Prioritizing Marketing Initiatives: How to Overcome Objections and Get What You Want

Kelli Diffenderfer
May 31, 2022
min to read

Prioritizing Marketing Initiatives: How to Overcome Objections and Get What You Want

Kelli Diffenderfer
May 31, 2022
min to read

Humans are bad at changing our opinions — even when presented with new or eye-opening information.

This is why it can be so difficult to implement new marketing initiatives. 

Or to deprioritize ones that were once top of mind. 

But, when the world changes as fast as it does, you need a way to make sure you’re not falling behind. If you want to not only keep up with the competition but beat them at every turn, you’re going to need a surefire way to prioritize your marketing strategies. 

This means reevaluating your initiatives, honing in on the ones that matter the most, and getting the full force of your company behind them. 

You’ll likely get pushback at some point. It’s important to know how to handle these objections and show others why your marketing initiatives are valuable. 

To move the needle and push your campaigns through, you’re likely going to have to learn the delicate dance of persuasion. 

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to prioritize marketing initiatives, overcome objectives, and get what you want. 

Why do you need to prioritize your marketing initiatives?

Organizations often have a long list of possible strategic initiatives waiting for their attention. A challenge, then, is how to prioritize that list. 

If you have too many initiatives floating around, or you’re focusing on the wrong initiatives, your company is bound to suffer.

Are you going to switch to a product-led growth model? Revamp your inbound process?  Redesign your website?

If you try to tackle them all at once or make the wrong decision, you risk wasting time, money, and resources. Tension can develop among team members who each believe their project is the most important. And it’s unlikely that any of the projects will have the desired impact. 

 On the other hand, prioritization increases:

  • The success rate of your projects
  • Alignment of teams’ efforts 
  • Focus on strategic goals
  • The ability to make unbias and educated decisions

Prioritization also creates an ‘action’ mentality: Now that we have a clear goal, what are we going to do to make sure it happens? What roadblocks do we need to overcome?

How to prioritize your marketing initiatives

There are many ways to prioritize actions and initiatives. One way is by asking yourself what kind of value this initiative provides.

Is it strategic value?

How well does this initiative align with your company’s goals? 

Is it financial value?

How much money will this initiative drive the organization? Or will it reduce overall the company’s spend?

Is it business value?

Will this initiative create better operational efficiencies?

Another method of prioritizing marketing initiatives is what Peter Kazanjy, Co-founder at Atrium calls the Leverage Hierarchy. Whenever making a decision on what strategies to focus on, he looks to this to help judge what’s in the best interest of the company. 

In this hierarchy, six is considered the best outcome, and one is the worst — though sometimes necessary.

1. Doing work that will be done once and can't be re-used

2. Doing work that can be re-used and templated

3. Doing work that creates tooling which allows others to do more work

4. Doing management that enables others to do more work

5. Creating a recurring system and process by which #1 is more effective


6. Creating recurring systems by which 2, 3, 4 are more valuable

You’ll probably have plenty of ideas and initiatives to choose from… It’s important to think about the risk factor of each and the possible impact or value to the business. 

When comparing initiatives, here are some other things to consider:

  • Effort level — how many people are required to see it through, how much money is required, and how long will it take to implement?
  • Potential impact on your tech stack — will this initiative require you to purchase new tools? Will that tool fit into your current tech stack? What training/ramp-up time is expected?
  • Operational changes — will there be significant changes to your process? Will you need a change management team to handle it?

When in doubt, an effort/impact analysis can be helpful in assessing your priorities. Here are some examples of how to assess your perceived risk and reward:

The more granular you can get, the better

Once you figure out your overall initiatives, you can start getting into the nitty gritty. At Chili Piper, we have a thematic calendar for each quarter to help align us on a clear goal. 

You can grab the template here and copy it for your team.

Creating your thematic calendar should be a team effort from individual contributors all the way up to leadership. Here’s what each group can do:

Executive team

Your leadership team can kick it off by identifying the organization’s values and goals. The executive team should identify a concrete set of initiatives to achieve success in each thematic area. 

Management team

Managers can help define the supporting strategies and build momentum by laying out concrete initiatives that will support your themes. Leadership and management should work together to ensure each initiative has a clear owner who can develop an implementation plan. 

