The Art of Persuasion: How Data People Can Champion for Advanced Analytical Tools

November 22, 2023

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If you're a data professional, you might, like many of your peers, find it increasingly challenging to secure budgets for advanced analytical and data tools. Undoubtedly, budget cuts are a significant hurdle. However, there seems to be an underlying issue as well: a mismatch in communication styles. Learn how to effectively address and overcome these challenges.

Why pitching advanced analytical tools is so challenging for data people

Professional skills

Data professionals, primarily focused on numbers and analysis, often don't prioritise developing presentation skills, a key competency more common in sales and marketing roles. This lack of emphasis on persuasive communication can be a significant hurdle when presenting the need for advanced analytical tools to decision-makers.

Communication style mismatch

The primary obstacle for data professionals isn't the complexity of the tools themselves, but the gap in communication styles between data-focused individuals and organisational decision-makers. Many data analysts are more comfortable with data manipulation than with persuasive storytelling, which is crucial for influencing leadership. Additionally, decision-makers may not always grasp the technical nuances or the strategic value of these tools, making the analyst’s task of convincing them even more daunting. This scenario creates a challenging dynamic for data analysts advocating for necessary technological advancements.

Increasing financial pressure

As the economy slows down in 2023, impacting sectors like retail, e-commerce, and B2B, the challenge of advocating for additional budgets has intensified. Data professionals are now required to bring their best game to the table.

Understanding the Decision-Maker’s Perspective:

Benefits-driven vs Features-driven

The key to effective communication with budget holders lies in recognising that executives typically aren't as interested in the features and functionalities of the solutions as data professionals might be. Instead, C-level executives prioritise ROI, cost-efficiency, and impact on the company’s bottom line. They think in terms of benefits, not features. Starting your pitch with technical details or integration processes might not resonate with them.

Instead, begin by highlighting the outcomes the solution can deliver. For example, for advocating a pricing solution a good start would be highlighting:

  • How a pricing tool would boost revenue,
  • How it will improve profit margins,
  • How it will help gain a larger market share.
charts showing how pricing tools can increase revenue and other metrics

This approach aligns with how decision-makers evaluate potential investments, and you can always ask a vendor to share necessary slides with you to put in your presentation.

ROI is another crucial aspect for executives. It's important to demonstrate how quickly an investment will pay off. For instance, with pricing tools like Aimondo, customers often see sales double the subscription fee within 1-2 months, with profit margins covering costs in about 3-6 months. It is due to the time needed for integration, data analysis, strategy adjustment, and market response. In more straightforward cases (like when a customer uses just Data & Market Intelligence), or with smaller-scale implementations, positive returns could be observed even sooner. This timeframe for achieving ROI can be particularly persuasive with the C-level.

Lastly, address scalability, especially if you're part of a mid-sized or large enterprise. Leadership will be interested in how the proposed solution supports growth over the next 4-5 years. Emphasising long-term adaptability and scalability can be a decisive factor in getting approval.

data people vs executives

Tools as Means to an End

While you may be deeply involved in how data tools can enhance your daily professional activities, it’s important to remember that executives view these tools differently. For them, a tool is merely a means to achieve broader organisational goals.

When presenting to your leadership, align the tool with the organisation's unique goals and objectives. For instance, you might say:

Our three-year growth strategy aims for a 10% monthly increase in the Midlands, England. Here's how this solution can help us achieve that target.

With pricing tools, it’s straightforward to make this connection, as they support various marketing and business objectives, from growing market share and improving sales velocity to preventing overstock and boosting conversion rates

Building a Persuasive Case

Gathering compelling evidence and data is crucial to support your investment proposal

Typically, this involves requesting case studies, success stories, and the track record of the solution from the provider. Don't hesitate to reach out to the vendor's Marketing or Sales team for assistance; they are usually eager to help advocate for their solution. For example, at Aimondo, we readily provide a pitch pack tailored for C-level executives to help our prospective users secure budgets more efficiently for our solutions.

Storytelling with data: creating a narrative that resonates

There are 4 quick tips on how you can use the principles of storytelling with data in your presentation of the project to the executives:

•  Start with the Big Picture:

Begin your story by setting the context. Highlight larger goals and challenges of your company

Humanise the Data:

Use real-world examples and case studies provided by the vendor that illustrate the impact of the solution you’re advocation on the KPIs that are important to your leadership (revenue, profit margin, ROI, scalability).

•  Create a Journey:

Lead your audience through the data in a logical, engaging manner. Start from identifying a problem, move through the analysis, and conclude with how the tool you’re pitching can be a solution.

• Avoid clutter and highlight only key points:

As a data professional, you're used to seeing charts, graphs, and numbers all the time. The colour of your Excel spreadsheet graph might seem irrelevant as long as it provides valuable insights. However, adopt a different mindset when presenting to leadership. Remember, less is more in this context. Use only one or two graphs per slide and ensure that only the most telling aspects are visually emphasised, while the rest is toned down to background noise.

Handling objections

The last but not the least: your executives are more likely than not to have objections. Be prepared to answer their questions, better yet, include the aspects that would address them in your initial presentation. Use these strategies:

Anticipating Common Concerns:

Pretty much all decision-makers would have common concerns about cost of the solution you’d be advocating. Some might raise the question of integration complexities and timelines. But cost most probably would be their primary focus. Be prepared to address it by.

Emphasising Value Over Cost:

Highlight the long-term benefits and potential cost savings of the proposed tools, rather than focusing solely on the initial expense.

Demonstrating Flexibility:

Talk to a vendor and discuss their willingness to adapt their proposal based on your company’s specific concerns. If a vendor is flexible in their pricing policy and can customise their solution to fit your budget, this is a great selling point

Use testimonials:

Ask a solution provider to share with you testimonials that they have received from other customers. Social proof is still one of the most powerful tools of persuasion.

Building your professional future

As a data professional, it's crucial to take ownership in the selection of tools that meet your evolving needs. You might be the only one in your organisation recognising that Excel spreadsheets are no longer sufficient. Advocate for moving to more sophisticated solutions. This not only benefits your organisation by enhancing data handling and analysis capabilities but also significantly contributes to your career growth. Embracing advanced tools elevates your expertise, making you an invaluable asset and paving the way for future professional advancements. Remember, your initiative and foresight are key to driving both personal and organisational success.

a man pointing at numbers

Ana Bibikova, a Head of Marketing at Aimondo

Ana Bibikova, a Head of Marketing at Aimondo


Ana is a rare breed: T-shaped marketer with a wide experience in eCommerce, B2B, B2C and B2B2B marketing. Writes about unconventional strategies for exceptional growth.

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