Six Steps to Win Buy-In for Your Localization Budget
Need help with building effective business cases and presentations that lead to increased investment to drive global growth? CSA Research recently analyzed data from 20 global companies to determine what works and what does not when making the case in front of executives. Here are six actions you can take to improve the likelihood that your next investment proposal will be accepted.
- Show them the money and frame your request as a smart investment.By financing your proposal, what does your organization gain in return? Show executives the overall value. And whatever you do, don’t ask for “additional funding” or a “higher budget” to cover the cost. Similarly, strike “cost,” “spend,” “pay for,” and “fund” from your vocabulary and that of your team and manager. Replace them with “invest,” “investment,” and “financing.” Always present proposals as revenue-enablers, not as the cost of doing business.
- Give your initiative an evocative or memorable name.Doing so makes it easier for executives to remember what you say and to track the status of your proposal. You will own its success, thus increasing visibility for your team as a revenue-enabler. For example, “50% Global by 2025” is better than “a proposal to increase international market share.”
- Enlist finance to guide your path.Whom do executives trust? Their finance group, for one. These teams understand – perhaps better than anyone – what upper managers look for in investment proposals. They can assist in tying your plan directly to your organization’s mandate and KPIs so that you speak in language that aligns with upper management’s priorities. This helps you: 1) frame data to enable your proposal to stand out from others when competing for scarce resources; 2) develop more compelling arguments for investment; 3) access supporting information that may be crucial for making your case; and 4) learn about any upcoming initiatives at the executive level that may affect your pitch.
- Ensure that peers can meet their objectives.Support for your investment proposal at the strategic level comes from executives. However, execution requires buy-in from your peers. Make sure that your proposal spells out the investment required for colleagues to meet their international objectives so that you can meet yours. For example, sales may need to hire and train salespeople in India before releasing local languages, such as Bengali or Kannada. Ask for a globalization champion to be assigned to critical functions. For example, you will need product design assistance if your plan involves adaptation for local markets, or customer support input if your request includes a new multilingual chatbot
- Show the impact of a no vote. Explain what will happen if executives reject your plan.The best – but unlikely – case is that your competitors won’t take advantage of your lack of investment, and you’ll have another chance. But it is far more likely that your brand will experience negative effects that will be difficult to recover from in local markets. The competition may pull ahead by a large margin. You may forego substantial amounts of revenue. Support calls may lead to frustrated agents and dissatisfied customers who vent via social media in local languages that you may not be able to monitor. Emphasize – from the customer point of view – that it’s not a choice of whether to buy your product or not, but rather whether to purchase from you or from competitors that invest enough to resonate locally.
- Do a trial run of your presentation.If possible, make time prior to your presentation to obtain feedback from individuals who will be in the audience. Ask them to critique your narrative and how you’re expressing it. Seek out one of the blockers or an upper manager who appears to be undecided. Find out how to address their concerns before you stand up in front of everyone.
Having your investment proposal approved or rejected is purely a business decision. It has nothing to do with whether executives understand your team’s contribution or whether they care about international markets. Rather, they must decide if their commitment to funding global growth is better for the company in the long run than investing that same amount in other proposals under consideration. Prepare accordingly by enlisting the support of financial colleagues and doing practice runs to confirm how to make it as easy as possible for upper managers to say yes.
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