What You Need to Know About Creating a Marketing Center of Excellence
This article discusses the challenges and benefits of a Marketing Center of Excellence (CoE) business operations model and how the RACI tool can be an effective building block for creating a CoE by emphasizing the importance of clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
By Maria Geokezas, Chief Operating Officer at Heinz Marketing
If this year has taught us anything, it’s that the world is speeding up. Projects that used to take hours can now be completed in a few minutes with the right tools.
As you can imagine, this shift has had a major impact on the marketing landscape. And expectations around quickly launching new programs or adjusting existing campaigns.
One way marketing teams can respond to these challenges is by adopting a Marketing Center of Excellence model (CoE) .
In case you’re unfamiliar, a CoE helps to remove the inefficiencies in your workflows so your team has more time to focus on what matters — revenue generation and customer satisfaction.
But transitioning to the CoE model can feel daunting.
Below, we consider the challenges of establishing a CoE, discuss why the benefits outweigh the obstacles, and introduce one of our favorite tools you can implement right away.
Challenges of Implementation
Implementing a CoE requires significant changes to work processes and organizational structure. The shift necessitates buy-in from all teams, which can be difficult. Here are a few of the most common obstacles.
1. Shifts in Sales and Marketing Roles
When transitioning to a CoE, teams must rethink how they qualify and prioritize leads, manage customer outreach, and use digital tools to engage with customers. These changes often demand investments in new technology and training.
2. Adoption of New Acquisition Channels
The CoE model relies on smooth communication and progress tracking—which is built into most digital channels, including email and social media. However, this can create a longer adjustment period for companies still relying on traditional sales and marketing channels like direct mail and cold calls.
3. Lack of Change Management Processes
Ultimately, some employees will resist change, even if it will make them more efficient in the long run. Businesses must be prepared to overcome this resistance by working collaboratively with all involved teams to help them understand the benefits of the new model throughout the transition.
Benefits of the Center of Excellence Model
Even with the challenges you’ll have to overcome, the benefits of having a CoE are undeniable. Some of these benefits include:
1. Improved Conversion Rates
One of the benefits of creating a CoE is it can help you increase your lead conversion rate. By creating a streamlined system for outreach and ongoing communication, you can refine your marketing and sales processes to improve conversion rates over time.
2. Lower Lead Gen Costs
By putting systems in place to focus on the most promising leads, companies avoid wasting resources on leads that are unlikely to convert. This approach helps companies reduce their overall marketing spend and boost ROI.
3. Improved Sales Force Utilization
A marketing CoE delivers better leads to your sales representatives. That means your sales team can close these leads faster and, in turn, connect with a greater number of leads overall.
4. Ongoing Optimization
The CoE model has a built-in optimization cycle. Since every marketing and sales activity is tracked, monitoring performance metrics and identifying improvement areas becomes much easier.
5. Increased Customer Satisfaction
Customers value teams that can respond quickly and have a consistent message. When your processes are as mapped and automated as possible, your customer experience will reflect that.
How to Create a Center of Excellence
Of course, there is more than one way to develop a CoE. But the RACI model is the most effective tool we’ve found for getting started.
The RACI model guides you in identifying all the tasks involved in a process, listing them in order of necessary completion, and clarifying all project stakeholders and their roles.
With the RACI model, you map out who are the:
Responsible parties: The individuals responsible for carrying out the work or task and making the necessary decisions to ensure completion. It is possible for several individuals to share the responsibility.
Accountable party: The individual who is designated as the owner of the work or task and must approve or sign off when the objective, decision, or task is complete. They are responsible for ensuring all related activities are assigned appropriately. To achieve success, it is critical to have only one person who is accountable.
Consulted parties: Individuals who need to provide their input before the completion and approval of the work. These individuals are actively involved in the decision-making loop.
Informed parties: Individuals who require regular updates on progress or decisions but do not need to be formally consulted or directly contribute to the task or decision-making process.
Once you establish your roles, you’ll want to ask yourselves:
- Does every task have at least one responsible and accountable party?
- Does any one party have too much responsibility? (If so, you’ll want to re-assign the tasks more evenly to prevent bottlenecks.)
- Are there any parties that could be removed from a role to make the process more efficient? (For example, too many consulted parties can slow down your progress. You want to remove anyone who isn’t a clear stakeholder in the project.)
- Does everyone feel confident in the role they were assigned?
By assigning each piece of your process to a specific party (or two), you ensure no key tasks are passed around from person to person or, worse yet, forgotten entirely.
The RACI model also works well if you’re structuring interdepartmental processes or coordinating with an outside team.
Whether you adopt the RACI system – or choose another tool – consistency is key. For the CoE model to work, you must nail down your processes so your team can work faster, be more agile, and reach more potential customers.