How to present Community Strategy to Execs

(Jessie Schutz) #1

I have a strategy at least partially nailed down, and my boss wants to me to distill everything into something easily digestible to bring to our Support Leadership Forum so we can get it approved.

What’s the best way to do this? What kind of structure have you guys found to work best? I’m really not sure where to start.

(Nikoletta Harrold) #2

HI Jessie, I have done some strategy work before, but I am confused by your question. Can you add some more insights? What is the strategy deck about? What the angle that you are presenting it to the support leaders? Why them, what do you want from them in exchange for the presentation? What’s your timeline? and most importantly, what is your community’s goal and how well is it doing? thanks Niki

(Todd Nilson) #3

I’ve worked with quite a few executive leader groups and have found that they respond well to a one-page visual representation of the strategy that breaks down the overall goals, supporting tactics, expected outcomes and a rough timeline. If it helps, I’d be glad to peek at what you’ve got so far.

(Phil Betts) #4

There are quite a few variables, as @Nikoletta_Harrold points out. Two more are the level of buy-in these executives have to begin with, and how established your community is. If they understand communities - how they work and add value - you can skim over much of the setup.

Alas, very few executives start with that clear understanding, so if this is the first time speaking with them you might want to take a minute (keep it brief) to ‘remind’ them that communities are about building relationships, and that the benefits flow from there. It’s expectation mangement - you don’t want the leadership group wondering why the community isn’t delivering the same amount of new traffic as a Google ad spend. Ideally, these conversations are much stronger if you can have them one-on-one before the meeting.

You can then move from the broad ‘this is what a community can do’ to your specific ‘these are the benefits our community provides our organization’, to the detailed ‘this is how we’ll achieve those benefits’.

As @Todd_Nilson suggests, this may look like overall goals > supporting tactics > expected outcomes > rough timeline. As a general structure, it’s big picture > specific implementation.

It’s important that your presentation always connects back to the benefits your community will provide - avoid talking about engagement for engagement’s sake!

(Nancy Kinder) #5

Hi Jessie, I agree with Todd and Phil, its got to connect to what it is going to deliver for the business. Make it as simple and easy for them to see the benefits. If you are looking for a template we used a ‘Strategy House Template’ which had the corporate vision/mission across the top, then the specific corporate goals and then connected the community objectives and deliverables underneath. So it was an easy visual to bring them all together. Good luck and let us know what you use and what worked? thanks

(Jessie Schutz) #6

Hey guys! Thanks for all the good feedback here.

So here’s some more background on the situation. My community falls under the auspices of our Advocacy organization, which encompasses all of the teams that are involved in customer support, back end and front end.

The Support Leadership Conference (SLC) is comprised of all of the Advocacy directors from around the globe, as well as our Global VP of Advocacy. They’re basically the governing body for the customer support part of our business.

I’m very fortunate in that I inherited a thriving community, and I have buy-in from all of these people as to the importance of community, particularly as it relates to Advocacy’s business goals.

So the purpose of this presentation is to present my community strategy and demonstrate how it contributes to our organizations goals, so I can get official approval from them.

I’m having trouble figuring out where to start, so I was hoping for some insight as to effective structure based on other folks’ experience. Any thoughts you guys have on that are most helpful, and I appreciate the suggestions you’ve given so far! :slight_smile:

(Nikoletta Harrold) #7

Are you reporting on sentiment of the community and amount of supper questions solved by your superusers or community advocates vs company employees? I would maybe tie in how your 2017 strategy will benefit these statistics, and what other projects you are doing to reward and identify advocates on the community. And what are you giving them and what are you expecting of them. Maybe turn the expectations into $ value in support case savings or retention numbers… something like that…

(Steve Combs) #8

So basically a unicorn :slight_smile: and you have plenty of budget. Seriously though, you could focus on innovation as it relates to the business goals or creating a platform to leverage.

(KMcNiff) #9

Given that you’ve got a thriving community (I’m not jealous) - maybe focus on key issues, how you’ll resolve them and what you can get done over the next few months.

