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Successfully pitch new performance management software to your executive team

You know the problems - objectives are unclear, employees lack focus, and managers aren't checking progress. So employees are disengaging and you're losing good people. As HR Director, the answer's obvious - you need a better performance management system. You know it will drive better goal-setting, individual achievement, and improved employee retention and engagement. But this isn't just about changing the process. You'll need to pitch new software to the Executive too; and they might take some persuading.

Convincing senior leaders to spend budget on new performance management software is a tough ask. Even more so in tough times. So you need the right approach to secure funding for your proposal. We show you how to structure your request and get buy-in for your plans for all members of the board:

Here's what you need to consider:

  • What performance management software is and why you need it
  • Top tips on pitching effectively to your C-Suite
  • How the right software supports more effective performance management
  • The importance of approaching your executive team individually

Performance management software: Your 60-second summary

Let's be honest, performance management software isn't likely to be top of your C-Suite's list. It isn't shiny like a new tech for IT, and it doesn't bring in money like an invoicing or sales system might. Rather, you’ll need to start by explaining what it is and why you need it, before everyone's eyes glaze over. So, here's your 60-second summary:

What is performance management software?

It's a system to help managers and employees track performance against goals, provide regular feedback and support employee development and engagement. And all that leads to better business performance.

Employees use weekly check-ins to focus on their Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and understand how those link to overall company goals. They benefit from two-way feedback where employees can raise concerns. And managers celebrate success as it happens, help remove barriers, and provide support where employees are going off track.

All this builds stronger relationships and leads to greater engagement and performance.

Do you really need the software?

Yes. It can help reduce the admin associated with annual reviews by up to 90%. And the system produces regular reports which highlight progress, gaps in completion, and provides data on employee engagement. So you can spot issues and take actions to address them quickly.

Now it's time for your pitch. And whether this is your first visit to the Board room or your 100th, when you're asking for money, it's important to plan in advance.

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How to pitch new software to your executive team successfully

Any good investment has a clear business plan and thinks through the pros and cons. When you enter the Board meeting, make sure you have all your facts to hand.

Be clear about the problem

Get to the point; quickly. Spell out issues you're seeing and their impact on the business. They likely include:

  • High employee turnover: Employees lack clarity about how their contribution helps. So they feel disconnected from the business, and find a new job. That’s costing you. In recruitment and training costs, as well as lost revenue, productivity and morale.
  • Poor managers are damaging your business. Annual reviews provide a perfect hiding space for managers who aren't good at managing. They give feedback once a year when it's too late for the employee to take action and do nothing in between. So employees stop feeling valued and performance falls.
  • Objectives seem obsolete. Your current process encourages a set-and-forget mentality. Objectives are agreed then ignored. as business priorities change, projects get shelved and other activities take over. As a result, performance drops because there's no incentive to deliver.
  • Employees lack development. Promotion opportunities, development needs and even flexibility requests are limited to a quick chat at the end of a review.  So your employees become quiet quitters, biding their time until a better opportunity comes along.

Pitching performance management software as the solution

You know the right performance management platform will help employees and managers set clear goals, actively review progress, and support a shift towards a culture of communication and recognition. But senior leaders won't recognise that immediately. So as you pitch new software to the Executive, use arguments that are meaningful for them:

  • Simple, flexible process. You need a flexible approach where employees and managers can share updates in ways that work for them. Weekly check-ins for progress and feedback; monthly and quarterly reviews to focus on development and check continued alignment with business priorities.
  • Integration with existing systems. Options with quick implementation speeds and low on-going support needs get better buy-in from the C-Suite. Look for simple integration with existing programmes (e.g. Single Sign On through Microsoft Teams) so you don't need yet another login.
  • Improve employee engagement. Higher engagement leads to greater profitability. And managers can make or break employee engagement. So you need them to build strong relationships with their teams by celebrating success and offering timely feedback when a change of direction's needed.
  • Get a return on your investment (ROI) quickly. The average ROI for new performance management software is 17 months. Weekly10 delivers in just eleven. Regular reports allow you to spot and address issues quickly, and support struggling managers and employees to adopt the new process.
  • What if we don't get this system? Be prepared for this question. Explain the impacts of your current process. And be realistic about training, implementation and ongoing costs you'll incur. But explain why these are worth it to get all the benefits. (And it doesn't hurt to compare system costs with the recruitment charges for replacing a few mid-senior level hires either).