Individual contributors

When employees contribute to your initiatives they’re more likely to be successful because they feel more ownership. These individuals can create a detailed implementation plan and set a timeline for the projects that will be completed.

For example: 

  • Product marketing fills out the messaging and pain points
  • Content figures out what topics to write about
  • Demand gen puts together a distribution plan
  • Community and events are in charge of getting other influential marketers to join the campaigns

Tip: Use a tool like Asana to help your team manage their tasks. It’s a great visual aid to show what projects your working on, what still needs attention, and what tools, resources, or people you need to hire to make it all happen.

Tips for prioritizing marketing initiatives

While there will always be times when companies prioritize the wrong thing or make the wrong decision, the worst thing they can do is to not make any decisions at all. 

Leaders who are indecisive or unclear about what matters the most show their team that they have no real vision for their company — something employees pick up on and can lead to dissatisfaction. 

Companies that have a strong sense of priorities and direction inspire their employees to reach a common goal. They can reduce their costs by cutting projects and initiatives that aren’t important and consolidating efforts.

Here are some tips to help when deciding what initiatives to focus on:

1. Have a solid understanding of how your company is performing 

I spoke to Mark Jung, VP of Marketing at Dooly about how he prioritizes marketing strategies at his company. They chose to focus heavily on revamping their inbound process. When I asked Mark why they chose that path, the answer was pretty simple.

Dooly was going through hypergrowth and as they started gaining traction, there was a huge amount of inbound interest. It quickly became apparent to Mark that inbound was the number one thing they should be optimizing for.

“The number one thing we should be optimizing for is making sure that as people are hearing about us and coming in, we can provide them with a smooth and easy experience. So for me, we had done a lot of hard work to get to that place, a lot of creative investment on the brand side, and content, and community, and customer marketing. So it was a fairly easy decision.”

2. Make sure you have the right people and resources to support the initiative 

One thing Mark made sure of before beginning to revamp their inbound process was to make sure they had the right people to see it through. 

“At this point, we were hiring marketing ops, and we had a front-end engineer, so we had the talent coming in to help us support the initiative and the right people on deck at the time, so it was just kind of a perfect storm.” 

If you don’t have the right talent, your initiative could fall flat on its face. Make sure you know exactly who is going to be involved in the implementation, and what tools or outside resources you may need. 

3. Focus on making unbiased decisions

Being objective isn’t always easy. 

Especially for those in a leadership position who have a huge stake in the company’s success — they can easily fall victim to only seeing what they want to see or seeing signs that support their point of view. 

But please, try to be objective. 

And if you can’t, it’s time to break out the handy dandy decision memo. Decision memos are a great way to make unbias decisions and can be used in almost every aspect of your business. 

You can also have someone you trust provide their opinion. Ideally someone with less stake in the business. 

Why? 

We tend to feel a strong sense of attachment to processes or initiatives we created. I see this all the time with companies are reluctant to let go of their inbound SDRs because they’ve already structured their inbound process a certain way.

Ensure your decisions lead to quantifiable improvements, and that you’re not just doing something because it’s easier. 

4. Your strategy should inform what tools you purchase — NOT the other way around

The last thing you want is to get stuck with a tool that no one likes or knows how to use. 

But this happens way more often than you might think. One person who advocates for a certain tool without fully knowing how it will impact the company’s strategy can mess with their tech stack for years to come.

Really understand what your strategy is before making any purchasing decisions.

“In the past I’ve had differing opinions or someone who may have a preference for a specific tech stack,” Mark said. “You often see in marketing operations — someone who favors HubSpot vs. Pardot vs. Marketo. I always try to reverse that thinking where you should always build your solution around a strategy, not around a bias for a specific tool.” 

For example, implementing Pardot because you have someone on your team who’s an expert in Pardot is a huge misstep. 

“If it’s not the right fit for your strategy and solution, it should always come second to making sure it can do what you want it to do in the long run,” Mark said. “Otherwise you may have legacy systems if that person leaves that you inherit. Strategy first, tools second.” 

For example, Mark knew that he wanted to focus on Dooly’s inbound process. 

The tools he needed to make that happen came second. And he was deliberate about choosing the right ones to bring his vision to life. 

