How to Win Friends and Influence People (So They’ll Approve Your Tech Stack Investment Recommendations)
- One of the keys to securing investment for your tech stack: Know your audience
- Those who seek budget for technology would be wise to build a use case that ties that technology to a business need
- If at first you don’t succeed, find out why, and try, try again
Besides the many humans who use technology, there are the few who need to approve your tech investment proposals. The gap between these two groups can be vast; those who learn to overcome it are more likely to get what they need. Jennifer Rouse and Jeff Clark revealed how to bridge this gap in their presentation today at TechX, “Selling Up: Making the Case for Your Ideal Tech Stack.”
“If you don’t know how to speak to your audience, you’re just presenting another expense; you’re not creating value,” said Jennifer. “Everybody in the organization — the CMO, the CFO — has something they want that will make their job easier.”
The key is to make sure you give this audience, whether it’s the executive leadership team or the board, what it needs — a rationale for investing in your technology request. The best way to do this is to tie the technology to a business need.
When making your case, remember to answer the important questions:
Who Is Your Audience?
Tailor your message to the role you’re appealing to. According to Jennifer, “Some executives are more sales-minded and only want to focus on leads or pipeline progression.” Incorporate some MQL (marketing qualified lead) or SAL (sales accepted lead) numbers, but always tie it back to the entire buyer’s journey. Keeping this board member focused on engagement and increasing average contract value (ACV) is critical.
“Some board members are engineers at heart and tend to focus only on product launches and introductions of new features,” she says. For this board member, it is imperative to present a focused, structured, and tiered approach to product marketing.
Finance-oriented board members are focused on the bottom line. “Every event is too expensive, every placement is overpriced, and cost per lead is usually all that matters,” says Jennifer. Help this person to understand the true cost of marketing by presenting data in the form of engagement metrics, pipeline progression, ACV increases, and predictability of leads and deals. This person does not want your opinion; they want facts.
Marketing-oriented board members know marketing and will either support you completely or continuously offer new/better ideas for marketing that they heard about recently. It is important to present the entire buyer’s journey to this type of board member and ask them where they would insert their idea in the journey. That said, “You’re rarely selling to one person, says Jeff, “especially if you’re proposing something big — like marketing tools that need to integrates with the salesforce automation system.”
What Will the Impact Be on People, Process and Change?
“Executives want to make sure you’ve done your due diligence about the impacts this will have on the organization,” said Jeff. This means considering how everything in the tech stack affects everything around it. Everything that changes affects people and process, so change management is key to getting the impact you’re intending.
What If You a Get a “Yes”? What If You Get a “No”?
Regardless of the answer that comes down from above, there are next steps. If it’s a yes, be prepared with a clear implementation plan that includes an implementation schedule, communication plan, KPIs and a documented process.
If, however, the answer is no, ask for the rationale. It’s possible that you may be able to get a positive answer after addressing specific issues. If this is the case, document the problem and revisit the case when the time is right, or get approval for a pilot and report back on results. Be sure to get a commitment that approval will be given when all issues are resolved.