You already know the importance of Business Intelligence, and you want it implemented at your company yesterday.
You’re completely ready to buy some software and start running your business by the numbers. There’s just one problem — you’re not in charge of the budget for your company.
Whether you’re an analyst, an admin, or even a Sales VP, you may not have the power to make the Purchase Order for a BI solution. Rather than pining hopelessly after a product you can’t buy, you should step up, take action and start selling it internally.
If you truly need BI at your business, it’s up to you to convince your CFO and other business leadership that there is a real and pressing need that cannot be solved any other way. Without the right advocacy from within the company, you will never see a BI solution implemented at your business.
Often, CFOs are the hardest to convince — they will want hard numbers and solid ROI for every new software purchase. But don’t give up! Here’s how you can convince your CFO that your business not only needs BI, but should purchase it now.
Forget Time Savings
The most enticing appeal of BI for many admins and sales leaders is the massive time savings you can get from automating business reports. Instead of spending hours manually pulling data, exporting to Excel, creating pivot tables, and building reports — BI can do it all, and do it quickly. Unfortunately, most CFOs don’t care that you’re working long hours and spending your weekends in Excel.
“Crunching numbers in a spreadsheet is just part of your job,” many CFOs will say.
As super busy people themselves, CFOs won’t be swayed by the hours of time you’ll save thanks to a BI software solution. They’ll consider a business analytics tool an interesting shortcut, but not something that your business truly needs to succeed. So even though you may be very excited about the time-saving aspect of BI, don’t pitch that as a business need to your CFO. In fact, don’t even mention the word “time” when you’re talking about BI. There are much more convincing selling features for you to focus on for your internal pitch.
Think Top-Down ROI
What CFOs really care about is Return on Investment. If your only ROI for a BI tool is time saved, that’s just not enough for a CFO to approve spending thousands of dollars on software. Instead, you need to think about the benefits BI will bring to the business as a whole, not just to you personally. Explain how BI can help the sales team:
- Improve conversion rates down the sales funnel
- Better manage your sales pipeline
- Offer your reps data-backed sales coaching
- Build a more accurate sales forecast
- …and much more.
When you talk to your CFO, explain exactly how BI can drive serious revenue increases. For example, if the data shows sales doesn’t have the pipeline to hit goals next quarter, marketing will be able to quickly pivot and push more dollars into generating more leads. How should marketing drive those leads? BI can show you the most effective marketing campaigns tied directly to revenue goals, so marketing knows where to invest.
Now that they have enough leads to chase, sales leaders can look to improving their own funnel conversion rates. If sales leaders notice conversion rates from product demos are low, they can can offer sales coaching to improve product demos and increase conversion rates. The impact could be huge. Your sales team could close 20 more deals per year and spend less on marketing lead generation, all thanks to a BI solution. Obviously, your CFO will be interested to learn more about how BI could drive revenue and business growth.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
The good news about advocating for BI is you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re working with a skilled sales rep from a BI vendor, he will jump at the chance to help you convince your CFO as well. Ask the rep:
- How did the last deal you closed sell it to the CFO?
- Do you have customer case studies?
- Do you offer ROI calculators?
- Can you get on the phone with the CFO?
If you’re committed and you really want this product, don’t be afraid to ask for help because you’re worried about negotiating price later. You and the sales rep can find a way to make it work together. Your first concern should be to get the product you need to run your business better today.
With the right resources, the right focus, and a pitch that highlights ROI, you can prove to your CFO exactly why your company needs Business Intelligence.