Getting your boss to buy into a data visualization investment plan can be tough if they only see cost. Even the most progressive and deep-pocketed companies face this problem. Here are some insights into how to frame the conversation with your boss so they can see past the upfront costs and see the business benefits of the investment.
Leadership buy-in for data visualization typically has two components:
1. A clear and well-articulated value proposition
2. Education on what data visualization is, and what it can do not only in the short-term but for the big picture business strategy.
Learn from your marketing department
Using marketing terminology, a value proposition is a summary of why someone should buy a product or service that is different from similar products or services offered by other companies. It is the hook that makes people choose to purchase from company A over company B. In this use case, the value proposition of data visualization is entirely unique to your company and its main objectives. Perhaps for your business, investing in data visualization will:
• Contribute to the company’s competitive advantage
• Retire manual processes
• Create efficient processes, bringing products to market faster and with more accuracy
• Enable smarter and more precise decisions to be made
• Offer deeper and more detailed insights into product development
If you find yourself struggling to decide what makes a data visualization program different from other potential investments, think of how marketing teams list out a product’s value propositions in preparation to market a product to consumers.
Once you list out what the core differentiators of data visualization you would like to see at your company, summarize them into a few short succinct sentences to form a value proposition statement. This statement should explain the relevancy, quantified value, and unique differentiators of data visualization. Make sure none of the differentiators in your statement are offered by your competitors. If they are, they are not considered a differentiator and should be removed from the list.
Center your pitch around the importance to the business
Every pitch should begin with laying out the benefits of why data visualization is important and how it translates data to business value. It is sensible to keep these benefits simple and clear. Don’t over complicate it and always have supporting evidence to back up your projections.
Value statements come in many forms. A good example of a succinct statement is, “If we make our data look this way, our customers will not only understand it better, but they will begin to change their purchasing behavior, which increases our net margins by X% over X amount of time. To make our data appear in an actionable way, my team and I need these tools. Your investment of $X now will bring you $X in one year, $X in two years, and $X in three years.” The aim is to make the value proposition so enticing that it would be unreasonable not to invest.
Use terms and benefits that are applicable to decision makers
When constructing your pitch, go through line-by-line and challenge each statement against the following:
• How can data visualization help my boss makers look good?
• How can data visualization help my boss get a promotion?
• What will make my boss look like an innovative leader in front of the other executives?
Often, decision makers only hear what will help them and make the business more money. Positioning the investment to your boss’ benefit will ultimately benefit you the most. Pitching your value statement using these parameters will go much further than a generic request for a tool that the executive team will likely never use.
Eliminate any uncertainty
When getting a buy-in, always think two or three steps ahead so you will be prepared for any follow-up questions. Go through what you expect your boss to ask immediately following your pitch based on your experience with them in the past. What do they usually hone in on? Formulate a response for these potential objections and be prepared to vocalize them.
Not only will you be more prepared, but your boss will see you’re looking at the big picture and not just your own needs.
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