7 tips for selling the C-suite on IT investments
CIO Ian Pitt has an advantage when it comes to pressing his case for IT investments: He once worked in sales.
“That taught me how to pitch, how to use the right language, to aim for the right pressure points, because you can’t just say ‘trust me.’ You have to say why what you’re planning is good for the company,” Pitt says.
Those skills can come in handy, now as much as ever. A Gartner Research survey of nearly 2,000 CIOs found that IT budgets will be up only slightly, an average of just 2%, for 2021 over 2020. And with competition for cash to pay for projects tight, CIOs will need to sell their colleagues on planned IT investments.
“It’s rare for an IT leader to have an endless flow of cash coming in; there’s always pressure to keep the spending flat or to do more with less,” Pitt says. “But there is a time when you have to go for new spend, when you have capacity-driven spending, or new regulations that have to be met. So it’s then when you have to put yourself in the position of a salesperson.”
That’s when Pitt, now CIO of tech company LogMeIn, leans into those lessons he learned while working in sales. He says he has learned to build a solid case for the spending, avoid using scare tactics, and explain the plans in plain English.