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BLOGBuilding Front-line Buy-in

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, TechnologyTagged as:

If there has been one significant change in the area of marketing and engagement, it is the almost complete ubiquity of “programs”.  Some of them have names like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.  Others have names like Salesforce, Marketo, Dynamics, and Infusionsoft.  Yet despite the great fanfare, why does the system’s promise rarely materialize?

Consider how the system is implemented:

  • A problem is identified.
  • A vendor prescribes the medicine: merely purchase software package X (or spend time doing Z), and all will be well.
  • The software is purchased and configured.
  • No one uses it.
  • The problem remains.

The biggest obstacle to solving the problem is not the lack of software, but the lack of buy-in from front-line staff.  Or in other words, tools make it possible, but people make it happen.  Too often, the “cost” of the software is measured only in the license fees, not the implementation.

Here are nine critical factors that if omitted or poorly executed, will guarantee failure:

  1. Involvement with the front line exceptionally early in the process.
  2. During implementation, training (and more training, and more training.)
  3. Monitoring activity (by leaders and front-line managers.)
  4. Alignment of front-line interests with the organization’s goals, before, during, and after implementation.
  5. Incentives / Gamification to encourage usage.
  6. Performance appraisal/personal goals tie-in.
  7. Leaders lead by example:  the new system isn’t just for the rank-and-file.
  8. Sensitivity to the difficulty of change.
  9. Flexibility / Mid-course correction: as the system is implemented, more will be discovered.


Are there any systems or software that should solve “the problem” in your organization, but remain unused, poorly used, or actively opposed?  If so, it isn’t too late: how might you re-launch to generate that buy-in? Look at the list above for ideas.

Marketing insight #1:  While front line buy-in is absolutely required, there are other important reasons why a system might not be adopted.  Chief amongst them are incorrect system selection in the first place, poor configuration, data quality problems, and lack of integration with other systems. Not sure if these are the problem?  A system and process review can provide an objective assessment.

Marketing insight #2:  Momentum is more important than perfection.  Implementing a modest first phase with plenty of “wins” will generate the momentum that is necessary to implement later, more complex functionality.

Does this topic resonate? Reach out to Randall: he can present it to your group.  (More presentation topics)
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