Executives don’t want to set aside money in their budgets unless they know how the investment will benefit their business. That often puts pressure on data scientists to explain why companies should spend money on software like Xplenty.
Even if your managers don’t have backgrounds in technology, you can provide a persuasive argument that convinces them to add money to your data strategy’s budget. Here are seven actionable tips to pitch your data strategy to your board or executive team:
1. Create Reports That Show the Usefulness of Data Analysis
Not all business leaders understand the usefulness of data analysis. You can prime your audience to accept your budget by giving them reports showing how analytics benefit companies.
If you want to provide general information, provide a summary that discusses benefits like using data to:
- Anticipate equipment failure.
- Identify moments when potential customers leave marketing funnels.
- Retarget existing customers to increase sales.
- Eliminate redundancies within your business processes.
- Connect clients with services that will appeal to them.
- Target niche markets.
- Reprice products to make them more competitive on ecommerce platforms.
If you have enough time to take a deeper dive into how companies use data analytics, you can use data visualization tools to effectively communicate your ideas.As a data professional, you can probably look at a spreadsheet and understand what the numbers mean. Your CEO doesn’t necessarily have that skill. That’s why your pitch needs to include data visualization that communicates your ideas in a clear, straightforward way.
You can generate ideas by reading articles like 6 Data Analytics Success Stories: An Inside Look. From this point, you can choose to focus on one of the companies mentioned in the article or start doing independent research for an original report.
2. Highlight Ways Other Companies Use Data Science
Data science has revolutionized business intelligence. Today, decision-makers don’t need to rely on gut instincts. Instead, they can make informed decisions based on data. Numerous case studies show the business benefits of data science. Make sure your C-suite leaders have copies of influential case studies. That way, they will understand the role of data better before you present your budget proposal.
If you want something more a case study specific to your industry, search the internet for articles that you think will persuade your managers.
Some good places to start include:
- How I Grew Mint.com from Zero 1 Million Users.
- How We Scaled Data Science to all Sides of Airbnb Over 5 Years of Hypergrowth
- Feedvisor uses Xplenty to generate alerts, integrate data and apps used by clients, and analyze data from Salesforce.
Many of today’s businesses rely on data science to make informed decisions, streamline their processes, and reach other goals. The person in charge of setting your budget may not know how other companies use data science. Give them some examples so they understand how similar businesses benefit from data.
Ideally, you can tell your managers about companies than work in your industry. You can learn about some industries that use Xplenty by visiting the Customers page.
When your manager sees the ways that other businesses use data science to become more competitive, he or she is likely to green-light your plan.
3. Compare the Results of Several Data Strategies
Business leaders often like to see comparisons before they make decisions. Prepare for this by running simulations with competing data strategies.
For example, you might know that it makes sense to store user data in a central location that lets you spot customer trends quickly and develop long-term conversion strategies. If your company currently stores data in different places (maybe some gets kept on your website while other data points are stored in your Amazon account), you can show that you get better results by migrating all of the data through Xplenty to a data lake or data warehouse. When the decision-makers see that one strategy performs better than the others, they will get on board.
4. Show How Other Companies Use the Strategy to Increase Revenues
Any business can use data to improve its performance. Prove that position by showing your board or executive team how similar companies increase revenues with the data strategy you prefer.
Before pitching, learn more about how companies benefit from adopting strong enterprise software. Examples on the page include:
- Adpeak, an ad tech company with about 10 employees that uses Xplenty to process and prepare data for analytics without getting into the weeds of coding.
- Creative Anvil, a small digital marketing agency with less than 50 employees that uses Xplenty to move all of their clients' data sources into a single location.
- Fiverr, an online marketplace that employs about 400 people and connects to thousands of freelancers all over the world. Fiverr uses Xplenty for business intelligence data integration that lets their analysts run complex tasks with a few clicks instead of outsourcing projects to expensive firms.
