‘We should be doing that’
Often, when working in a new business role, you’ll see or hear something that inspires you, or makes you think ‘we should be doing that!’. I’ve been there before, a number of times – the way you feel when formulating plans, aiming to change the way you do business, well it’s all quite exciting.
In a larger organisation, such as a financial institution or large professional services firm, getting the buy-in of key decision makers internally… well, that’s where the excitement often fades away and is replaced by disappointment.
There’s a number of reasons why the case for your idea fails at the first hurdle – I’m going to address 5 of the key objections you might face and give some suggestions as to how you can overcome them.
I want you to turn that great idea into reality!
Know what you’re trying to achieve
If your only answers to this question sound something like ‘because X company is doing it’, or ‘it’s a really modern approach, we’ll get left behind otherwise’, your idea will get shot down in an instant. It’s always good to give some context for your plans, but the context can’t be the argument itself.
Make sure you know what you want to achieve – e.g. generating leads, increasing website traffic, etc – and be sure you understand how your idea will result in achieving it.
Knowing how you’ll monitor this success is key as well. Will you be before/after testing to see an increase in one parameter? Can you set up a dedicated phone line to see what the response is?
Having this clear in your mind from the start will help shape your case later on – if you don’t know what your goals are from the off, don’t expect senior staff to thread the needle for you.
Research, research, research
Having determined your own idea of success, it’s now time to back it up and qualify it.
For this you’ll need to do your homework and ensure you have solid figures which support your thinking. If, for example, you’re looking to generate more leads, you need to find other examples where (relevant) results are being seen.
For example – “video content is seen as the most effective type of content marketing within the financial services sector.”
A bold statement, yes.
One I can back up with some credibility? Also yes.
In Dianomi’s research paper, ‘Financial Services Content Marketing – The State of Play’, 500 senior marketing executives from the finance sector were surveyed on their thoughts about content marketing. 43% of these agreed that video was the most effective type of content (the highest figure overall, with ‘articles on website’ coming a close second at 40%) and so this lends some credibility to an otherwise broad and bold claim.
A credible idea is one that has legs and so will be more likely to gain the attention of those who need to support it.
Qualify and quantify
Now you have a clear idea of what you want to gain and the reasons you believe your plan will enable you to achieve your goals, you need to start thinking about the numbers.
The traditional ROI calculation goes something like this:
(Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment
(Return – Investment) / Investment
If your ratio (or ROI) is anything close to 1:1, or even 2:1, you can discard it – the man hours that will go into the project will make it a poor investment of both time and money.
If, however, you can show (credibly, remember – false hope doesn’t fly!) that there is a strong case for returns of something like 5:1 or greater… well, that’s pretty compelling and should get senior staff pretty excited.
They want to try new things too, trust me, they’re just bound by the bottom line. Show that you’ve thought it through, with the business in mind at all times, and they’ll be more open to supporting you.
Every business faces challenges – it’s their ability to overcome them that makes them a success. The same applies here and so you need to balance your excitement with an analysis of the challenges you’ll have to overcome.
Be prepared for the initial negativity that you might face, as this negativity will most likely stem from the challenges your senior staff have had to overcome in the past. No doubt they’ll have sunk some cash into their own initiatives at some point, with varied successes, so they need to be sure you’ve thought about how hard it’s going to be.
Imagine, however, that for every hard question they fling at you, you have an excellent, considered answer. For every obstacle they envision, you have a way to conquer it. For every story of how they might have failed in the past, you can provide a solution as to how it will be different this time.
If you come prepared with well thought-out, considered analysis of challenges, they’ll at least respect you enough to let you get into the nitty gritty of your plan – by this point their initial reservations will be appeased, and so you can continue onto making your case for how you’ll be bringing in X amount more new business, helping the business grow and succeed.
Help is at hand
I hope that these tips have given some food for thought and will help you sell ideas into your board.
At Spectrecom Films, we work together with our clients to ensure they are able to display a clear focus on ROI.
Thanks for reading – please share and comment if you feel it’s of use!
About the author
Client Services Director
Christiaan is our client services director, who has been in the industry for over 10 years, starting out as a filmmaker. He’s been at Spectrecom since day one so his company and business knowledge is unmatched.