Would the Sharks invest in your CX strategy?

I admit it. I’m addicted to the television program, Shark Tank. I DVR new and repeat episodes and watch them when I can. I’m intrigued by the variety of entrepreneurs and what causes Sharks to decide to invest. I have concluded that those individuals who know their numbers; have a track record of success and have a passion for whatever it is they are seeking investment for seem to successfully entice the sharks to invest.

I also spend quite a bit of time talking to CX professionals who lament their ability to gain executive buy-in and investment for their CX initiatives. Some of my colleagues have shared the disappointment and frustration in asking for and being denied financial and human resources investment in executing the CX strategy within their organizations. There are numerous articles, webinars and conference sessions that talk about business value, CX ROI, etc. In fact, I frequently lecture about this very subject and the CXPA has some great resources on this topic as well. Here are some foundational elements to consider BEFORE making a presentation to a CEO, CFO or CMO requesting an investment in our CX program:

Consider the audience. The ‘C Suite’ is accustomed to seeing locked down numbers with enough detail to support the investment. Having your facts and figures in order, clearly presented and without errors or admissions is an effective first step towards securing an investment. We wouldn’t ask for millions of dollars for a new capital project without providing a detailed NPV, so why would we not do the same for a CX investment?

Align to the strategy. An investment needs to align to your CX strategy. New technology can be really enticing to purchase but unless it’s aligned to your overall strategy, it’s not going to be nearly as effective as it could be. And if your organization lacks that strategy, then what better time to propose one then when asking for an investment?

Declare and Defend. As CX professionals, we need to hold ourselves accountable for declaring what the investment will produce and then executing against that declaration. Are we going to retain customers? Improve Lifetime Value? Grow revenues? Increase quality? Whatever it is, we need to declare what the investment will do in terms of ROI and then defend our proposal.

Track and Report. Once we’ve secured the investment, we need to report regularly on our progress. Yes, it’s true that many different business strategies may impact customer retention as an example. Keep in mind if we’ve declared a specific outcome then tracking it is key to demonstrating our success at achieving that outcome. I advocate that even disputable outcomes are better than none.

Celebrate our success; fail fast. It’s important to return to the ‘C Suite’ and celebrate the success of our investment. And if it’s failed, then what did we learn and how can we do better next time. Let’s face it – not every business investment achieves the ROI that was proposed.

I contend that achieving investments in CX isn’t any more difficult than asking for a new piece of capital equipment or technology purchase – but it can be if we aren’t prepared with the tools we need to secure that investment. Just ask yourself, would Mr. Wonderful invest? If so, you’re probably better than halfway to success.

What are your experiences with CX investments?

Robert AzmanComment