“In terms of the tech stack specifically, we looked at a number of different options,” Mark said, “Right now we’re using Clearbit as our enrichment tool, Chili Piper as our lead routing, and we still use Unbounce for some of our campaigns.”

“We evaluated a number of others but that ended up being the best fit to create the fastest buying process with the least amount of friction.”

Once your strategy is in place, you can start evaluating the tech stack you need. 

5. Keep scope in mind

If you’re expecting to get a massive increase from a small channel, you’re setting yourself up for failure. 

Likewise, if you want to keep your budget small, expect a small return. That goes for almost everything — ads, quality of content, employee talent, etc. 

Be sure to keep scope in mind as you prioritize your marketing initiatives and make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of expectations. 

6. Focus on strategy rather than capacity

Just because you have the bandwidth to do something doesn’t mean you should.

Often, companies find that capacity, not strategy, is determining which marketing initiatives are launched. 

This is where you can fall back on your thematic calendar. If you get an ad hoc request that doesn’t fit into your theme, it probably isn’t something you should focus on. 

This goes for requests from within your organization, and outside partnerships.

For example, I often get approached to write guest blogs. Even if I had to capacity to do it doesn’t mean I should. You want to look at the company reaching out — are their customer part of your target audience? What’s their domain rating? Do they have a large social media presence?

Make sure any partnership opportunities or content requests are beneficial to your overall initiative before agreeing to extra work — just because you have people available, doesn’t mean you have to launch another project.

7. Don’t try to boil the ocean 

It’s better to have too few initiatives than too many.

That might seem counterintuitive to you — the more initiative you have the more chances that one of them will be successful, right?

Not really. And here’s why.

If you have too many initiatives floating around, everyone will be working on different disjointed tasks. Initiatives won’t get the attention and visibility they deserve, you’ll probably end up with a lot of one-off tasks that take up a lot of time and don’t have a lot of impact, and your team won’t be aligned on your organization’s goals.

And your employee might get burnt out from trying to do too many things at once. 

Companies can’t do all the things they want immediately. There are business constraints including time, budget, and bandwidth. 

It’s better to focus on one crucial strategy and do it at 100% than do ten halfheartedly. 

Successful companies know their organization’s vision and they’re able to laser focus on how to achieve it. 

How to overcome objections and get buy-in from leadership

There’s one thing that’s almost guaranteed when choosing a marketing strategy… you’re bound to get objections from someone in the organization.

The absolute best thing you can do is to be prepared. 

How?

Do the work for them 

When trying to convince someone to prioritize your project or initiative over others, don’t present a problem without a solution. 

For example, you shouldn’t go to your team and say “our inbound process is broken” and not have an idea for how to fix it. 

When Mark brought his plan up to his team, he knew exactly what his plan of action was.

“I said, ‘hey, we have some friction right now in terms of how people are coming in and qualifying’, here is a recommendation for how we’re going to stand this up,” Mark said. “And then it went, sounds good, let’s implement it.”

If you’re thinking, ‘that sounds too easy it never goes like that for me’, it’s probably due to a lack of credibility.

“When you build credibility and you have a recommendation, at least from my perspective, it’s been easy,” Mark said.  

You can build credibility by making well researched decisions and involving your team (AKA with a decision memo 😉).

Anticipate any questions they will have and provide an answer. 

Even better, write it down. Lay out all of your research in a document: Your pro and con analysis, the potential impact to the business, your opinion on how to proceed, etc. 

Tip: When using a decision memo, make sure the decision maker’s response is required. This helps force them to make a decision and have it it writing. 

Use sales techniques for objection handling

While you’re making your pitch, ask questions to make sure people are engaged, understand what you’re suggesting, and don’t have concerns that will pop up later. 

These are questions like:

  • Do you have any concerns around this strategic initiative?
  • Are there any obstacles that would prevent us from moving forward?
  • How confident do you feel we'd see success from this campaign?
  • You seem a little worried about the timeline/budget. What are your thoughts?

What most objections really boil down to are risk. Your job is to convince them that the reward outweighs the risk. 

Here are a couple common objections:

1. The budget objection…

One of the most common sales objections is also a common objection when it comes to your marketing initiatives: Budget. 

It seems to be everyone’s fallback as to why they can’t proceed with something.

Sometimes it’s valid.

Most of the time it’s a convenient excuse. 

