Businesses around the world are embracing unified communications (UC) – and the ways we communicate at work are quickly changing. A recent survey found that 86% of businesses plan to include video conferencing in their communications stack by 2018.
Although UC technology is becoming more common, implementing new technology still presents challenges. Employees often fear that new technology will be too complex or less reliable compared to current tools – even if UC technology can help them accomplish their goals faster and more effectively.
For many companies, an internal marketing campaign can help reduce adoption challenges. The following are five key steps your company can follow to craft an internal marketing campaign to improve UC adoption.
Step 1: Understand Your Internal Vision
Before introducing UC to staff, company leaders must develop a shared vision for how UC will help their organization.
Instead of describing this vision in general terms, such as making communication more streamlined or efficient, leaders should challenge themselves to focus on how UC can solve specific problems. Examples of goals include:
- Reducing operating costs
- Adopting artificial intelligence
- Improving collaboration
- Increasing productivity
Additionally, leaders should develop a vision that works for multiple perspectives within the company. Gather feedback from employees who will actually be using UC tools, not just senior managers, to ensure a new communications stack mitigates problems employees face with their existing tools. Executives and individual contributors might have very different day-to-day activities, but an effective UC tool should provide benefits to both.
Step 2: Decide Who Will Execute the Internal Marketing Campaign
Once your team is aligned with a shared vision, you should select a leader to execute the internal marketing campaign to raise awareness around the adoption of a new UC solution.
Designating one leader who is granted final decision-making authority will prevent confusion later. This leader can prevent contradictory information from being shared with staff, have final say over the format and delivery of the campaign, and establish a chain of collaboration among departments affected by UC adoption.
There isn’t a clear “right” or “wrong” way to approach internal marketing, but establishing one leader will help your company create and roll out a plan for internal marketing with minimal confusion.
Step 3: Address Employees’ Concerns
Change can trigger anxiety in the workplace, so it’s important for your internal marketing campaign to address your employees’ concerns.
Even though a recent survey found that 51% of employees are excited about mastering new technology, anxiety exists with good reason. In general, any downtime preventing collaboration can lead to lost revenue. For example, if a sales rep isn’t able to connect with a potential customer, the entire sale could be lost.
Your internal marketing campaign should have three key qualities:
- A clear timeline
- Educational opportunities
- Contact information for support
Your internal marketing campaign should include a timeline with step-by-step insights into how the new technology will be phased in. Rather than treat UC technology as something staff will simply receive, your internal marketing campaign can describe changes in clearer terms. “Here’s how you make calls today,” the campaign might spell out, “But here’s exactly what you’re going to do tomorrow.”
Like any external marketing campaign, your internal marketing campaign will likely include emails and one pagers. Your staff, however, will encompass a wide range of learning styles, so it’s wise to also offer different educational opportunities. In addition to written materials, consider developing a video tutorial, digital training options, or offering lunch-and-learn opportunities to demonstrate new tools in action.
Finally, users will inevitably run into challenges, so your internal marketing campaign should ensure employees know exactly who to consult when problems arise. By making sure that your staff is aware of their support system on day one, you can increase their confidence and ease their fears about UC adoption.
Step 4: Highlight Key Benefits
Instead of sharing general benefits, it’s important to continuously highlight specific ways that UC will help your team. Studies show that stories aid memory, and offering a specific narrative in which UC technology solves a frustrating problem can win your team over much more effectively.
For example, imagine you work at a large company with employees spread among several buildings on a large campus. Rather than simply providing employees a new instant messaging tool, your internal marketing campaign should walk through the key features of that tool, such as the ability to tag user locations. In addition to providing the convenience of instant messaging, a tool like this can help employees know exactly where to find each other.
Many UC tools can also be customized to reflect your company’s specific culture. To continue with the instant messaging example above, an administrator can include the names of the company’s actual buildings before sharing the tool with staff to create a stronger and more memorable narrative.
Try to avoid generic messaging by helping employees understand how UC tools will reduce specific challenges they encounter. Creating a narrative with real-life examples explaining why a new tool is relevant will resonate more than a vendor’s blanket sales copy.
Step 5: Consider Your Business’s Specific Needs
Although the benefits of UC might be similar across the board, businesses have different needs and resources available for internal marketing.
While an enterprise group might have organizational change in management, their internal governments might also be ten times more complex. A smaller company with limited manpower would have to carefully consider dedicating resources to implementing UC.
Your internal marketing campaign should be based on a realistic understanding of your company’s existing resources. For example, when identifying a point of contact for support, consider whether one person can handle issues that arise or if they will need help from others.
By thinking through your company’s needs and resources in advance, you’ll ensure that your internal marketing campaign matches your staff’s needs.
Internal Marketing Improves UC Adoption
Internal marketing is an overlooked but crucial step in introducing new technology in the workplace.
Like any good marketing initiative, an internal marketing campaign should sell employees on new communications tools designed to improve team productivity and ensure adoption proceeds as smooth as possible. By highlighting specific benefits and offering a range of learning opportunities, an internal marketing campaign provides users with the tools they need to adjust to UC technology more quickly and easily.
Before long, workers will wonder how they ever did their jobs without UC technology.