5 tips to sell your great idea to your business

Estimated read time 6 min read

5 tips to sell your great idea to your business

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Do you have a revolutionary idea for your company but, to realize it, you need the support of a superior and you don’t know how to sell this idea to the rest of your company? Here are the tips from five executives to complete your project successfully.

1. Use guerrilla tactics

Lily Haake, head of technology and digital executive search at recruiter Harvey Nash, regularly exchanges with some of the brightest and most competent professionals in the sector. These interviews allowed him to learn creative methods to sell ideas.

“When I do skills interviews, I ask these kinds of questions: tell me about a time when you got an investment for an initiative of some kind. »

“I really like the answers that describe guerrilla tactics,” she says, before explaining what these tactics look like, and how influencers get people to side with them: “Without being manipulative, they are very thoughtful and take into account the people they are addressing. They launch a small demonstration of their concept with a leader, to demonstrate a certain value, then they get him to influence another leader. This stealthy approach makes it possible to exert influence on many levels. »

“Before we even realize it,” she continues, “we get a critical mass of people who are invested in the project”.

“The idea is then submitted to the board of directors and the business case is approved,” she adds. “It’s very clever and it’s based on phenomenal skills in terms of human relations and influence, without ever falling into manipulation. This is intelligent influence. »

2. Take care of your stakeholders

According to Cathrine Levandowski, global head of operations at Quintessentially, to sell a good idea to your company, you need to have good stakeholder management. “It’s not just about getting the support of a stakeholder,” she explains. “I think it is very important to have champions within the company, who support you and who feel that they are part of the project. »

To illustrate her point, the Director of Operations gives us an example from her own company. In March 2022, Quintessentially set up Salesforce Marketing Cloud to better control its customer data. If Cathrine Levandowski supervised the project, she affirms that its success results from the support of the marketing and customer service teams. His team spent time talking with professionals from across the organization to inform them of the benefits of the new technology.

“They all felt that we were choosing a solution that could help them solve their problems,” she says. “Today, we have very competent professionals in all departments, who perfectly understand the interest of the Salesforce platform for the company. »

She explains that Quintessentially employees have access to reports and dashboards that improve their work and help them provide timely services to the company’s customers. “That’s what matters most: not only understanding the concept of technology and what it means for the entire company, but also how it benefits them. »

3. Create a partnership

Jarrod Phipps, CIO at automotive specialist Holman, believes that the key to success is to make others understand that there is a problem, and to establish the connection on their terms.

“I think we have to start by making the other person recognize that there is a problem,” he explains. “Then you no longer need to sell him something, you offer him a solution. In this case, how could the other person refuse it? »

According to the CIO, when you succeed in your presentation, you don’t need to sell your idea, because the need for a workable solution has already been identified and accepted. “When I think back to the times when I had a significant impact in the past, the problem was always identified before I started working with the person in question to provide a solution,” he recalls.

“So we have to start with the problem, either by illuminating it, or by partnering with someone else who identifies a problem and seeks a solution. It is then no longer a question of a sale, but of a collaboration. »

4. Establish a strategic connection

For Véronique van Houwelingen, head of conversational technology at Air France-KLM, it is easier to get support for a new idea by connecting with the people in charge of purchasing the organization’s products and services.

“From the customer’s point of view, just look at the data: what do you have? Then try to develop a business case based on this data,” she advises.

The manager also advises associating an idea with one of the strategic objectives of the company. “It makes sense to create folders related to one of the main pillars of the company, otherwise they are unlikely to attract attention,” she explains.

“So focus on the right topics. If the topic lends itself to it, go ahead and put forward the right arguments. »

5. Demonstrate your idea

Rolf Vanden Eynde, director of the center of excellence for infrastructure engineering at the retailer Ahold Delhaize, believes that the sale of a good idea is based on the ability to transmit his expert knowledge.

“For example, a marketing expert is not expected to know that a certain functionality is available in your IT infrastructure. So it’s up to a computer scientist like me to explain what exists and say: “Look, this feature is available, let’s see what it is”. »

He continues by giving an example from his own experience. He recently worked with Cisco to deploy OpenRoaming Wi-Fi technology, which allows customers to access the internet in stores without having to rely on faulty 4G connections. “I saw the functionality and the potential of this technology,” he says. “After that, it’s lobbying. We have to see who is interested and who could be. But the moment when you really convince people is when you are able to show them something. »

The director explains that it was at that moment that he called on Cisco and that he conducted a proof-of-concept test. This test showed how OpenRoaming technology could not only provide internet access, but also help the retailer develop new data-driven services. “To test OpenRoaming, Cisco offers a special application, independent of everything. It is not necessary to integrate it into anything. There is just a small application to download,” he specifies. “People can then get an overview of what will happen if you integrate the technology into your loyalty application and how everything reacts. This kind of demonstration obviously helps to convince people. »

Source: ZDNet.com

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