Convince the boss: your company needs to go digital now.
Businesses don’t prosper unless employees in the tactical and operational levels identify and promote the need for operational changes.
1. Get buy in from the company.
Mid-Senior Managers, Analysts and other employees are the ones in between the strategic objectives and the real routine of the organization. These are the positions that are used to deal with past mistakes and detect early red flags on the execution of projects. Still, it’s not easy for any of them to convince the boss about the need of change.
They are the ones who put together a sense of reality, while not letting go of KPI’s. Plus, they still need to build the bridge that connects the high administration and the operational level. That is usually done either talking directly with customers, vendors and team mates, or bringing a perspective from the outside.
2. Why go digital? What does that even mean?
- Efficiency v.s Tech overload
A new tech-buying or tech-development might sound trivial, until the second you explain how it supports the strategy overall goals. But going digital doesn’t mean hiring every new tool either. Companies using multiple event software solutions have 2x more problems demonstrating event ROI than companies with one integrated event software. Being a critical analyser and raising up the necessary tools to connect your business needs and your IT sector is essential.
- Fear v.s Adaptation
Fear is completely understandable. People are afraid of losing their positions. But going digital also doesn’t mean being a tech geek. It’s much more a matter of adaptation. There’s a bunch of professionals that are already making good use of AI and still didn’t realize. When digital marketing first showed up, for instance, marketeers thought their job was about to be gone. And nowadays, what we see is companies setting up dedicated digital marketing teams with several positions, like email marketing analysts, copywriters, performance and ads coordinators, etc.
- Hurry v.s Efficiency;
According to McKinsey, one of the largest consulting firms in the world, going digital means: unlocking growth now. How companies might interpret or act on that definition will vary, but having a clear understanding of what digital means allows business leaders to develop a shared vision of how it can be used to capture value.
3. The costs of not adhering to the digital transformation.
Capgemini recent research states that 87% of companies believe that digital transformation is a competitive advantage. 33% believe it’s a matter of survival.
You remember Blockbuster? And what about the massive book-shops? Yeah, they were huge players a decade ago, but they are gone.
Fighting against technology or ignoring it won’t take any company further. People buy online now. Therefore, their shopping experiences and behaviors are online too. The learning curve is steep, but failing to adapt to it is like ignoring a white elephant in the middle of your living room.
4. If you’re the Mid-Senior Manager or are sitting in a junior position and want to convince the boss.
Benchmark and bring numbers. It could be either comparing to your own history, or to a competitor. Strategist kings, like Michale Porter, say that strategy only exists if compared to the competition.
Show your capabilities of seeing things with a systematic and integrated vision. Decision making is all about building up competitive advantages. When trying to influence someone on higher position, make it clear that you know what you are talking about and you’re not just bringing one more idea because of the pressure to speak up.
Going digital is not a matter or “Why should I do it?” anymore. It’s far too more a decision based on “When will I do it?”. Things have a moment and, if you’re able to raise up the right point at the right circumstance, chances are this is gonna be a turning point in your career.
In case you’re in the Senior Manager or C-level that needs to be convinced…
- Listen. Being democratic when brainstorming doesn’t mean you need to execute all of those ideas later. Communicate it to the team and everybody will be on the same page from the very beginning.
- Identify the right problems. Your team has the capacity to bring great execution plans if you trust them with a clear direction.
- Decide what your meetings are about. Is it a discussion session or a presentation? Are you just showing results or identifying the root cause of a complex problem? Again, you are the one providing the direction.
- Invite the most involved team members to lead your digital transformation journey. Such projects are valuable in their CV’s and they most likely will carry the mark of your brand for the rest of their careers.
- Your Mid-Managers like working for your business and identify theirselves with it. However, they’re still human beings and have expectations, like recognition. If you can’t show a minimum of appreciation for their interest in fixing your complex problems, it’s time to delegate your management functions to someone else.
5. To convince the boss, frame only one problem at a time, tailor the pitch and manage emotions.
1 . Business cases
This is the first thing to do. It should be focused on the financial gains, i.e. how to generate more money or spend less. It can be about driving efficiency within the organisation too. Show how digital adds value.
2. Talk in a common language that doesn’t make him/her uncomfortable
It’s not a matter of showing how good you are. It might sound like you’re trying to make yourself sound superior and your boss just ended up in his position without any merits. That might even be the case, but that’s not the situation to discuss it. Now, you’re only and one objective is to connect. For that, do rapport as marketer: speak simple and straight to the point.
3. Benchmark with best practices and data
This follows on from the analytics data. How other companies reduced bounce rates? How competitors gained more leads and converted them into sales? You might need to make some contextual analogies. That’s the best way to blend science and storytelling.
4. Invert the roles
Insecure leaders are centralizers. They tend to think they need to be responsible for bringing every solution. If that’s the case of your upper manager, you’re gonna have to play the game, or your idea might sound like a threat to their position. Highlight concrete facts that eradicate any space for personal opinions and let them make their own conclusions. A leader that feels backed up by his team members will likely back them up too.
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