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5 big obstacles to overcome to succeed in agile marketing



5 big obstacles to overcome to succeed in agile marketing

With the knowledge I’ve gained by implementing agile marketing in several teams over the last decade, I’ve encountered some common obstacles that make it challenging to implement. You can avoid those pitfalls by being able to catch them early.

Leaders that aren’t aligned

Agile marketing is more than just a process, so aligning leaders on the mindset shift that needs to happen will be critical to your success. 

You’ll want to understand the scope of your agile marketing transformation and everyone impacted by it. This may involve leaders within marketing and leaders from other teams, such as sales, who request work from marketing.

Hold a collaborative “visioning” working session once you’ve identified which leaders will be impacted.

During this session, discuss:

  • Vision: What’s the vision for this change?
  • Importance: Why is this change important for our company?
  • Success measurement: How will we measure success?
  • Impact: Who and what is affected? What people, departments and processes need to change to realize our vision?
  • Support: How will we support people? What actions will we take as leaders to support people through this change?
  • Next steps: Note any further action items that leaders need to take.

By going through this activity, all leaders will be able to speak about agile marketing in the same way. If you have leaders opposed to the change, try and uncover what’s behind their reservations. If the majority are in favor and you have a few reluctant leaders, ask that they support the effort, even if they can’t quite see the benefits yet.

Trying to bite off too much at once

Let’s face it, after the last couple of years of uncertainty, most marketers are dealing with change fatigue. If you try to rip off the Band-Aid all at once, you may be faced with a huge revolt as change is scary.

Instead, take on an agile approach to becoming agile. Begin with some basic education, so everyone knows what it means (there are many preconceived notions and false info out there). Then, determine the pain points in the marketing organization and how agile can help people, not just add more change.

I always recommend starting with a pilot team to test and learn how agile marketing best works, given your culture, people and business needs. Pilot teams can feel messy, but a lot of learning is uncovered from the process of doing, not just planning.

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Focusing on process only

I cringe when I hear people say they’re doing agile marketing because they purchased a workflow tool that says it’s agile. While tools are important, the culture and way people work need to change — a tool merely supports that change.

In the early days of agile in software development, everything was done on sticky notes on the wall because tools often prohibited meaningful collaboration and conversation. Well, we’re now living in a global marketing and online world, so tools are necessary. However, don’t center how you approach agile marketing around a tool change.

Culture change must be the primary driver for prolonged and lasting success.

Read next: More on agile marketing from Stacey Ackerman

Taking a team only approach

I often see companies taking a “team only approach.” This means that they expect the marketers on the team to learn agile marketing and change, but no one else around them does. Let me tell you — this is an approach that won’t get you very far. 

Since agile marketing is about a new and different way of working, everyone is impacted. Managers may need to work differently because they no longer assign team members to work but coach them in career growth and skills development. Business stakeholders need to work differently because teams now prioritize work through a backlog, so how they request work has to change. Even departments like Human Resources may be impacted, as how reviews happen, and how people are compensated, may go from an individualistic approach to a team-based one.

Using agile words, but not really changing

And last, but certainly not least, are those companies that use all of the right agile words but want to keep working in the exact same way as before. These are the same people that think they can lose 10 pounds by eating an entire box of Girl Scout cookies and sitting on the couch (believe me, I’ve tried this approach — it doesn’t work)!

So while knowing the agile lingo is great, it’s really understanding the agile mindset and where you’re headed, not just where you’re at today, that’s crucial for your success with agile marketing.

Many marketers struggle to apply agile marketing in a way that adds value to team members. Learn how to break that pattern in this free e-book, “MarTech’s Guide to agile marketing for teams”.

Click here to download!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers that got her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and adjunct marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as a better way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an ad agency client. Since then she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has helped with numerous agile transformations with teams across the globe. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agile at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently relocated to North Carolina where she’s busy learning how to cook grits and say “y’all.”

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Salesforce winter 2023 release: The business executive’s guide



Salesforce winter 2023 release: The business executive's guide

More than 150,000 companies are Salesforce customers. Salesforce’s share of the CRM market is about 25%. 

Few customers take advantage of the thrice-yearly release updates rolled out to every Salesforce user. I get it. Folks aren’t always paying attention to the releases because they’re focused on running their business, tending to the million things that come up each day. 

The full edition of this Winter’s ‘23 Release comes in at over 700 pages. The boiled-down, brass-tacks summary is still 32 pages.

Few business executives have the time and bandwidth to keep up with the ins and outs of these updates. Your admins and marketing operations people may slog through the whole doc but may not connect the dots between business initiatives and platform functionality. 

This series will connect those dots. I’ll summarize what you need to know about the latest release in five key categories: commerce, sales, service, marketing and loyalty programs.

I’ll cover the features that will help you make better decisions for your business and maximize how you use the platform. 

Based on features in this release, Salesforce is focused on:

  • Improving the base platform (adding ease that your hands-on admin and developer teams have requested for a long time).
  • Creating even more ways to connect with customers.
  • Offering more industry-tailored options that bring value to a business more quickly.

Robust support for subscription selling added to Commerce 

Adding a subscription pricing model benefits most businesses, whether you’re a fan belt manufacturer or an artisan dog food company.

Making it easier for your customer to buy your product is always a win-win, and this release makes implementing subscriptions more seamless from the backend with the Connect API tool. 

Connect API resources now support subscriptions and multiple product-selling models: 

  • One-time sales where products are sold for specific prices once. 
  • Term sales offer time-limited subscriptions. Products are sold and renewed for a specific amount of time, e.g. 12 months. 
  • Evergreen subscriptions offer products on a recurring basis until canceled.

Configuring charges for collecting local taxes in international jurisdictions was also enabled. 

Dig deeper: Salesforce unveils features to boost automation for marketing and sales

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Additions to sales enablement functionality

Overall, I’m loving the general focus on enablement through enhancements with dynamic forms, screen flows, and Slack integration. 

Teams can now build and launch enablement programs that drive to the most important KPIs for your business. You can now focus on specifics, like programs for a particular region or product, and offer incentives to drive business from them. 

And, dynamic form improvements mean end-users have more flexibility with fields and sections to display on page layouts. 

Sales teams can now better access, update, share records and get important notifications on their key accounts directly within Slack using a new integration. Sales can collaborate in account- and opportunity-focused Slack channels while accessing Salesforce data. 

And, you can make it easier for sales teams to work with colleagues throughout the enterprise in departments such as fulfillment, shipping, and finance. This is enabled using Slack and providing real-time access to data stored in Salesforce to everyone who needs it.

Next time, I’ll dive into the latest service, marketing, and loyalty programs features included in the Winter 2023 release.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Joe Anzalone

Joe is Vice President, Salesforce Technology at Shift7 Digital. As a member of the Shift7 leadership team, Joe works to craft solutions and architectures that meet ambitious client goals using the power of the Salesforce platform, including product ownership for Shift7’s Industry GTM Accelerators. Joe brings more than 20 years of experience implementing Salesforce and other digital platforms including enterprise solutions and complex technology implementations. He sits on the Salesforce B2B Commerce product advisory board. Shift7 Digital is a Salesforce Ventures-backed agency, revolutionizing the digital experience for manufacturers, distributors, and their customers.

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