You may have wondered, probably more than once, why your boss is reluctant to buy a particular software that automates redundant tasks, saves time, and makes work more productive. Perhaps what your boss needs is a bit more convincing on the benefits of using the tool. And the best way to go about this is to create a strong software purchase proposal that puts all doubts to rest.
After your presentation, you want management’s response to your proposal to be an easy, simple “yes.” This means you need to have all your bases covered when you approach them. Follow these five steps, and fill in our proposal template as you go.
The first step in the software buying journey is identifying the problem you think software will address. Have there been organizational changes in the business, or have business processes changed, presenting new challenges to your teams? What processes and tasks can be improved?
Sometimes, the business need is obvious. Perhaps there’s been miscommunication across teams which leads to missed deadlines and disjointed projects. Perhaps your sales team has been unable to reach new leads, or you’ve been receiving complaints about your customer service.
But other times, finding the business need requires a little more research and data to identify the root issue. Whatever the case may be, your first step is to pinpoint the exact issue at hand, before looking at software.
With so many types of software out there, the software buying journey can easily become overwhelming. Once you know the problem you’re trying to solve, you can more easily focus your search to the type of software that will address your specific needs.
If, for example, your business challenge is miscommunication across teams, then you’ll likely want to search for project management software.
If you want to increase sales or boost marketing efforts, then you’ll know to spend your energy looking for customer relationship management (CRM) software. Or if you’ve noticed vulnerabilities in your business’s cybersecurity, then you’ll definitely want to look into cybersecurity software.
When you show your manager your software purchase proposal, you need to prove there is a business need for the investment. Once you identify the business challenge and the type of software that will address that challenge, you’ll then be able to look at specific software options.
It is important to keep in mind that not all software in the same software category will do exactly the same thing. When evaluating your software options, keep reminding yourself of your original business needs and the features you need your software to have.
In this process, you’ll want to:
Compare software platforms.
Ask questions about how the new software will interact with platforms you’re already using.
Check reviews from businesses similar to yours in terms of size and industry that have implemented the software platforms you’re considering.
Find case studies that can illustrate your vision for the business.
Be as thorough as possible, and ask the software vendors questions until you feel confident about your options.
As the proposal manager, you’ll want to involve your colleagues in the proposal creation process. One way you can collect colleague feedback is by making the software selection process collaborative. Involve coworkers who will ultimately be using the software and those who will need to know how the software works and might also interact with other systems (i.e., your IT and cybersecurity team).
Ask representatives to sit in on demonstrations, ask questions, and participate in trial runs of the software. These representatives will be crucial in the implementation phase of the software, because they will likely train the other people on their teams on how to use the software.
Involving stakeholders in the software buying process is essential to garner support for your proposal. You can incorporate colleague voices in your presentation, which will strengthen your case for why your manager should give the green light.
Some examples for how you can include colleague feedback in your proposal include:
“It’s hard to do my job when our current software keeps crashing. I want something more reliable.” - Direct User
“70% of surveyed employees said they would prefer new software over our current system.”
“Representatives from IT and Legal approve of this software selection.”
“We need a system in place to better communicate with other teams when collaborating on projects. Implementing project management software will help us communicate tasks and deadlines more efficiently” - Jane Doe, Marketing
Throughout the proposal process, you need to keep your business’s budget in mind. During your presentation, your manager will want to calculate the total cost of ownership for the software.
The total cost of ownership is the complete cost your business will incur over time. First, you’ll want to pay attention to the pricing models. What is the upfront cost to buy the software? Is it a one-time fee for a license or a recurring subscription plan?
Then, consider how many team members will be using it. How many users does your software contract cover? How much will it cost to train them? What will it cost to add or subtract users?
Next, you’ll want to consider how the software can scale in the future as your business grows. How much does it cost to upgrade?
Also keep in mind the potential risks involved. For example, if you’re replacing a system with a new one, how will you ensure safe data migration? Think about the potential financial costs and other types of risks to your business with proposed solutions for how you can mitigate them.
As you work through each of the above steps, fill in our proposal presentation template. Each slide covers an important element of any professional proposal, such as an executive summary, project overview, goals and objectives, budget breakdowns, and timeline.
When you’re finished, present it to your boss with confidence.
Toby Cox - Guest Contributor
Explore by topic