A How-to Guide to Pitching a New Intranet Solution to the CFO
As an IT Manager, you have your fair share of stories “dealing” with the executive team, so you know pitching a new intranet solution to them won’t be a walk in the park. The CFO in particular, has gained a reputation for being the toughest guy in the room to convince on the merits of any new technology system, and it is even worse if the solution has nothing to do with “finance” or “sales” (yea, the sales guys usually get whatever they want….😒).
But without him on your side, all the good work, weeks-even months of research into what intranet package is right for the company goes down the drain. Follow these steps to getting your pitch right and you’ll be on your way to purchasing and setting up the best Intranet package for your company.
Pick a Time and Place
It might seem obvious but getting your timing right can be a defining factor in whether the CFO agrees that spending x amount on a new intranet solution is worth it. No matter what benefits it might bring, you lost before you even began. Time it according to when your company is setting their budget for the year or at the end of the financial year when you know there is money left to spend. Timing it right after a major IT purchase such as a whole new set of computers for the company, might not go down well.
Get the right people on your side
Again, this might seem intuitive but making sure you’ve got the right decision-makers to support your pitch is important. The “Head of HR” is your best ally here; if you can also get the COO on-board then this is going to be a slam dunk. Make sure you have sold the idea to them first and have gotten their full support.
Don’t let your first pitch meeting be the first time your CFO is hearing about it
It follows then that getting your CFO onboard long before the idea comes up, you’ve already done half the work. There’s nothing worse than inviting people to a meeting when they have no idea about the concept, the purpose or even the issue your idea is trying to resolve. Top executives who successfully promote innovation hardly invest in unexpected breakthroughs. They are actively involved upfront.
A good first meeting before your pitch is to have some preliminary evidence to present (perhaps some employee polling data or feedback) and a proposal to pitch the idea of an intranet- what it is, its purpose and the benefits it can bring. Then, email them along the way with updates on your progress. The second or final meeting should be to present your findings along with which intranet package you think is right for your company and why.
Prepare for difficult questions; and the ultimate question – COST?
To prepare for this, try pitching against your co-workers. Come prepared with your evidence: why it’s necessary, what particular issues might it resolve or help with, what opportunities might it create, which of your competitors are using an intranet. Be firm but understanding. If you’ve anticipated their questions or doubts, you can be more assertive in showing how it’s either not an issue or how you can resolve it.
Come prepared with evidence
There’s no better way to counter the doubts than to back it with evidence. At first you might think it’s hard to quantify the benefits of having a new intranet solution as they can often seem immeasurable. Intranets are much like telephones or email, everyone knows they’re essential to running a business but much of the value is unseen and not measurable. However, nobody would doubt their neccessity.
Keep this in mind when you make your pitch. Intranets are good for retaining and recruiting staff, keeping employees engaged and increasing productivity. This should be your mantra.
Present any evidence you can gather about its benefits in a cost/benefit analysis or a detailed gap analysis. Gather evidence from staff polls or questionnaires, customer or client feedback, other competitors and present a trajectory for how it meet business requirements as well as its user requirements. Remember that visuals are great for presentations so make sure you accompany your pitch with flow charts, graphs and charts of the growth expected.
Finally, do a walkthrough of the key features.
To that end, make sure you have familiarized yourself with it ahead of time — an easy way to see such a pitch go down in flames would be to make the software in question look difficult to use. If you’re able to, input the company logo and employees ready to go as if it’s yours already. This will go a long way to getting your bosses on board.
Make sure to follow up with login details for the CFO, to be able to play around with. (S)He’ll likely want to deliberate so make sure they have the information at hand to be able to do so.
Remember, Precurio offers a free 30 day free trial for all its customers. This is completely free with no obligation. You can setup on your server, customize, design and even share login details with other employees in your company. We also offer a free demo that we can schedule according to your need. So if you want us right there in the meeting with you to answer any difficult questions, we can be there (virtually at least).