As a sales professional, I have worked with countless HR and IT folks that were looking to implement a new technology. They have seen the value, they want the technology, but now they have to go and ask for the money and approval to move forward with it. I’ve seen many succeed and many fail. Here are the five key things I would recommend for anyone preparing to pitch a new technology to a CEO, CFO, etc. in order to gain that much-needed executive buy-in.
1. What is the problem you are trying to solve or what is the opportunity to improve what you are currently doing? What is the cost of doing nothing?
Open up your presentation by identifying why you feel this technology will help the organization and what the problem is with how you are currently doing things. Be prepared to defend your position when the executive asks why you can’t just keep doing what you are doing with the budget you already have. Bring statistics and research to back up your claims.
2. When will you see a return on your investment (ROI)?
This is the most important part of your entire pitch. Don’t wait until the end to talk about numbers, especially if you have a compelling case. Hit them with the numbers early and often and they will be much more engaged with the rest of your presentation. If you are going to ask for budget, you need to speak their language. Work with someone on your accounting team to learn how to prepare a document properly and in his or her terms. When will we see a ROI and how will we see it? Will this technology generate revenue, reduce costs, increase engagement, reduce administration costs, or free up employee time to spend on other projects perhaps?
3. How does this tie back to the key priorities of the organization?
If you can identify your executive’s key priorities for the year and then show how your technology investment will help them achieve their priorities, your chance of getting it approved just went up dramatically.
4. Who is going to be needed to implement and ultimately own this initiative?
Create a concise list of key people and stakeholders required from evaluation, implementation, and ongoing ownership of the technology. When will each person be needed and how much time will be required from each individual?
5. Final tip: keep it short and keep it concise!
Executives are very busy and want you to get to the point (be brief and be gone). Only use relevant information and statistics that will impress the executive. Use bullet points and graphs/pictures — not sentences and word heavy slides.
Good luck! Be prepared and be passionate… you’ll only get one shot at it.