Building a business case for debt collection software isn’t all about facts and figures. Even if you recognise the indisputable benefits of collections software, your decision-makers’ perspectives are likely to be very different.
Presentation, then, can be the difference between buy-in and bust. Here’s everything you need to know when building a business case for debt collections software for your executive team.
The key concern for your executive team is likely to be ROI. As board members, your decision-makers are unlikely to be using day-to-day systems, so details of functionality aren’t relevant to them.
Instead, they want to know why they should spend money on new software. How will doing so improve their bottom line?
Other objectives might include gaining a competitive edge, reducing costs and increasing growth across the business. To give yourself the best chance of addressing their concerns, find out what they are first.
Think about how many people speak to your CEO each day. They’ve seen it all, heard it all, and their patience is likely to be limited. If you want to get their attention, get straight to the point: be clear and concise.
Involve them in your pitch as early as possible by encouraging them to ask questions and express their concerns. Engaging in a conversation – rather than a formal presentation – will demonstrate that you’re listening to their insight. They’re leaders, after all; let them feel they’re taking the lead.
While you shouldn’t shy away from salient facts and figures, offering too much detail could result in confusion or disengagement for your listeners.
Think about what they really need to know. If you say the new software will improve efficiency, back up your claim. Do so without an excessive list of numbers and statistics. Instead, keep your pitch relevant and punchy. Always bring it back to ROI, and why the new software will benefit your business.
Much of the information you have about your new software is probably irrelevant to your executive team. Anything which doesn’t pertain to ROI, efficiency savings, productivity or the overall success of the company is likely to make their eyes glaze over.
Ask yourself: what do they need to know about how the software is installed or its functionality? Nothing, unless they ask about it specifically. Give them information which doesn’t interest them, and you run the risk of irritating and boring your listeners and – ultimately – damaging your case.
To understand how to pitch your case, you need to understand who you’re talking to. Your executive team’s perspective and priorities are not the same as yours.
What challenges is your company facing? What are your business’ primary objectives? How will investing in collections software solve or alleviate these problems?
By clearly positioning the proposed software as a solution to the company’s challenges, your pitch will be as focused as possible.
Wasted time is money down the drain, so show your listeners exactly how much money your business is currently losing due to inefficient systems. If 8 hours a week are lost due to manual data processing, what’s the monetary cost incurred? How much could your company save by investing in collections software?
Putting a figure on time wasted gives context and meaning. It also creates urgency. If you stick with the current system, how much money will be lost by the end of the year? Or, conversely, how much money could the company save in that time by investing in the software?
Although your CEO will be aware of the implied risks associated with manual systems, a reminder of what could go wrong may help your case.
Instead of lingering on the negative, focus on how collections software can mitigate these risks and better protect your business’ corporate reputation.
A big worry when pitching to executives is that they’ll ask you a question you won’t be able to answer. Limit the scope for this by preparing for probable outcomes.
Although your listeners’ big concerns are likely to be linked to revenue or profits, don’t assume that they won’t ask more intricate questions. They may seek to test how well you know the product. If they do ask something you don’t know, don’t panic. Steer clear of guessing the answer or making something up. Instead, admit you don’t know but – if it’s viable to do so – offer your opinion on the matter.
The key question on your listeners’ mind will be ROI. If they’re going to untie the purse strings, what will they get back and how long will it take to see that return? While you should clearly answer this concern, it’s critical that you present it in a way that also highlights why the company needs the new software.
Draw a direct comparison between the current system and the proposed software. What is the current system currently costing in wasted resources? How long do staff spend on average on the various day-to-day processes? As a comparison, book in a demo of our debt management software so you can see how long it takes with a software solution. It may be five minutes saved here and there, but multiply that over a year for 100 staff and the return soon becomes obvious.
If it seems like you’re a lone voice asking for a big change, your request is easier to dismiss. To strengthen your case and effectively highlight the need for change, find out what other staff members think about the current system. Using direct quotes from colleagues about the system and how it could be improved should make your listeners sit up and take notice.
When employees aren’t satisfied with day-to-day operations, this can also affect workplace happiness or morale. As such, don’t only refer to wasted time and money in your pitch; also mention the long-term implications of not changing your current systems for the business.
Actions speak louder than words. Show the software in action. By performing a demo of a day-to-day task on the current system and the collections software, your audience will see for themselves the disparity between the two.
To do this effectively, you must be confident in your use of the software.
Whatever and wherever you’re pitching, the principles behind a strong business case remain the same.
Always consider the objectives of the business as a whole, as well as the person you’re speaking to. Back up your case with quotes from staff members. Focus on benefits when discussing ROI, and put a figure on what the current situation is costing your business. The rest is down to your audience.
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