5 Ways to Boost Stakeholder Buy-In in 2017

Posted by · January 26, 2017 10:00 am

It’s a new year. Time to revisit company processes, procedures, and strategies. With year-end data rolling in, you’re able to evaluate what has and has not worked in your marketing campaigns. A tweak here, a bit of restructuring there, and you’re back to the drawing board with your team. Together, you develop a new strategy that will undoubtedly catapult your company to success.

Suddenly, you get a sinking feeling. In order for the strategy to work — or to even get started — you need funding that comes from stakeholder approval. This thought has you picturing the reactions of the higher-ups in the company who, in the past, have been difficult to convince.

But, this is a new year. And you’re armed with a brand new strategy. It’s time to wow them with your team’s ideas and initiatives. This year, the gloves will come off and you will enter that boardroom prepared to impress. Let us show you how.

Why Stakeholder Buy-In is Important

Though you’re near the top of the marketing funnel, you may not get the final say on departmental budget and approval of messaging. Those with financial investments in the company, such as board members and owners, have that responsibility. While frustrating at times, the decision-making structure makes sense. They have to protect their investment and the future sustainability of the company. That’s why their answer may often come back as ‘no’ until they have further data and insight into proposals.

Their influence makes buy-in that much more important. As the leader of the marketing department, you’re in the weeds with your consumers. You see what approaches of communication and messaging work, and you’re aware of feedback where improvement needs to occur. It’s important to bring all this insight to the stakeholder table in a neat package to showcase your expertise and support your cause. Driving understanding will boost conviction in the path ahead and foster buy-in.

How to Craft the Perfect Pitch

Step 1: Define the Why
Switching up your marketing strategy for the sake of making a change won’t be seen as a valid reason to stakeholders. Spend time with your team evaluating the reasons behind the move. What is it that you were wanting to achieve last year that you didn’t? Are those goals the same in the new year? Are you working to promote a new product or be seen as a leader in other aspects? Define company-wide — and departmental — goals to ensure your new strategy is, indeed, on track.

Step 2: Evaluate Your Audience
Who will you be pitching to? What is their business persona? How have you interacted in the past — are they data driven decision-makers, or are they more interested in the human-to-human responses? Research this information and prepare your pitch to answer the questions you know will arise.

Step 3: Testimonials + Data
The golden ticket of a successful stakeholder meeting lies in the mouths of consumers. Not just what they have to say about your messaging, but how they behaved. Provide data, but humanize it. Satisfy the possibility that you’ll have stakeholders interested in both. Poll people who’ve interacted with your brand — how did they feel about the messaging you’re trying to change? What are they looking for that they didn’t find last year? Interacting with your customer-base to draw feedback supporting your strategy will prove useful in the end. Survey results are also intuitive.

Step 4: Make it Interactive
PowerPoint presentations are old news. With the number of meetings the stakeholders have to sit through, you want to ensure your meeting doesn’t become the after-lunch nap session. Begin by asking thought-provoking questions, such as, “What is your hope for the future of this brand?”, “What is your impression of our current tagline?”, or “How does this social media campaign make you feel?”. Create worksheets to poll their reaction to messaging and design. Ask for their feedback on the past year to make them feel engaged and involved in the process. This interaction will help them feel more invested in the outcome of marketing strategy, opening their minds to your proposal.

Step 5: Involve Your Team
Feel nervous when presenting to a room full of stakeholders? You’re not alone. Bring along leaders within your team who can speak to questions regarding data dissection, content delivery and style, social media statistics, and even design choices. Presenting a united front where everyone is on the same page, positive, and prepared will speak wonders for the strategy you’re presenting.

To create stakeholder buy-in, come to the meeting prepared with data, human insight, and a solid plan for moving the brand’s message forward. Follow these five steps for careful planning, prepare for questions, search your proposal for any possible holes, and deliver your message with confidence.

 


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