And if you’ve done the work to come up with an initiative you know is going to be great, you will have ample evidence of why it’s worth the investment. 

It’s going to save you time, save you money, etc. 

When you get the budget objection, don’t just guess at an answer — know how much this is going to cost (what tech you’ll need, additional hires, outside agencies, etc.), and how much you expect in return.

For certain things, you can even pull up an ROI calculator like the one we have here. It helps visualize the expected outcome. 

However, other things are more about foundational work and building your brand. Again, make sure to set expectations on what the goal of this initiative is. 

You can make sure leadership knows this is an investment rather than an expense. 

2. The lack of urgency objection 

One of the best things you can do when you get this objections is create a little FOMO.

The longer you wait to implement it, the more opportunities you’ll miss out on. 

When Mark decided to fix their inbound process, he didn’t just throw a bunch of ideas at people and tell them all the tools they would need to purchase and organizational changes they would need to make. 

It was about all Dooly would miss out on if they waited. 

How many inbound leads they would lose to their competition. 

All the revenue that would be left on the table.

You get the idea.

Tip: When in doubt, use social proof. Find a company that’s killing it doing the same thing you want to do. 

Prepare for a fight

You might get lucky and have your initiative pushed through right away.

But more likely than not you’re going to need to prove your case to some degree. 

Create a bookmark tab filled with case studies, research articles, LinkedIn posts, or anything else that helps prove your case. 

Tip: If your company uses OKRs, take a look at what your peers, leaders, and company’s goals are. See if you can tie what you believe is a top priority back to the company’s goals. It will give you a huge advantage when pitching your ideas. 

Takeaways:

  • Conduct a cost/benefit analysis to determine your best course of action as a company
  • Use a decision memo (template here) — these can be used for large company wide initiatives or planning what tools to purchase
  • Create a thematic calendar to align your team (template here) — make sure everyone from the leadership team to individual contributors are involved
  • Don’t let objections stop you from pushing through marketing initiatives — prepare your argument beforehand and have to research to back it up

We hope this article has given you the tactics to convince even the fickle-ist of leaders and ensure everyone is aligned on the company’s strategy.

Humans are bad at changing our opinions — even when presented with new or eye-opening information.

This is why it can be so difficult to implement new marketing initiatives. 

Or to deprioritize ones that were once top of mind. 

But, when the world changes as fast as it does, you need a way to make sure you’re not falling behind. If you want to not only keep up with the competition but beat them at every turn, you’re going to need a surefire way to prioritize your marketing strategies. 

This means reevaluating your initiatives, honing in on the ones that matter the most, and getting the full force of your company behind them. 

You’ll likely get pushback at some point. It’s important to know how to handle these objections and show others why your marketing initiatives are valuable. 

To move the needle and push your campaigns through, you’re likely going to have to learn the delicate dance of persuasion. 

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to prioritize marketing initiatives, overcome objectives, and get what you want. 

Why do you need to prioritize your marketing initiatives?

Organizations often have a long list of possible strategic initiatives waiting for their attention. A challenge, then, is how to prioritize that list. 

If you have too many initiatives floating around, or you’re focusing on the wrong initiatives, your company is bound to suffer.

Are you going to switch to a product-led growth model? Revamp your inbound process?  Redesign your website?

If you try to tackle them all at once or make the wrong decision, you risk wasting time, money, and resources. Tension can develop among team members who each believe their project is the most important. And it’s unlikely that any of the projects will have the desired impact. 

 On the other hand, prioritization increases:

  • The success rate of your projects
  • Alignment of teams’ efforts 
  • Focus on strategic goals
  • The ability to make unbias and educated decisions

Prioritization also creates an ‘action’ mentality: Now that we have a clear goal, what are we going to do to make sure it happens? What roadblocks do we need to overcome?

How to prioritize your marketing initiatives

There are many ways to prioritize actions and initiatives. One way is by asking yourself what kind of value this initiative provides.

Is it strategic value?

How well does this initiative align with your company’s goals? 

Is it financial value?

How much money will this initiative drive the organization? Or will it reduce overall the company’s spend?

Is it business value?

Will this initiative create better operational efficiencies?

