Get Executive Buy-In For New Solutions

By: Chris Thompson on June 13, 2014 Categories: Content Strategy, Corporate Communications

I recently joined Marketing.AI, where we help our customers get on the same page with their teams- in content creation, management, and collaboration. What does this mean? It means this first blog post I’m writing- the very one you’re reading- was assigned to me in our tool- and has been drafted in our solution, and our team will have reviewed it, tracked it, edited it, and approved it- all in one place. And, we’ll have done this all without the help of any other document creation or management tools. I think it’s pretty cool. And our customers think it’s pretty cool too- and they tell us so, both when they join us in our trial and are literally “wowed” by the features they encounter, or when they sign up as customers, and use Marketing.AI as their goto for everything content.
What does all this have to do with getting executives onside with paying for a solution like this for you- the user? Frankly, it’s the question I’m most often asked in helping customers evaluate any new technology solution (I’ve been doing this a while). “What can I do next to get my company to buy this? How do I get my boss and the rest of my team on side?”

The formula, I’ve found, can be summarized in a few short steps:

1. Lean hard on the company whose solution you’re testing. They should be able to arrange an individual online demo with you- where you are actually using the solution, “test-driving” it on your own to appreciate the intricacies of how it works. If an expert in the solution can’t make you feel that piloting it on your own will be easy, then maybe, it won’t be.

2. Ask the software company to share what tools for support will be available to you after you join. What are their support efforts, and what experience can they guarantee once you become a customer? And what does their solution roadmap look like? How frequently will they update how their solution works, and what added features, on what schedule (ie. monthly, quarterly, etc.) will they deliver?

3. Pull your entire team into the conversation. This is the KEY step- and the one where your solution provider can most help. How?

  • It takes the pressure off you to deliver all the answers. You’ve opened the door for the solution provider to work with you and your team. Let them field the pressure of being accountable for what they want to deliver to your team.
  • It lets you ask more questions, and ensure you’re being an advocate for your company in choosing the best solution. This is where any good solution provider will pass the “sniff” test in being a good partner for you.
  • It lets your colleagues and your boss challenge the solution provider directly, and ask for similar client stories. Strong use case stories should be plentiful wtih any good solution provider, and they should be able to share numerous examples.

While the above steps may seem obvious, the reality is new projects sometimes get sidetracked by scheduling conflicts, unanswered questions, and other priorities that arise. Keeping momentum behind selling the change that comes with new solutions is key, and crossing the steps above off your list should help you keep the momentum going.