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business_case_rsz375_optDuring my career as a sales manager, I once approached my CFO seeking budget approval for an investment in technology.  I thought the technology would help my salespeople sell more.

Shortly into the conversation, my CFO said, “Stop.  Speak to me in dollars, numbers, or percentages.”

I ended the conversation abruptly.

The next day I came back with a return-on-investment (ROI) presentation.  I spoke in dollars.  I explained how we could pilot the technology with six salespeople for under $5,000.  During the three month pilot, I would track revenue generated because of the technology.  I presented a worst case (we waste $5,000) and best case (we win three sales worth $50,000 each) scenario.

“Now you’re speaking my language,” my CFO cheered me on.  He approved the expense in less than 10 minutes.

Although initiated by a financial guy, who you’d expect to speak in dollars, this principle applies in all sales situations.  When you present your business case in dollars, numbers, or percentages, it is unarguable.  The numbers don’t lie.  They add up.  Or they don’t.

What’s the business case for your technology?  Can you articulate it in dollars, numbers, or percentages?  Does your ROI analysis add up?

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