Think I read that in the Feverbee Online Community Strategy Template :slight_smile:

(Jessie Schutz) #10

No, this is a one-time (first-time?) thing. Community has always had decent buy-in here, but not resources. Now it’s playing a much larger part in some of our big Advocacy initiatives so I’m finally getting some attention.

This is the very first community strategy we have ever, ever had. That’s what I’m presenting: Here is the strategy I made, here are my plans, here’s how they line up with our objectives. I’ve got the content - I just need to figure out how to organize it.

(Jessie Schutz) #11

I don’t know if I’d say plenty of budget, but I do have a headcount I’m trying to fill before the end of the year (which I’ve been waiting/pushing for for 2.5 years, and my predecessor had been for ~4 years) so I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice. :slight_smile:

So the good news with that is, I don’t need to convince them that community is important. They know that already. What I need to show them is my mission, vision, overall strategy, goals, tactics, etc, and how those relate to the objectives of our Organization.

I have my strategy pretty much put together. I’m still refining it, but I’ve got the content more or less in place. Like I told Nikoletta just now, I’m trying to figure out the best way to present this information to the SLC (Global Directors and Global VP).

So…multiples slides? One slide to rule them all? Flowchart? Stick figure animation? Nancy’s House Strategy Template suggestion has helped to get the gears turning.

What other visual formats have worked for you guys?

P.S. Sorry I wasn’t at all clear in my initial post. For a community manager, I am terrible at participating in communities as a civilian. :wink:

(Todd Nilson) #12

@madtownjessie I’d probably take the approach of a short slide deck, outlining current state, restate the potential for future state benefits (business outcomes), the challenges that need to be addressed (budget, functionality, personnel, etc.), and a proposed timeline provided you can get their support to address the challenges. Then I’d wrap it up in a one-pager “cheat sheet” that they can easily refer back to and that you can use for 1-on-1 meetings to bring them back up to speed again.

Your mileage will vary, of course, by the style and preferences of your management team which you’ll know better than any of us…

(Todd Nilson) #13

Also, stick figures would be cool. :wink:

(Jessie Schutz) #14

I really liked the Strategy House Template idea that @Nancy_Kinder suggested, so I kind of riffed on that. In my first slide I presented what I’m calling our Strategy Framework: the basic structure of the strategy that will always be the same. It includes our community vision, mission, and values, and then three categories under which our goals will always fall. I got these from the CMX Fundamentals of Community Strategy course I took this summer.

The second slide then lists out the high-level goals I have for 2017 listed under the appropriate category. In the course of my presentation I’ll give some detail as to how these specific goals benefit the Advocacy organizations initiatives for 2017. My boss is happy with the structure, and so am I. So yay! Now I just need to figure out how I want to do the cheat sheet, because I think that’s a good idea.

(tamara Parris) #15

take your company business goals for the year (we have 4 core ones) then ladder up how what your doing in community supports these business goals of the organization - include numerical metrics (for example; how much your X effort has saved the company financially (Financial), how many leads you generate (Sales), how your efforts increase brand awareness (Marketing)) and your KPI’s

(Jake McKee) #16

A lot of good feedback posted already. I’ll give a few pointers that I’ve learned:

  • The more senior, the less interest … if we’re being honest. Not that they’re disinterested, but that they’re not going to want to sit around all day listening to setup. They will want to know one of two things: will this save me money? will this make me money?

  • In a support org environment, make sure you understand the challenges they’re working against at the moment, and then tailor your content accordingly. If, for instance, they’re getting slammed on call volume, setup your key points around how you can help reduce it. If they’re getting slammed on cost savings concerns, talk about how much less expensive (and hopefully more successful) your community channel is than say phones.

  • Your strategy should always be something simple enough so that when someone stops you in the hall and asks “What are you working on”, you can say “Oh, I’m working on three things … X Y Z, bam.”… where X, Y, and Z are easily repeatable so that when that person asks “What’s she working on?” XYZ can be quickly and correctly repeated. Same goes for strategy presentations.

  • Impact, impact, impact. People tend to care less about what YOU are doing and more about what you are doing can impact THEM and their needs. Sure, you have to setup what you’re doing to help them understand, but don’t spend more time than necessary on setup before getting really clear why you’re pitching them.

Hope this helps. Good luck!