Selling the C-Suite on a Digital Workplace: Where Do You Start?

Many excellent corporate initiatives have failed to get off the ground. Why? Because the person spearheading the initiatives simply wasn’t able to build their case with the rest of the leadership team.  

When it comes to driving a digital workplace initiative, however, the stakes are high. Companies who implement a digital workplace platform stand to gain increased engagement and retention, lower absenteeism and mistakes, better communication, increased productivity, and massive cost savings.  

So, how can you lay the groundwork to get the c-suite (and the board) behind you? 

Know Your People 

One of the most elementary questions that salespeople have to keep in mind is “What’s in it for me?” The same principle applies when you’re seeking internal alignment with your digital workplace initiative. There will be time to discuss the many amazing features it offers—right now, to grab interest, you have to figure out exactly how this platform will solve each stakeholders’ problems.  

Before doing that, however, you need to figure out what those problems are.  

This is where research comes in. If your relationship with the rest of the leadership team is collegial, ask each of them for a half-hour of their time. Let them know that you’re looking into ideas to improve processes and want to keep their needs and problems in mind. Then, ask: “If you could snap your fingers and immediately solve your biggest pain point, which one would it be?” Take careful note of the answers, as you’ll need them later.  

If your colleagues are too busy or if you’d rather not tip your hand too early on, no problem. There is a wealth of information online to help. As simple as it sounds, typing each team member’s job title followed by “pain points” can uncover a treasure trove of information and interviews, with people in similar roles highlighting exactly what their biggest work-related headaches are. So, if you see six or seven Directors of Operations all saying that scheduling is the biggest thorn in their side, you can infer that this is at least a moderately-sized problem for your Director of Operations as well.  

Solve Their Problems 

Now it’s time to dive back into the features of the digital workplace platform you have in mind. If the vendor has already listed benefits, then some of the work is done for you. But in either instance, take the time to dive into the many features of the platform. 

At this point, an excellent idea would be to create a spreadsheet with three columns titled “Who,” “What,” and “Why.” In the “Who” column, list the name of each decision-maker who you need to influence. 

As you review the features of the digital workplace platform, keep each person’s problems in mind. Then, take each feature and slot it into the “What” column next to the person’s name (or names) who will receive the most benefit from this feature. Then in the “Why” column, make notes about precisely how that feature solves their problems.  

Here’s an example: 

WhoWhatWhy
John, CEOSecure communicationJohn wants to be able to communicate his vision and big company changes directly to staff, but hourly workers don’t have email. A secure communication feature lets him get everybody in the same virtual room, letting him share his vision and energy directly with every staffer. Result: better internal alignment toward big-picture goals.

Repeat this step for each leadership team member, and you’ll have a comprehensive “cheat sheet” that, when you propose your digital workplace initiative, will let you cut straight through to the heart of what matters most to them. Selling the c-suite on any initiative, particularly a game-changing initiative like a digital workplace, takes a certain amount of preparation and research. But by focusing on what truly matters most to each individual, you’re well on your way to getting the alignment and budget you need to make your idea a reality.  

Want more? Get the complete picture on how to get enthusiastic buy-in from the c-suite with our white paper, Building Internal Alignment for Your Digital Workplace Initiative.   

2019-07-04T08:31:12-04:00