Since implementing a marketing operations and resource management system, ServiceNow has been able to support a new iterative, annual operating planning process across its global marketing functions.
Sarah Anderson, director of marketing planning, budgeting, and enablement at ServiceNow, shared her team’s journey.
For Sarah and her team at ServiceNow they really looked to focus on alignment for their planning. Sarah said, “We really needed to stop our siloed plans and focus on joint planning and collaboration, not only within marketing, but also with our sales organization as well.”
When it comes to the actual planning process ServiceNow started with their strategic programs, where they identified what each program would entail, and the three-year road maps for each program.
The next step for Sarah and the team at ServiceNow was planning with their functional groups. The first functional group they focused on was products and solutions marketing where they asked:
The next functional groups to plan include the brand and innovation teams. Readouts were then completed as inputs into the next major phase.
Their ultimate goal was to build out one solid plan per geography. Here they brought together the demand, digital, partner, ABM/CxO, and events team to work on building a cross functional support the group goals. It wasn’t until these plans were built that the team could start setting targets and outlining budgets.
As it happens with so many marketing teams, all ServiceNow’s planning took place in spreadsheets and various tools. There was no central hub or source of truth. And with so many moving pieces and stakeholders involved, it’s so important to create alignment.
Sarah and her team knew that transitioning to a single tool was paramount to the team’s success, which is why they decided to use Allocadia, an Uptempo Product, for all their marketing project planning needs. This switch brought more visibility into their data and reporting.
With the support of Allocadia, Sarah and her team at ServiceNow are excited to dive in and continue to improve their marketing planning and processes with three changes.
Alignment and cross-functional collaboration will never go away for their team. But one of the main changes they’re looking to make is around one of their core tenants: enablement. There had not been an enablement function within marketing at ServiceNow until this past year.
One challenge the ServiceNow team faced when it comes to planning is that everything happens at the same time. Marketing is often faced with planning out their fiscal year, without having seen what the roadmap is for sales, product, and so on.
Instead of planning everything at once, they’re going to stagger the process to allow for better alignment across strategies and plans.
Adopting the SiriusDecisions model required focusing on capabilities. They’ve been doing interviews within each functional area of the business to think about what the capabilities look like now, where they want them headed in the future, and then assessing all the gaps in between.
Those outcomes, along with a deep dive into their strategic programs will help the team create better long-range planning.
For most marketers, it was an easy sell once Sarah shared how it would benefit them by putting an end to spending hours manually planning on spreadsheets and compiling information. But she also had these three nuggets of wisdom to share to make the process smoother:
The next step took place a good three months before they went live with the system where they did a very comprehensive training plan, using both the training that is offered by Uptempo, as well as personalized training that they created specifically tailored to their organization. Their CMO also put out videos reminding people about the change, so they knew what was coming and understood the benefits.
Like most organizations, ServiceNow had to pivot and adjust to the changes brought on by COVID, as well as preparing to stay agile in the future. What works today in a hybrid model may not work in a few months. Because of this, ServiceNow has found it extremely useful to have visibility into spend with Allocadia, an Uptempo Product. They can transfer funds from one activity plan to another while including details that let the team know who transferred those dollars, so the next person knows that they now must forecast and spend those dollars.
As Sarah explains, “I think you’re constantly iterating on your plans. You need to see what’s working, what’s not working, and make adjustments.”
One of the things she brought up when it comes to being agile with marketing planning is that you can’t do everything all at once, but at the same time she added “We don’t want to stifle people’s ideas because everybody’s dreaming big and thinking of the next big thing that we can do as marketers to engage and educate the targeted audience.” The scenario tags in the Allocadia allow Sarah to tag some of those ideas and come back to them when the funds and resources are available.
This is extremely important for Sarah and the team at ServiceNow. She said, “We handle a lot of integrations, that’s one of the reasons why we looked at Uptempo’s Allocadia solution because of the APIs and extending that functionality into other applications.”
The ServiceNow marketing department starts the planning process by making plans in Allocadia, and from there they can extend into a variety of other tools like Marketo, as well as financial and purchase requisition tools.
Uptempo’s Allocadia solution allows ServiceNow to capture a lot more information than they previously had when they utilized multiple other solutions. Now they can learn from reports that allow them to visualize:
They aren’t expecting marketers to be finance experts, but at the same time ServiceNow wants to make it as easy as possible for them to click a few buttons that pass the information over to where it is needed in order to visualize it.
And it’s not just marketing. Strategic sourcing is also getting onboard because they can easily look at the application and data, and then support the team with contracts and negotiations with vendors.
With marketing plans connected to downstream execution, as well as finance systems, ServiceNow can track programs to revenue outcomes. These insights allow their complex marketing organization to prove the value of marketing.
You’re trying to justify the value of your marketing efforts in the face…
Marketers around the globe are looking at the plans, budgets, and new strategies…
Marketers have an undeserved reputation for just “making things pretty” when really we…
This blog was adapted from BrandMaker’s: “Marketing Ops Now” podcast. Each installment discusses…