Note: this article also appears on Windows IT Pro.
Last time, we talked about a few areas where an admin can bring a lot of value to the table such as revenue, business intelligence, and more. It’s easy to overlook a lot of these areas, but they’re important to think about as you determine exactly what you’ll say to get the resources you need, whether it’s headcount, budget, or approval on new hardware or software purchases. Once you’ve thought about where you provide value, it’s time to put together a pitch.
Doing some research
Research is a huge part of getting what you’re after. Decision makers often want proof that what you want will have good ROI, or they won’t want to spend money on anything. Here are some areas to think about as you’re preparing.
- What is the cost?
- Is this a one-time or ongoing cost?
- Have you worked with vendors to find the lowest prices?
- Have you found the least expensive way to make this work?
- What are the major benefits of this change and how will it affect things like
- Business intelligence,
- And productivity?
Showing is better than telling. If you have concrete examples of how other organizations have implemented something similar to what you want to do, you’ll be able to craft a more powerful argument.
Getting more than you need
You may find that getting resources is a compromise between what you want and what your company will pay for. Keep this in mind because there are things that might be great to have, and things you absolutely need to get the job done. Be prepared to compromise by asking for more than you need. For instance, maybe you just need extra help from a part-time employee, but could absolutely find enough for a full-time employee to do. Ask for the full-timer and if you’re forced to compromise, you still might get someone part-time. The same works for hardware or software. Maybe there’s a pricier solution that can do more, but a lesser one that still gets the job done. It can’t hurt to ask for the nicer one.
You may know what you need and why, but those around you may not see how that will benefit them. If you can talk to fellow employees (inside your IT department or out) and share with them what your goals are, you might get them on board. Good ideas generate buzz and employees with a positive opinion of what you’re hoping to do are valuable assets. If decision makers ask others what they think of your ideas, they’ll be ready to support them if you’ve shared with them ahead of time.
If you want to be taken seriously, get serious. A lot of people make the mistake of casually asking decision makers for something without presenting anything meaningful. If what you want is important enough, it’s worth a proper presentation, whether it’s a PowerPoint, or just a talk with a handout that summarizes the benefits. Schedule time with decision-makers and show them that you’re not simply asking for money—you’re giving them an opportunity to invest in technology that will give them a competitive edge, create more productive employees, and so on.
For some specific tips on crafting a compelling PowerPoint, this deck on Slideshare is great.
Like it or not, there are times when you need to be a salesperson to get people to buy into your ideas. Remember that while you’re essential trying to sell your idea, you’re ultimately trying to improve your company’s technology. The more work you put into helping them see how your idea is valuable, the more likely you’ll be to get what you’re after. Take your time, do your research, and knock their socks off.