Another method of prioritizing marketing initiatives is what Peter Kazanjy, Co-founder at Atrium calls the Leverage Hierarchy. Whenever making a decision on what strategies to focus on, he looks to this to help judge what’s in the best interest of the company. 

In this hierarchy, six is considered the best outcome, and one is the worst — though sometimes necessary.

1. Doing work that will be done once and can't be re-used

2. Doing work that can be re-used and templated

3. Doing work that creates tooling which allows others to do more work

4. Doing management that enables others to do more work

5. Creating a recurring system and process by which #1 is more effective


6. Creating recurring systems by which 2, 3, 4 are more valuable

You’ll probably have plenty of ideas and initiatives to choose from… It’s important to think about the risk factor of each and the possible impact or value to the business. 

When comparing initiatives, here are some other things to consider:

  • Effort level — how many people are required to see it through, how much money is required, and how long will it take to implement?
  • Potential impact on your tech stack — will this initiative require you to purchase new tools? Will that tool fit into your current tech stack? What training/ramp-up time is expected?
  • Operational changes — will there be significant changes to your process? Will you need a change management team to handle it?

When in doubt, an effort/impact analysis can be helpful in assessing your priorities. Here are some examples of how to assess your perceived risk and reward:

The more granular you can get, the better

Once you figure out your overall initiatives, you can start getting into the nitty gritty. At Chili Piper, we have a thematic calendar for each quarter to help align us on a clear goal. 

You can grab the template here and copy it for your team.

Creating your thematic calendar should be a team effort from individual contributors all the way up to leadership. Here’s what each group can do:

Executive team

Your leadership team can kick it off by identifying the organization’s values and goals. The executive team should identify a concrete set of initiatives to achieve success in each thematic area. 

Management team

Managers can help define the supporting strategies and build momentum by laying out concrete initiatives that will support your themes. Leadership and management should work together to ensure each initiative has a clear owner who can develop an implementation plan. 

Individual contributors

When employees contribute to your initiatives they’re more likely to be successful because they feel more ownership. These individuals can create a detailed implementation plan and set a timeline for the projects that will be completed.

For example: 

  • Product marketing fills out the messaging and pain points
  • Content figures out what topics to write about
  • Demand gen puts together a distribution plan
  • Community and events are in charge of getting other influential marketers to join the campaigns

Tip: Use a tool like Asana to help your team manage their tasks. It’s a great visual aid to show what projects your working on, what still needs attention, and what tools, resources, or people you need to hire to make it all happen.

Tips for prioritizing marketing initiatives

While there will always be times when companies prioritize the wrong thing or make the wrong decision, the worst thing they can do is to not make any decisions at all. 

Leaders who are indecisive or unclear about what matters the most show their team that they have no real vision for their company — something employees pick up on and can lead to dissatisfaction. 

Companies that have a strong sense of priorities and direction inspire their employees to reach a common goal. They can reduce their costs by cutting projects and initiatives that aren’t important and consolidating efforts.

Here are some tips to help when deciding what initiatives to focus on:

1. Have a solid understanding of how your company is performing 

I spoke to Mark Jung, VP of Marketing at Dooly about how he prioritizes marketing strategies at his company. They chose to focus heavily on revamping their inbound process. When I asked Mark why they chose that path, the answer was pretty simple.

Dooly was going through hypergrowth and as they started gaining traction, there was a huge amount of inbound interest. It quickly became apparent to Mark that inbound was the number one thing they should be optimizing for.

“The number one thing we should be optimizing for is making sure that as people are hearing about us and coming in, we can provide them with a smooth and easy experience. So for me, we had done a lot of hard work to get to that place, a lot of creative investment on the brand side, and content, and community, and customer marketing. So it was a fairly easy decision.”

2. Make sure you have the right people and resources to support the initiative 

One thing Mark made sure of before beginning to revamp their inbound process was to make sure they had the right people to see it through. 

“At this point, we were hiring marketing ops, and we had a front-end engineer, so we had the talent coming in to help us support the initiative and the right people on deck at the time, so it was just kind of a perfect storm.” 

If you don’t have the right talent, your initiative could fall flat on its face. Make sure you know exactly who is going to be involved in the implementation, and what tools or outside resources you may need. 

3. Focus on making unbiased decisions

Being objective isn’t always easy. 