Talk the language of your board of directors

Take out the jargon, remove the HR speak. Use terms your executive team recognise. They're interested in business performance, productivity, innovation and profitability. So help them see how performance management software drives the right behaviours and achieves that improved performance.

Use familiar case studies, ideally from your business, to show how moving to weekly check-ins will support better conversations and push innovation. And present the data to reinforce how the right system reduces the admin burden and frees up time for more value-added activities.

Tailor your message

While there will be common themes, each of your C-Suite has a slightly different focus. So make sure you understand individual priorities as you look to get their support for a new performance management system.

Don't pitch new software to the Executive, pitch it to individuals

All Executives want to achieve company objectives, so having everyone working towards a set of aligned goals is essential. But so is the need to be agile. Your current process is static. You set goals, then largely ignore them. Having regular reviews throughout the year allows you to adjust OKRs as business priorities change. And employees still know how their contribution fits, maintaining commitment and performance.

As you pitch your new software to the executive team, however, other priorities will vary. Over the rest of the series, you'll find more detailed advice on how to persuade different senior managers, but here are some high-level points to consider:

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) - start with the data

Your CEO has the most rounded view and look at the budget as a whole. Investing in your system takes funds away from elsewhere, so the argument must be compelling. Discuss ROI and provide data on current turnover costs. Look at figures on engagement and the impact poor managers have on performance and morale.

You'll need to sell the benefits of the new software. They won't spend much time in the system themselves, so instead focus on how others will be able to drive year-end when they aren't distracted by time-consuming annual reviews.

💡 Read our guide to pitching HR software to your CEO

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) - the importance of balance in your software pitch

ROI is important to your CFO too. They want to know costs, now and later and they need to know they're getting value for money. Present systems comparisons and demonstrate why your proposal is worth the investment. Highlight the savings you could realise through lower employee turnover and the potential for improved productivity. But don't be naïve - there will be training and coaching involved to get the new process in place, so include details and be prepared for questions.

Focus also on the benefit to the Finance team. Emphasise the reduction in year-end admin. And the flexibility you can apply to avoid lengthy annual reviews while they try to report year-end sales figures, turnover and profit and loss statements.

💡 Read our complete guide to pitching new HR software to your CFO

Chief Technology Officer/Head of IT (CTO) - it's all about the tech

The CTO's interested in the tech - it's implementation, integration and security. So pitch new software to this executive member that integrates seamlessly with existing systems. . You get the benefits of Single Sign On and management through Active Directory using applications like Weekly10 for Microsoft Teams. As well as a quick implementation process that often takes less than one month.

Recognise you won't be able to answer all their questions. So identify the right technical contact and arrange for the CTO to speak with them about security protocols and other queries ahead of time. And provide reassurances about the level of on-going support their in-house team will need to provide

💡 Read our complete guide to pitching new HR software to your CTO

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Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) - selling new software to the director who knows a thing or two about pitching

Your CMO has made a career out of pitching. Seeking the key points and convincing others of their merit. Learn from their expertise and look for your good news stories: creating a culture of communication and recognition; product innovation, record sales, and happy employees. They're all opportunities for great PR (public relations), as well as ways to mitigate the risk of any negative reviews on Glassdoor.

And a change in your performance management software isn't just a PR tool - it's more than that. It helps drive employee advocacy and improves internal communications. Employees become greater supporters of the business, both inside and outside, and they shout about successes and innovation because they feel valued and they care.

There might also be a particular interest in alignment of objectives. Moving over to OKRs and weekly check-ins helps pull everyone together, flagging project delays and highlighting successes. It also means Sales and Marketing both have a vested interest in finding the best solutions for your customers, and not just delivering against their own aims.

💡 Read our complete guide to pitching new HR software to your CMO

Chief Revenue Officer/Sales Director (CRO) - better systems means more sales

With a different performance management system, everyone's clear on how to achieve company goals. So reaching those targets becomes more realistic. And having a flexible process means it will work more effectively for the sales teams. Especially when they don't lose precious time at year-end while they're trying to close last-minute deals.

Easy reporting gives better visibility of current sales activity. So you'll spot issues with client pipelines, opportunities for improvements, and identify when you need to step in before a large deal falls through.

These aren't the only ways to convince your senior team, but they're a good place to start.

If you need a way to get people thinking differently about performance management differently, download our best practice guide: The A to Z of Performance Management. It's another tool to help people understand the importance of making the change before you introduce the idea of new software. Grab your copy below 👇