New research on how to make a business case involves presenting an issue propelled by unconsidered needs, before providing a solution story demonstrating ROI impact
PLEASANTON, Calif., Nov. 2, 2017 – Building off previous research into the factors that motivate executive decision-making, Corporate Visions has published a new study revealing a tested and proven messaging framework for delivering the most effective business proposals to justify executive decisions.
“This research addresses the ‘why now’ moment of the customer conversation, when salespeople need to make a business case that meets the standards of buyers who might not care so much about how your solutions and services work but want to see how you can drive business value,” said Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy and Research Officer at Corporate Visions. “This study has yielded a ‘why now’ messaging framework that can help companies create urgency and demonstrate the business impact you need to get executives to decide instead of defer.”
For the research simulation, which included 312 executive participants, Corporate Visions teamed up with Dr. Nick Lee, a professor of marketing at the Warwick Business School, to test a range of approaches—six in total—to the “why now” moment. Specifically, the study aimed to assess messaging effectiveness across several areas critical to this stage—areas including confidence in the business proposal, how urgent it was, how essential to future growth, and to what extent it made executives in the study more or less likely to purchase right now.
The test condition that proved to be the most effective message across all areas assessed in the study had the following structure:
- Present a business issue rooted in external trends and factors the executive will identify with and connect back to their strategic initiatives;
- Introduce “unconsidered needs”—unforeseen problems, challenges or missed opportunities your prospect has underappreciated or doesn’t yet know about that create flaws or limitations in their current approach;
- Provide a solution story, demonstrating specifically how you can resolve the unconsidered needs you identified and enable them to realize their goals;
- Quantify business impact by sharing a preliminary calculation of how your solution can positively influence revenues, cost savings, and operating margin.
Importantly, the five other message conditions tested were highly volatile in terms of how they performed across the assessment areas. Only this formula consistently performed the highest against all key questions.
According to the study, the winning message condition provides the biggest edge in the two most important areas to the “why now” moment: importance to future success and growth, for which it provides a four percent edge; and likelihood of making a purchase decision now, in which companies stand to gain a nine percent advantage.
The study sheds deeper insight into what motivates executive decision-makers to act, Riesterer added.
“Our previous research showed that executives are heavily influenced by emotional factors, such as loss aversion, in their decision-making, and this follow-up study validates that,” Riesterer said. “We previously discovered that framing a decision in terms of what might be lost versus what might be gained can have a powerful impact on the decision-making process, and you see that same dynamic appearing in this study, specifically in the ‘unconsidered needs’ portion of the framework.”
Riesterer added: “An unconsidered need is really an extreme form of loss aversion because it presents unexpected information that positions your prospect’s current approach as a loss to be avoided.”
To view the research in full and get an in-depth analysis of the findings, check out Corporate Visions’ latest State of the Conversation Report.