Especially for those in a leadership position who have a huge stake in the company’s success — they can easily fall victim to only seeing what they want to see or seeing signs that support their point of view. 

But please, try to be objective. 

And if you can’t, it’s time to break out the handy dandy decision memo. Decision memos are a great way to make unbias decisions and can be used in almost every aspect of your business. 

You can also have someone you trust provide their opinion. Ideally someone with less stake in the business. 

Why? 

We tend to feel a strong sense of attachment to processes or initiatives we created. I see this all the time with companies are reluctant to let go of their inbound SDRs because they’ve already structured their inbound process a certain way.

Ensure your decisions lead to quantifiable improvements, and that you’re not just doing something because it’s easier. 

4. Your strategy should inform what tools you purchase — NOT the other way around

The last thing you want is to get stuck with a tool that no one likes or knows how to use. 

But this happens way more often than you might think. One person who advocates for a certain tool without fully knowing how it will impact the company’s strategy can mess with their tech stack for years to come.

Really understand what your strategy is before making any purchasing decisions.

“In the past I’ve had differing opinions or someone who may have a preference for a specific tech stack,” Mark said. “You often see in marketing operations — someone who favors HubSpot vs. Pardot vs. Marketo. I always try to reverse that thinking where you should always build your solution around a strategy, not around a bias for a specific tool.” 

For example, implementing Pardot because you have someone on your team who’s an expert in Pardot is a huge misstep. 

“If it’s not the right fit for your strategy and solution, it should always come second to making sure it can do what you want it to do in the long run,” Mark said. “Otherwise you may have legacy systems if that person leaves that you inherit. Strategy first, tools second.” 

For example, Mark knew that he wanted to focus on Dooly’s inbound process. 

The tools he needed to make that happen came second. And he was deliberate about choosing the right ones to bring his vision to life. 

“In terms of the tech stack specifically, we looked at a number of different options,” Mark said, “Right now we’re using Clearbit as our enrichment tool, Chili Piper as our lead routing, and we still use Unbounce for some of our campaigns.”

“We evaluated a number of others but that ended up being the best fit to create the fastest buying process with the least amount of friction.”

Once your strategy is in place, you can start evaluating the tech stack you need. 

5. Keep scope in mind

If you’re expecting to get a massive increase from a small channel, you’re setting yourself up for failure. 

Likewise, if you want to keep your budget small, expect a small return. That goes for almost everything — ads, quality of content, employee talent, etc. 

Be sure to keep scope in mind as you prioritize your marketing initiatives and make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of expectations. 

6. Focus on strategy rather than capacity

Just because you have the bandwidth to do something doesn’t mean you should.

Often, companies find that capacity, not strategy, is determining which marketing initiatives are launched. 

This is where you can fall back on your thematic calendar. If you get an ad hoc request that doesn’t fit into your theme, it probably isn’t something you should focus on. 

This goes for requests from within your organization, and outside partnerships.

For example, I often get approached to write guest blogs. Even if I had to capacity to do it doesn’t mean I should. You want to look at the company reaching out — are their customer part of your target audience? What’s their domain rating? Do they have a large social media presence?

Make sure any partnership opportunities or content requests are beneficial to your overall initiative before agreeing to extra work — just because you have people available, doesn’t mean you have to launch another project.

7. Don’t try to boil the ocean 

It’s better to have too few initiatives than too many.

That might seem counterintuitive to you — the more initiative you have the more chances that one of them will be successful, right?

Not really. And here’s why.

If you have too many initiatives floating around, everyone will be working on different disjointed tasks. Initiatives won’t get the attention and visibility they deserve, you’ll probably end up with a lot of one-off tasks that take up a lot of time and don’t have a lot of impact, and your team won’t be aligned on your organization’s goals.

And your employee might get burnt out from trying to do too many things at once. 

Companies can’t do all the things they want immediately. There are business constraints including time, budget, and bandwidth. 

It’s better to focus on one crucial strategy and do it at 100% than do ten halfheartedly. 

Successful companies know their organization’s vision and they’re able to laser focus on how to achieve it. 

How to overcome objections and get buy-in from leadership

There’s one thing that’s almost guaranteed when choosing a marketing strategy… you’re bound to get objections from someone in the organization.

The absolute best thing you can do is to be prepared. 

How?

