it more important than ever to keep communication open between stakeholders. From marketing to sales to product and senior leadership, ensuring everyone in your organization is aligned on expectations is key to achieving success and driving your business forward.

Lisa Kuszmar, SVP of Marketing at AmWINS Group, revealed that internal alignment has been the secret to the success of her marketing department. By keeping communication channels open between marketing and stakeholders at your company, you’ll get a better understanding of senior leadership’s priorities so you can adjust your strategies to match. At the end of the day, everyone needs to be working toward the same end goals, and you may be spending too much time on initiatives that stakeholders ultimately don’t care about. To avoid a disconnect between marketing and the rest of the business, marketing leaders should go out of their way to attend cross-departmental meetings to ensure that marketing goals align with the priorities of senior leadership, and prove that your team is doing work that matches their expectations for success.

Rely on Data to Align on Goals

Based on the conversations in our first breakout session, marketers are leveraging clear reporting strategies in order to track and clearly communicate their efforts to internal stakeholders. Meredith Albertson, VP of Marketing at Tealium, shared that she schedules bi-weekly meetings with leadership and consistently reports on the same thing to keep everyone on the same page.

Attendees across the board agreed that in recent months there’s been a shift in the key metrics marketers are using to determine success and how to move forward. While some marketers originally focused solely on bottom-of-the-funnel metrics like the percentage of closed new business that marketing influenced, many are now also reporting on top-of-funnel metrics like engagement with ads and email campaigns. With shifting metrics, careful reporting efforts can also help provide insight into the quality of your leads. Whether webinar engagement is through the roof or email engagement is down, consider the quality of the leads your efforts are producing and how you can communicate that value to leadership. No matter what metrics your team reports on, being able to tell the story behind the numbers in a way that senior leaders understand will be important for managing expectations and proving the ROI of your efforts.

To help you remain agile and identify SMART goals, use your tools and rely on your data to determine what’s working and what needs to be adjusted. Be sure to consider KPIs across brand awareness, lead generation and sales enablement to showcase the most robust picture of the success of your efforts. Agility is the number one priority on everybody’s list, so expect to be in a mode of constant testing and evaluation and prepare to make quick campaign adjustments based on your data.

How to Keep Your Teams Motivated to Achieve Great Work

Not only do marketing leaders need to be able to communicate goals with internal stakeholders, but they’re also tasked with keeping their teams motivated to perform. With so many activities to manage, coupled with a new remote working environment, the risk of feeling burned out and overwhelmed is at an all-time high. Maintaining strong communication with your teams is essential for keeping everyone connected and motivated to achieve your goals.

Maintain Constant Communication

Randy Frisch, CMO of Uberflip, shared that frequent communication is key to keeping teams sane. When casual check-ins and catch ups in the office are no longer a possibility, it’s important for marketing leaders to make a more conscious effort to touch base and stay connected with their team. While working remotely, continue to maintain contact throughout the day via phone, chat or video to relay progress updates or answer questions. Remember to also periodically check in with their teams to see how they’re doing outside of work.

Scheduling a daily stand-up meeting or marketing team huddle is another great way to align on priorities and increase visibility into your employees’ workloads. Shireen McCleary, Public Relations Specialist at Amazon Business, stressed the importance of mastering the art of constant communication and reminded marketers that in times like this, overcommuncating is always better than under communicating, especially when you aren’t in the office face-to-face.

Celebrate Successes and Find Time for Fun

Providing transparency into how your team member’s individual efforts are contributing to the bigger picture can help keep everyone motivated to produce great work. To set clear expectations for success, Marketing Masters attendees recommended instating OKRs or establishing a clear goal-setting framework to help improve marketing team alignment. As priorities continue to shift, be sure to keep your team in the loop and aware of how their efforts are contributing to overarching business goals so they can continue to generate results. Consider tracking weekly wins along the way, like converting a lead to an opportunity or launching a new piece of content, to celebrate the progress your team is making over time.

While celebrating team successes is a great motivator, our marketing masters agreed that organizing non-work related activities is essential for boosting morale in a remote work environment. Whether it’s scheduling virtual happy hours or battling your team in Peloton competitions, taking the time to connect with your colleagues outside of work is a great way to show your support and keep spirits high. Instead of just talking shop, get creative with engineering water cooler conversations in a remote setting to continue to foster positive relationships with your co-workers.

The first breakout room discussion at Marketing Masters unpacked many valuable insights for developing effective internal communication strategies to find marketing success in 2020. Check out part two of our blog series here, where we discuss tips on how to best communicate value propositions to external audiences.