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How to Sell New HR Technology to the C-Suite

What does it take to get the C-suite on board with an investment in new HR software? No doubt, the CEO, CIO, and CFO all favor technologies that increase productivity and reduce costs. However, they must also consider competing priorities, critical business challenges, budgets, the available bandwidth for an implementation, employee sentiment, and how much improvement a new software provides. 

As an HR professional, you need to sort through the features and benefits of new technology to identify what your C-suite really cares about.  

Here are some tips to secure buy-in from key decision makers across the C-suite to help you get the technology you need.
 

Know your audience

Before you can get buy-in, identify who will act as a decision maker in the purchasing process. For HR software, this is commonly the CEO, CIO, and CFO or someone from their office acting on their behalf. These decision makers will make up your buying committee – the people who will give the green light for your request. So, how do you get them on board?  

First, ask them to get involved. They don’t have to commit to the project up front, but if you can get their feedback early in the process, they may feel more invested in its success. 

Second, think long term. Selling tech internally doesn’t happen overnight. It’s usually a significant investment of resources, and C-suite leaders need time to measure the risks and rewards. 

Third, although you may be excited about sharing the specifics of the software, the C-suite doesn’t need to know every detail. They do need to understand how this software can help the organization make money, avoid risk, or provide a long-term strategic or competitive advantage.
 

Breaking down the C-suite WIIFM

Once you’ve identified your buying committee, the next step is to understand what matters to them– the what’s in it for me (WIIFM). Salespeople know that customers may not care about all of a product’s features. Instead, customers want to see how the product benefits them – how it solves their specific needs. 

This same approach can help you pitch technology to the C-suite. Find out what each decision-maker cares about to craft your discussion on how this software can address their pain points. 

Let’s look at what’s top of mind for most C-level executives: 

The CEO

What keeps your chief executive officer up at night? The exact answer will be specific to your organization’s circumstances, but most leaders have similar concerns.  

According to The Conference Board (a global, nonprofit research group) U.S. CEOs listed labor shortages as their top external challenge in 2022. In the iCIMS 2022 Workforce Report, 92% of C-level business leaders said their organization wouldn’t be able to meet goals without the right talent.  

To attract candidates with the skills needed to support business objectives, CEOs may want to create a candidate experience that makes it as easy to apply to a job as it is to buy from Amazon.  

When you speed up the recruiting process, you can hire the right talent faster and lose fewer candidates due to a slow tracking and hiring system.  

Additionally, CEOs can use the same philosophy to improve retention by giving employees a self-service marketplace to track their skills, match with open roles, and develop their career path. 

What kind of technology helps? Candidate relationship management software helps your company find potential employees and helps those potential employees locate you. The bigger the applicant pool, the more likely you’ll find the right skills match. Data analytics and applicant tracking systems (ATS) also help recruiters identify skill and talent gaps to get the right person on board faster.  

For talent retention, an internal talent marketplace can improve mobility so that the talent you’ve worked so hard to attract stays and remains engaged and productive.  

 

The CIO

The chief information officer manages information technology and strategy throughout the company. CIOs don’t have to be sold on the benefits of technology – they’re already all in. A recent CIO.com article states that the biggest concerns for chief information officers this year are improving cybersecurity skills, enhancing digital dexterity within the IT department, advancing automation, and updating talent recruitment throughout the company.  

CIOs need to ensure that any new HR technology is a worthwhile investment by making employees’ lives easier, not more difficult. Also, since many companies use a variety of platforms depending on department or function, CIOs wants to make sure all of them work together. Ultimately, CIOs want to make sure any new HR technology is a smart investment for the business as a whole. 

The CIO can become your best advisor or ally. As you consider software solutions, involve the CIO early as they may have advice for evaluating tech vendors or requirements for any new technology. They may need to become partners for managing or maintaining the technology once it’s implemented, so getting them on board early is a bonus. 

CIOs look for technology that offers secure, agile, and compliant platforms. They understand that the future is uncertain and want technology that can grow with evolving needs. Cloud-based software can reduce the need for internal infrastructure, which can save money by requiring less tech and fewer on-site staff to maintain the infrastructure.
 

The CFO

As the person responsible for protecting the company’s vital assets, the chief financial officer is willing to spend money when they feel confident that the investment will pay off – and when that is likely to happen.  

To interest your CFO in investing in new HR technology, help them understand the overall commitment. Outline the total cost of ownership and compare the recommended technology with the competition in terms of costs for licensing, customization and integration, data migration, maintenance, and staff training. Be prepared to detail the return on investment with quantitative and qualitative results.  

Explain to your CFO how the organization can save money by consolidating existing costly technologies or how it can improve ROI through more efficient recruiting practices. Look at how the technology removes hidden costs, bottlenecks, and duplicate work. Whenever possible, break down these benefits into metrics that tie into the bottom line. For example, if a technology reduces a work process by 50 percent, consider how many people do the work process, how often, and how much time and salary are spent on it to develop a reasonable cost savings estimate.
 

The right HR technology can move your organization forward

Once you collect all the information on what matters most to your buying committee and know what technology you want to recommend, align your messaging to show how the technology addresses your C-suite’s pain points.  

As you do, draw on your shared goals of creating organizational success by improving agility, accuracy, efficiency, and engagement, and bring details of how the new technology can help achieve this goal. Be specific about how you’ll measure the technology’s short- and long-term improvements.  

In the last few years, leaders in every function have developed a renewed appreciation for employees. Along with that, organizations have increasingly looked to you to provide consultation and direction. Because of that you are in an ideal position to recommend investments in HR technology that can help move your organization forward. 

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