Do the work for them 

When trying to convince someone to prioritize your project or initiative over others, don’t present a problem without a solution. 

For example, you shouldn’t go to your team and say “our inbound process is broken” and not have an idea for how to fix it. 

When Mark brought his plan up to his team, he knew exactly what his plan of action was.

“I said, ‘hey, we have some friction right now in terms of how people are coming in and qualifying’, here is a recommendation for how we’re going to stand this up,” Mark said. “And then it went, sounds good, let’s implement it.”

If you’re thinking, ‘that sounds too easy it never goes like that for me’, it’s probably due to a lack of credibility.

“When you build credibility and you have a recommendation, at least from my perspective, it’s been easy,” Mark said.  

You can build credibility by making well researched decisions and involving your team (AKA with a decision memo 😉).

Anticipate any questions they will have and provide an answer. 

Even better, write it down. Lay out all of your research in a document: Your pro and con analysis, the potential impact to the business, your opinion on how to proceed, etc. 

Tip: When using a decision memo, make sure the decision maker’s response is required. This helps force them to make a decision and have it it writing. 

Use sales techniques for objection handling

While you’re making your pitch, ask questions to make sure people are engaged, understand what you’re suggesting, and don’t have concerns that will pop up later. 

These are questions like:

  • Do you have any concerns around this strategic initiative?
  • Are there any obstacles that would prevent us from moving forward?
  • How confident do you feel we'd see success from this campaign?
  • You seem a little worried about the timeline/budget. What are your thoughts?

What most objections really boil down to are risk. Your job is to convince them that the reward outweighs the risk. 

Here are a couple common objections:

1. The budget objection…

One of the most common sales objections is also a common objection when it comes to your marketing initiatives: Budget. 

It seems to be everyone’s fallback as to why they can’t proceed with something.

Sometimes it’s valid.

Most of the time it’s a convenient excuse. 

And if you’ve done the work to come up with an initiative you know is going to be great, you will have ample evidence of why it’s worth the investment. 

It’s going to save you time, save you money, etc. 

When you get the budget objection, don’t just guess at an answer — know how much this is going to cost (what tech you’ll need, additional hires, outside agencies, etc.), and how much you expect in return.

For certain things, you can even pull up an ROI calculator like the one we have here. It helps visualize the expected outcome. 

However, other things are more about foundational work and building your brand. Again, make sure to set expectations on what the goal of this initiative is. 

You can make sure leadership knows this is an investment rather than an expense. 

2. The lack of urgency objection 

One of the best things you can do when you get this objections is create a little FOMO.

The longer you wait to implement it, the more opportunities you’ll miss out on. 

When Mark decided to fix their inbound process, he didn’t just throw a bunch of ideas at people and tell them all the tools they would need to purchase and organizational changes they would need to make. 

It was about all Dooly would miss out on if they waited. 

How many inbound leads they would lose to their competition. 

All the revenue that would be left on the table.

You get the idea.

Tip: When in doubt, use social proof. Find a company that’s killing it doing the same thing you want to do. 

Prepare for a fight

You might get lucky and have your initiative pushed through right away.

But more likely than not you’re going to need to prove your case to some degree. 

Create a bookmark tab filled with case studies, research articles, LinkedIn posts, or anything else that helps prove your case. 

Tip: If your company uses OKRs, take a look at what your peers, leaders, and company’s goals are. See if you can tie what you believe is a top priority back to the company’s goals. It will give you a huge advantage when pitching your ideas. 

Takeaways:

  • Conduct a cost/benefit analysis to determine your best course of action as a company
  • Use a decision memo (template here) — these can be used for large company wide initiatives or planning what tools to purchase
  • Create a thematic calendar to align your team (template here) — make sure everyone from the leadership team to individual contributors are involved
  • Don’t let objections stop you from pushing through marketing initiatives — prepare your argument beforehand and have to research to back it up

We hope this article has given you the tactics to convince even the fickle-ist of leaders and ensure everyone is aligned on the company’s strategy.

Kelli Diffenderfer

Kelli Diffenderfer is a Content Marketing Manager at Chili Piper. She is passionate about the power of words to tell stories and bring ideas to life. A Michigander at heart, she spends much of her time traveling to the mitten state, spending time outdoors and enjoying sunsets over the water.

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