- Statiq, an internet company that needs to process 2 terabytes of data per day. Xplenty gives Statiq an affordable solution that increased their data processing from 10 terabytes every 2 months to 2 terabytes per day.
By providing examples of how other businesses use data science, you give executives a nudge to adopt your strategy.
5. Give Decision-Makers Information About Their ROI
This is the simplest, but hardest tip to execute. Executives know that good business decisions are mostly about ROI. Anticipate this need by showing them how much it will cost to implement your data strategy and how much money you expect the company to earn or save.
As long as you have evidence that the investment will improve the company by streamlining operations, reducing costs, or improving revenues, then there’s a good chance that executives will want to get started as soon as possible.
6. Use Direct Language and Avoid Data Jargon
Data professionals know what terms like “cluster computing,” “data mining,” and “stream processing” mean. You can use that language when you talk to colleagues. When you get to the board room, though, you have to use direct language and avoid data jargon.
If you start talking about why you want to use a data lake instead of a data warehouse, everyone in the room will tune out. One person will start thinking about how he wants to visit his lake house. Another person will begin thinking about how she needs to solve a staffing problem within the warehouse.
As you create your presentation, look for terms that executives might not understand. If you’re uncertain, take the safe route by replacing the term with a word everyone knows.
You don’t have to get specific about the small differences between data strategies. Your pitch needs to concentrate on the big picture. You can focus on the details when you sit down to finalize the strategy with your data team.
7. Improve Your Presentation Skills
You may have the best idea that any data specialists ever developed. It won’t matter unless you can present the concept to your board or executive team in a way that holds their attention and convinces them to authorize your approach. That means you need to excel at presenting. Data analysts need several non-technical skills to succeed in their careers. Learning to give persuasive presentations stands out as one of the most important soft skills.
As a data professional, you may feel more comfortable working with complicated data sets than talking to a group of people. That’s okay. Public speaking is a skill that you can learn. Some tips for improving your presentation skills include:
- Writing your speech and creating graphics several days before your meeting.
- Recording yourself giving the presentation so you can see when you look uncertain or nervous.
- Learning more about your audience so you can tailor the presentation to their interests. If the group loves a local sports team, for example, you can use a metaphor that involves a recent victory.
- Focusing on your message instead of getting distracting by details that the audience doesn’t understand.
- Wearing professional clothes that make you feel confident.
- Preparing notes, graphs, and research material several days before your scheduled presentation.
- Creating graphics that visually explain your research and reasoning.
- Giving the presentation to people who don’t have your technological background to see whether they understand your points.
You can also prepare for the day by:
- Try meditation, deep breathing, or getting exercise the morning of your presentation for a confidence boost.
- Having water on hand so you can speak comfortably.
- Watching experts who talk to large groups professionally.
If you feel overly anxious, then you may have a public speaking phobia. Public speaking is one of the most common phobias in the country, but excessive anxiety can make it impossible for you to present your ideas. In that case, talk to your doctor or reach out to a counselor that can teach you coping strategies.
You know how important a data strategy is to your company’s success. With improved presentation skills, you can convince decision-makers to follow the most effective approach to analytics.
Xplenty integrates with some of the most popular applications (ie. Amazon Redshift, Salesforce, MySQL, Google Analytics, Microsoft Azure) used by data engineers, analysts, marketers, and sales teams. Many applications, however, have limitations when it comes to data collection, formatting, and analysis.
As a data scientist, it’s your job to explain the importance of using Xplenty to unlock the hidden potential of popular business apps. If your company already pays to access applications, then you need to convince your C-suite to spend a little more money on a platform that will lead to greater business insights.
Data professionals know how to create effective strategies that give businesses the information they need to make informed decisions. Getting a company’s board or executive team to invest in your strategy, however, can take some convincing.
Use these seven approaches to improve your pitches and get business leaders to dedicate resources to the data strategy you believe in. To include the ETL (extract, transform, load) process into your data strategy, contact us. During the call, we will discuss your use case and requirements, then arrange next steps if we are a good fit for you!