You’ve discovered a new software application that will improve your business processes, save your company money and make you and the rest of IT look like a hero. But someone else has to approve the purchase—and persuading stakeholders that the investment is in everyone’s best interests can be a tough sell.
We’re here to help. These 10 tried-and-true tips will put on you the path of budget approval bliss.
Companies often leave evaluation to the tech folks, but software use is not strictly a technology issue. It is a business issue that reflects your company’s vision and day-to-day operations.
Early on, involve those outside of IT because:
“Our generation was raised (fill in the blank), and we turned out okay.” Sound familiar? Businesses often use the same logic. They don’t understand how the current system is draining the company, and you have to explicitly show the cost of the status quo.
You can show value in four steps:
Your company has talented developers, and you may be feeling some pressure to build a program yourself instead of purchasing a third-party program. But building your own application comes with many, often overlooked costs, including integration, performance, training, support and upgrades.
To show the cost of creating a software app yourself, we recommend you download Windward’s “Build vs. Buy” white paper. The paper is focused on reporting software, but many of the considerations apply to all third-party applications. Going through the paper’s checklist and presenting your conclusions to stakeholders can be a powerful tool in helping overcome purchasing software objections.
It’s the stuff of nightmares: You go into a meeting to make your case for new software and say, “Some idiot chose this inadequate software,” only to find out you’re speaking to the idiot. Do your research on who made the original solution decision and you will avoid any potential landmines.
As a general rule, show is better than tell. In addition, some people are visual learners, and they just won’t get it unless they can see it. As eloquent as you may be, a working demo can make your case much more effectively by illustrating exactly how the new system would work and what it would encompass.
Along with the demo, present a list of your company’s requirements and mention how the chosen solution meets each point. This is what Arland Head of LeBlanc’s Food Stores did. He built a proof of concept and presented that proof of concept to his bosses to show exactly how the new system would work and what it would encompass. As a result, he received the go-ahead to purchase a new application.
A note of caution, however. Creating a proof of concept can drag out the buying cycle, so be sure to balance the need for a hands-on demo with the need for speed. (More on this in a minute.)
One person in one department advocating for a new software package is one thing; many people in many departments advocating for the same software is another.Can this application help other groups at your company? Reach out to your peers in other departments to ask about their pains/needs, and then use that info when stating your case about why this software would be a valuable purchase.
Enterprise software has the notorious reputation for being a mess when it comes to licensing and support. Be sure you understand the financial details around:
When’s the best time to ask for money? Do purchases of any kind, but especially new software, tend to be approved earlier or later in the fiscal year? Will you have more chance of success in one quarter or another?How will other purchase requests affect this request?
Also, know where this program falls in the overall budget scheme, such as whether it’s part of a miscellaneous bucket for smaller purchases or a line item that needs a different type of approval.
A fascinating study detailed in The New York Times piece “Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?” proves that timing has much more of an influence on decisions than previously suspected. An excerpt:
“The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless… The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing… You start to resist any change, any potentially risky move.”
When you ask for budget approval earlier in the day, you’re less likely to trigger the “do nothing” default in the decision maker.
Act swiftly after you’ve identified the problem the new software will solve.
The longer you go on and the longer the buying process takes, the more likely the decision makers are to decide the company will stick with the current solution.
Getting budget approval can be downright difficult. Large companies resist switching out existing systems, and the process can be excruciatingly slow. But armed with the above tips, you can guide your company into putting just the right software in place.
If you’re working to achieve budget approval for a new reporting or docgen application, we invite you to look at our embedded solutions. At Windward, we believe that document generation should be simple and that free form template design is a must. You deserve attractive, informative and impressive documents.
Windward provides a unique experience using Microsoft Office to format and edit report templates. Behind the scenes, Windward’s sophisticated engine pulls data from multiple sources and merges that data into your reports, creating a fast and hassle-free experience that can make generating reports fun.
Windward delivers a solution that allows IT professionals to create basic templates and business users to customize those templates and create variations to meet their document generation needs.