The time has come to pitch to the C-suite with your hot new IT project. The project is raw brilliance, but your best ideas can be shot down if you try to sell them in the wrong way. In an article for CIO.com, David Cotgreave shares his five tips for a successful pitch:
- Nail the first 90 seconds.
- Pitch the business benefits first.
- Talk the same language.
- Be passionate and authentic.
- Stakeholder testimonials bring the business change you envisage to life.
Win the Audience Early
You do not need to measure out every precious second of presentation time, but you should have a pretty tight first 90 seconds planned. You want something dramatic and memorable to hook the crowd before their phone apps promise to take them somewhere more interesting. An effective way to accomplish this is with the second tip—pitching the business benefits first. Tell them about the money that will be saved, or the efficiencies that will be created, etc. Answer the “What’s in it for me question?” before they have a chance to even wonder. Save for later the technical parts of the project that you find exciting. In fact, maybe remove some of that from the presentation altogether if it is stuff a non-technical audience will not understand anyway.
Yet as Cotgreave notes, passion is contagious, and one would hope you are pretty passionate about this project if you are pitching it. Thus, make sure that passion is on full display. Communicate eye-to-eye with your audience and get them to feel what you feel.
Lastly, consider the value of stakeholder testimonials. Cotgreave shares a goofy real-life story about how a project to remedy slow-booting PCs was green-lit:
What swung it for the project wasn’t the data or the project [team’s] vision of a better future or the benefits of state of the art tech — it was an unrehearsed, off-the-cuff comment from a customer-facing member of staff who said that he couldn’t properly deal with any customer inquiry until fifteen minutes into his shift. You could see the CFO’s brains ticking over: 15 minutes … 5 days a week … 10 team members … twelve and half hours a week wasted waiting for PCs to boot up … across 52 weeks … he couldn’t sign off quick enough.
Testimonials do not necessarily need to “scare someone straight,” but it sure could help. You can view the original article here: http://www.cio.com/article/3118665/project-management/5-tips-to-successfully-pitch-your-it-project.html