Selling Search Internally–Part 1–How to get buy-in from your boss

You are a <insert your profession here>  (Department Head, IT Leader, Operations Regional Manager, HR Manager, End User) in your business or organization. You have a problem. You can’t find information. Your staff is spending time tracking down that invoice from a few years ago, looking for the part number that a customer needs, searching for that great resume. It’s somewhere….but where? You see your staff is frustrated, disenchanted, defeated. You see that time is being wasted, and customers are grouchy because they can’t access products or information you have online. Maybe you’re losing customers. It’s hard to tell because you just got another 20 emails since you checked an hour ago and there are 10 reports on your desk awaiting your review. You are awash in information–drowning, and you are supposed to be in charge of keeping all this organized. Sound familiar?

Search solves this. Search, discovery, sharing information…it all leads to faster service to customers, less staff frustration, and higher productivity. It has been said that a good search solution either saves you money inside the firewall or makes you money outside the firewall. Either way, your organization is more competitive with a search solution that delivers the right information at the right time.

But how do you convince the boss that your company would benefit in an investment in search technology? This is the tricky part for many managers inside organizations. Search is hard, and often expensive. Here are the main points you should make with your boss.

  • Search isn’t a box, it’s an engine
  • Search makes money / saves money = bottom line results
  • Sharing information promotes better decision making, faster response time
  • Search will give your organization a competitive edge in a cutthroat marketplace

This isn’t a single conversation. The most successful campaigns for better search technology involve many voices, not just yours. An organized vocal group inside your organization who can present business leaders with a solution that will effect the bottom line is hard to ignore. And the basics in selling any idea to your boss should also be minded, such as:

  • If you come with a problem, come with a solution
  • Give real examples to back up your suggestions for improvement
  • Be diplomatic: even the best organizations can be political
  • Maintain relationships (don’t throw anyone under the bus)
  • Who will benefit and how?  Break it down for consideration

Change is tough, but I find that this saying by B.C Forbes sums up why it’s important to push the issue If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.”

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