How to drive the use of information tools within your organization

Part of the “Improving information ROI” series

So, you’ve spent all that time fighting for a tool that you know will vastly improve your organization’s efficiency, reduce missed opportunities, remove repressive data silos… You’ve convinced senior leadership for the budget, got IT on board to help implement, successfully migrated all legacy information and data to the new platform… 

So how do you make sure everyone in your company knows about your new knowledge asset, and most importantly, knows how to use it in the best way to support their own business needs?

Using a few simple communications 101 techniques you can ensure your implementation and internal uptake is a success. Here are our top tips:

1) Know your audience

Basic, right? Any marketer or communications adviser worth their salt will tell you the first step in any communication or promotional plan is to understand who you are talking to. Remember, even though they’re your colleagues, you still need to appeal to their specific needs and challenges to gain their attention and get their buy-in. 

Who are they?

A simple question but probably the most vital. Who are you talking to? Who is this resource targeted at? What is their role? Is it a business unit within the organization or the whole company you’re targeting? 

Once you’ve identified who your audience is, it becomes much simpler to communicate with them in a meaningful and valuable way. For example, is this a tool that will benefit the whole company such as monthly briefings on your industry’s trends or something that is more relevant to the Competitive Intelligence team like a weekly summary of your competitor’s market activity. The narrative you’d use in your communications for the latter could be very tailored and specific, whereas the former would require a granular understanding of each segment of the wider audience’s needs. 

What are their challenges?

Now that you know who they are, what are their challenges and pain points? What is it that this resource can do for them specifically to improve their day-to-day? Let your audience know the benefits and features of their new tool so that they are more willing to incorporate it into their workflow.

2) Know your channels

Each organization has its own arsenal of communications channels that can be used to varying degrees. These can include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Email
  • SharePoint / Information portal
  • Slack / Instant messaging services
  • Yammer / Social networking tool
  • Newsletters
  • Digital displays
  • Print media

To properly engage your audience, you need to pick the appropriate channels to communicate through, and the appropriate content to use. And it’s not just about using a range of channels, it’s about using them in the most effective way. Take email for example, how can you make your email stand out from others?

Keep your copy simple but make it punchy. Get the core of your message across in 30 words or less so that your readers don’t get bored. We all get endless amounts of text-heavy communications every day and never is this truer than in the workplace. 

Utilize novel resources. Too often B2B communications ignore the learnings and techniques from their more innovative B2C offsiders. Influencer marketing is a critical avenue in consumer-oriented marketing, why can this not be the same in business? Pick someone in your organization who has some real gravitas (ideally, senior leadership of some kind) and have them spout about the benefits and features of your new resource. You’ll see a marked uptake of traction with your audience.

Remember, these channels, useful as they are, work far less effectively in isolation. To get the best return on your internal communications it’s crucial you take an integrated approach. Utilize a combination of them. Differentiate and adapt the content to suit the medium. Spread the communications out over a defined period with messaging designed to inform, engage and then remind your audience of the tool. 

3) Set SMART objectives

“It’s hard to reach the summit if you don’t know that’s where you’re going.” Yes, a quote worthy of a picturesque Instagram post but the sentiment is correct. If you haven’t defined what it is you want to achieve, how do you know if you’ve been successful? 

What is the goal?

Do you want to have 1000 users accessing your new resources within the first 3 months? Would you like to halve the time your team spends searching for information over the year?

The goal is completely unique to your needs and your organization but the point is, you need one. Remember to keep it ambitious and keep it well defined, but keep it realistic.

Measuring success

Once you have set your objectives, it becomes clear what performance indicators you need to collect in order to assess the success of the campaign. For example:

  • Did you hit your goal of 1000 users in 3 months?
  • Did you exceed that goal?
  • If so, by how much?
  • If not, why not?

Conclusion

Communicating and driving the use of information tools internally is a critical step in maximizing your ROI on information. As a knowledge worker you understand the importance of these tools but your main challenge is articulating this across your organization.

Following these tips will provide you a framework from which to structure your approach to building buy-in from your colleagues and ensuring that you can communicate the true value of your new information resources.

For more information on harnessing the power of information or to find out more about potential ways you can improve your information ROI download our whitepaper here.