B2B marketers often face internal obstacles to strategic planning. Common barriers I outlined in Removing the Barriers to Strategic Planning in B2B Marketing are not valuing strategic planning, not having sufficient time and resources, lacking alignment around a strategy and a lack of internal expertise.
Strategic planning has to begin by addressing these barriers. As long as these issues are not addressed, your company is not ready for strategic planning.
Breaking down the barriers will likely be a bigger challenge than planning. Below are three steps you can take to begin breaking down these barriers in your organization.
Sell the Value
The best place to begin is with a key challenge or opportunity your company is facing, such as a new competitor or a new market. This discussion often will naturally evolve into a high level discussion of strategic objectives, not the tactical objectives marketing was handed.
By focusing on the challenge or opportunity, you are focusing the discussion on the ultimate purpose of marketing, and opening up the discussion to consider the various ways marketing can address the opportunity.
Assign an Owner
Both authority within the organization (seniority) and the respect of the marketing department as a strategist are critical. Yet a single owner is a not a license to dictate a strategy. Tactical planning will more effectively align with the strategy when the entire team buys in and adopts the strategy as their own.
Line Up Resources
Before you begin planning, make certain any internal and external resources you will need are available. If you will be bringing in a consultant, agency or research firm, start screening potential partners well ahead of time. Finding a good partner will take time and they will also need time to get to know your business.
Selling the value of strategic planning is a significant challenge. Once a clear marketing strategy and holistic strategic planning process are valued in your organization, the other elements begin to come into line. Then, with your internal barriers addressed, you are ready to begin strategic planning.
How do you address the challenges, particularly selling value? What has your experience been with strategic planning when significant internal barriers still exist? Please share your thoughts and experience in the comments below or with me on Twitter.