Part 1: How to Get Executive Buy-In for a Customer Data Management Initiative

How to get executive buy-in for your customer data management initiativeIt can be tricky to get a customer data management initiative off the ground. Sometimes IT leaders struggle to get executive buy-in.

Why? Some business executives have mindsets that are difficult to change.

  • Some believe data is an IT issue and don’t want to get involved.
  • Some fear bureaucratic red tape that will slow them down.
  • Some think customer data management initiatives cost a lot with no quantifiable ROI.
  • Some have been burned by customer data management initiatives that failed in the past.

These mindsets can be difficult to change.

Talk to Business Leaders about The Need for Customer Data Management to Deliver Improved Customer Experiences

How to get executive buy in for a customer data management initiativeBut, you’re in luck. There’s a major business disruption taking place. It’s being led by customers. Customers are demanding better customer experiences. (Want more about this trend?

(Read this popular blog: Are you ready to compete on customer experience?)

The business feels this pressure. They need to respond. And, they need to respond fast. This presents a huge opportunity for IT leaders like you.

This is your chance to reframe your case for a customer data management initiative. Tie your customer data management initiative to the  business goal of improving customer experience.

89% percent of companies say they will compete primarily on the basis of customer experience this year, according to Gartner. Is yours one of them? If you don’t know, find out. Who owns this business initiative at your company? It could be one of these senior leaders:

  • Chief Customer Officer
  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Chief Revenue Officer
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Chief Executive Officer

Key Questions to Ask Your Business Leaders to Determine Whether They Need Customer Data Management 

Don’t worry. You don’t have to start at the top. Have a conversation with the operations teams. For example, set up a meeting with marketing operations or customer operations. Find out if they’ve connected the dots between improving customer experience and improving the quality of customer data.  A seamless customer experience is valued by today’s tech-savvy, channel-switching customers. This requires a more strategic approach to collecting customer data, managing and sharing customer data, and analyzing customer data.

Ask these questions:

  • What are their goals for improving customer experience?
  • What’s holding them back from achieving their goals?
  • What processes are breaking down or not as effective as they could be?
  • What’s the biggest pain point they are motivated to overcome?
  • What role does customer data play in this pain point?
  • Have they quantified the impact of the issues caused by a lack of data or poor quality customer data?

(Read more about: CMO’s role in delivering great customer experiences.)

Postition Customer Data Management As The Foundation for Delivering Great Customer Experiences

Those who have been successful with customer data management initiatives admit that great customer experiences that boost loyalty and revenue start with great customer data. They acknowledge that they couldn’t have improved customer experience without fixing the data, which was the root cause of their problems. And, not just a one-time fix like outsourcing customer data clean up once every six months. They no longer wanted to put up with customer data that was fragmented, inconsistent and disconnected across business units, product lines and channels. They needed to start managing customer data like a strategic asset, so it would become a strategic asset for the company.


How to get executive buy-in for your customer data management initiative
Executives from OneAmerica® and Wipro talk about how to get executive buy-in for customer data management initiatives

Success comes from focusing your customer data management initiative on an important business outcome. You want to empower the business to keep its agility and speed without sacrificing the quality of customer data they rely on.

For those who are struggling to get executive buy-in for a customer data management initiative, please keep an eye out for my next blog post. In it, I’ll share the highlights from a recent panel I hosted at MDM 360 Summit, where three professionals discussed the challenges of sponsoring a customer data management initiative.

In the meantime, read our white paper, “How to get C-level buy-in for your Customer Data Management  Initiative.” It gives specifics on how to prepare your business case and quantify potential business benefits.