To make a convincing software business case, illustrate the business challenge, its impact, and how software will solve it.
Getting a group of people to agree on a place for lunch can be difficult. Now, imagine getting your bosses, coworkers, and employees on board for brand new software that impacts the entire company.
This remains a major challenge for any business introducing new technology. According to our recent survey of software buyers, the top three barriers for investing in new software include budgeting, return on investment concerns, and lack of satisfaction with options.
With a bit of preparation, you can offer enough details to squash these hesitations, get buy-in, and start using modern software that helps solve your biggest challenges. Here are three tips to make a strong software business case.
1. Develop a concise pitch for new software
An elevator pitch is a quickly delivered description of a concept, including all the highlights that will entice a listener to follow up for more information. As a first step to getting software buy-in, craft a clear, concise elevator pitch that encapsulates a few key points:
- The most critical business pain point the new software can address. Clearly describe the challenge so everyone understands what is at stake.
- How software addresses the problem. Quickly describe how a CRM, for example, helps tackle the problem of inaccurate data by automating data entry. Quantify this improvement when possible.
- Why the product(s) you selected is the best option. Give quick examples of positive reviews, how it works with your current software, and any notes on the ease of implementation, user experience, support and training, or other details relevant to your needs.
The more time you need to explain the benefit of something, the less compelling the pitch. Craft a clear statement that explains the challenge, the goal, and the solution in two sentences or less. This makes it easier to recruit supporters, even when chatting in the office breakroom.
2. Enlist supporters with real pain points
Armed with your pitch, you can more easily recruit two to three supporters who can strengthen your business case with real-world examples. You should already know which challenge your proposed software can tackle, so find a few employees who experience that challenge in order to illustrate the severity of the problem.
Ask them to participate in your presentation so they can briefly explain the issue they face and the consequences if nothing is fixed. This shows your stakeholders exactly why action is needed soon.
If your current challenge is dealing with old technology, direct users are excellent candidates. But if your problem is more of a process challenge, find employees who perform that task to understand the most frustrating aspects.
Here are some other considerations for gathering supporters:
- Don’t forget to recruit managers whose teams experience the challenge. They’ll have a different perspective to share.
- If you have a particularly charismatic supporter, allow them to explain problems in their own voice. Emotional pleas can be especially powerful.
- Variety is valuable, but try to bucket employee issues into a single theme, such as “loss of productivity” or “missing lucrative business opportunities.”
3. Explain why your software choice is the best option
Let’s say you’ve determined that a CRM can help solve the problem of inaccurate customer data by automating much of the entry process. You may hear feedback such as, “Sure, most CRMs can streamline the task of entering customer information, but why did you pick Vendor X?”
To show why the software you chose is the best option, you’ll need to demonstrate how you vetted all of the potential options. With more than 600 CRM products on the market, not just any ol’ software will do.
Capterra can help you compare functionally similar software to find the best options based on price and rating
For most software markets, the distinction is in the details. Consider the less tangible aspects of the software that may have a big impact on your challenge, such as:
- A clean user interface that makes the software visually pleasant
- Good customer service for quick solutions to problems
- Implementation assistance to easily migrate data
- Affordable training options to get users up-to-speed
These smaller aspects matter—a simpler system that employees actually use correctly is more valuable than the feature-packed product that’s a pain to use.
Solving the challenge is the key to a strong business case
There are dozens of details to consider for a software investment, but to get buy-in from managers and employees, the core message of “X product solves Y challenge because it can do Z” is paramount.
You can also use this PowerPoint template to set up your presentation.
2019 Small Business Software Buying Trends Survey Methodology
Results presented are based on a Gartner study to understand software buying behaviors of small and midsize business owners in the past twelve months.
The primary research was conducted online between September and October 2019 among 488 respondents in the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, and Spain.
Companies were screened for number of employees and revenue in fiscal year 2018 to arrive at small and midsize businesses. They were also required to have purchased at least one software system for $5,000 or more in the immediate past twelve months.
Respondents were required to be at least office managers, influencing software purchase decisions in their organizations.
The study was developed collaboratively by Gartner analysts and the primary research team that follows Digital Markets.
Disclaimer: Results do not represent “global” findings or the market as a whole but reflect sentiment of the respondents and companies surveyed.
NOTE: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.