By Amy Saulino
30th March 2016

I speak to candidates in the contract market day in and day out, and one common occurring theme I have found is that many of these candidates struggle to get senior stakeholders on-board regarding proposals or suggestions that they may have about the data once in a role.

One candidate I spoke to recently told me that the company he works for doesn’t ‘buy in to data and it isn’t their first priority’. He continued to say that his biggest challenge was actually ‘getting the time with the stakeholders to explain how data can benefit the company and how in the long run this turns into better customer interaction and profit’. I’m sure this is a problem that many IT and data professionals face so how do you gain stakeholder buy in?

Gain trust

One thing that seems clear is the level of communication and trust between each party needs improving. Depending on the size of your organisation you may have to speak to multiple stakeholders, meaning these isn’t going to be one clear answer – different departments and directors will look at your idea with different views. The best way to combat this is to speak to them individually and tailor your speech or presentation to show the benefits to each person – for example the MD might be more interested in how it will benefit the business as a whole, whereas the finance director or budget holder might be more interested in how this will bring extra profit to the company and how much money they will have to invest.

Communicate

This communication and trust goes both ways, you will have to listen to the stakeholders and address any issues or questions they may have regarding the project. If the stakeholders do buy in with your idea they will be expecting results from you in order to maintain the level of trust. You should be open and communicate throughout the process, highlighting any problems early on and shouting about any and all of the wins you achieve.

I’m sure many of you have your own challenges and solutions on how to get senior stakeholders on board and these are just a few of my own suggestions. Although challenges do present themselves, there is always a way around it and all you can do is try to have your voice heard.

And one final thought from a candidate…

“The best way to combat this is get a quick win and gain their trust, develop the relationship from there. The only problem with this is that they expect quick turn around on everything data related.”

Gaining stakeholder buy-in

What is your biggest challenge when gaining buy in from stakeholders? How do you combat these issues? Please comment below I would love to hear your thoughts.

This blog post was originally posted on LinkedIn. To view the original article click here.

Comments

"Great piece Amy Saulino. I might add that one senior data manager that I know, when asked about his approach when starting a new role, was to keep it informal. Get to know everyone. Buy them all a coffee." - Mark Dexter

"This resonates with me and draws parallels with our Proof of Value program where we aim to gain stakeholder buy in within 2 weeks using our agile approach to data management to demonstrate the potential value of a project." - Richard Branch

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