I’ve seen technology companies shifting their business goals three to four times within an eighteen-month period. This is understandable, as economies change, markets become more competitive or are disrupted by startups, new investors come on board, target audiences change… no matter the reason, being forced to shift business goals can be taxing on your business.
While you are focusing on business strategy and product enhancements or new product developments… consider how your communications team can support this process? How can they back the product and sales team and provide peace of mind when you are ready to go to market?
Here are a few key points to consider:
The value of monthly business updates to your communications team goes a long way, if your goal is to ensure that all your stakeholders are in the know, and that potential customers reading any news updates about your business – across all available platforms – understand your current offering and value proposition.
To avoid being on the backfoot:
Encourage engagement between your developer / product teams and the communications team
Make this a fun exercise and use gamification tools if you need to in order to bridge the conversation between the geeks and the creatives. Why? This allows two very distinct teams to provide clarity on how they support each other, how their work complements another team’s results and very importantly, it avoids miscommunication to external audiences. The worst is reading an article that needs correction when you have already done the work to put it out there.
Do a Google search to see if news online reflects the messages you want your audiences to see
If you are not impressed by what you see, it’s time to beef up your communication outputs. Review your content marketing , have a chat with your SEO person (if you don’t have one, aim to get a once-off analysis). All I’m saying is, do not underestimate the harmful influence outdated online content can have on your business. It has the potential to counter the hard work of your sales team and executives travelling to expos.
“In the absence of clear communication that satisfies the urgent desire to know what the boss is really thinking, people imagine all kinds of motives. The result is often sloppy behavior and misalignment that can cost a company dearly. Precious time is wasted, rumors abound, talented people lose their focus, big projects fail.” — Harvard Business Review, The Five Messages Leaders Must Manage (2006)
Every company with or without a dedicated communications team, needs to have the following documents at hand. By developing and updating these quarterly, your communications team stays on top of specific business changes, and management gets into the habit of sharing relevant shifts that impact external communications.
Watch this space for Part 2: How to shift from startup to enterprise messaging