At a Business of Security event this summer, the Chief Security Officer from a global pharmaceutical company shared his challenges of building business cases for approval by his executive leadership. The audience consisted of information security professionals, not as senior as the CSO, who were interested in learning how to better justify the investments they want to make.
The CSO made a great point: the business case that he was required to build is a much different case then the audience members should attempt to build. His was much more sophisticated in design, thoroughness and financial analysis than is practical, or even needed, for investment decisions that don't go before a very senior executive team.
As a provider of technology solutions, have you evaluated what type of business case your company should be building with customers?
Value selling has matured in the past 20 years and there is now a variety of financial and business case tools available for providers and buyers. Unfortunately, this exacerbates the old problem of overreaching. Believing that greater sophistication is always better, many selling organizations try to utilize methods and tools that are too sophisticated to be practical for their sales team. And beyond what customers are comfortable with or expect.
Here are some tips to help you Sharpen Your Edge:
- More sophistication is not necessarily better. Find the right balance.
- Understand the decision making level where your solutions get evaluated and build capabilities that align to that audience.
- At the most senior levels, customers will only use their business case process and tools. Only selected content from vendor created business cases will be used. So work to support that effort - don't try to deliver a case as sophisticated as theirs.
For the vast majority of you, a basic business case that contains the essential elements is excellent and will be embraced by the customer. Such a business case
- Shows a clear understanding of the customer’s specific business situation.
- Forecasts the potential value created.
- Includes sound logic for the benefits created.
- Documents credible assumptions.
- Includes tangible as well as intangible benefits.
- Explains how to mitigate potential risks.
- Uses basic financial analysis and ROI.
- Is directionally correct and builds confidence that there is real value opportunity if the customer invests in the solution.
By clearly understanding what your customers want and need, you will find the balance to develop effective and impressive business case capabilities in your sales team.
For more insights about this download What's the Right Type of Business Case for Your Team.
Don't lose your Edge - Good luck and good selling!