How to Champion a New Technology to Internal Stakeholders

Tina Eaton
July 30, 2019
minute(s) de lecture
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Wouldn’t it be amazing to find a great new digital solution, mention it once during a meeting, and get the green light to go full speed ahead? Then there would never be any need to convince anyone and you’d be able to get rolling right away!

While that does sound super nice, it’s probably not gonna happen. Getting people to rally behind a new tool can be notoriously challenging. Why is that? The knowledge that it’s time to introduce a new digital solution doesn’t necessarily make it any easier for workers, team leaders, and departmental heads to overcome old habits and adopt strange, new technology overnight. You have to take the time to give them reasons to believe in it.

That’s why we put together this step-by-step guide to help everyone from business influencers to decision makers navigate the long—and sometimes challenging—road to getting new technology solutions approved at your organization.

Step 1: Build Rock-Solid Buy-In

Thought your homework days were behind you? When it comes to championing new tech to internal stakeholders including team leads, users, and even the purse string holders—it’s time to think again.

Planning and preparation, your “homework” in this case, are the first steps in successfully building rock-solid buy-in. And it all starts with becoming a solutions sleuth.

To champion a piece of technology, it’s vital you understand the solutions on the market. Dig deep to learn the ins, outs, ups, and downs about each option—and why your preferred one blows all of them out of the water.

Why this solution and not a competitor? You should know the answer to that. Will we have 24-hour support if something goes wrong? Yep, it’s a good idea to know that answer, too. While it may seem like overkill to dig so deep, having answers like this under your belt will help you to make your case in the long run. Remember, people who are learning like to think that the person teaching is an expert.

To further champion your chosen tech, you also need to make sure it meets three sets of requirements from decision-makers, users, and the eventual implementers.

Illustration showing the three sets of requirements every successful technology campaign must address

Step 2: Identify Potential Blockers Early On

Next up, you’ll want to stop any adoption hold ups by identifying blockers—and their solutions—as early as possible.

Some blockers may be the kind of objections that pop up during any new technology project: General resistance to change, backlash at the cost of training, frustration when some tasks to take a little longer in the beginning stages, and so on. These can often be approached and smoothed out via change management conversations.

Other blockers could be specific to the way your company or any of its teams operate. These could include anything from competing interests between departments (Sales could resent the awesome new Marketing solution that ate up the majority of the yearly budget), dependencies, misaligned goals, and so on. It’s critical these concerns and their solutions are well thought out before you present your tech to internal stakeholders.

Once you do think them through, be sure that you have some talking points to navigate through them. For example, if the solution is a little more expensive than people feel comfortable with, what can you say to assuage their fears?

Thinking through blockers will give you the advantage of being prepared for detractors—rather than rattled by them.

Step 3: Clarify the Context

When it comes to rolling out changes organization-wide, all problems eventually boil down to communication problems—because communication is at the root of how we interact and how we surface issues.

That’s why striving to clearly communicate and make sure everyone is working within the same context is key before implementation even begins.

Say for example your HR team needs support from IT on what they consider a high-priority project. However, if IT perceives this project as lower priority—because they weren’t given enough prep time or information—these mismatched contexts can lead to a lot of frustration and failed initiatives.

It might sound dorky, but good communication is the golden rule of getting buy-in. Communicate early, communicate often, and take good notes when you do communicate so that you’re always prepared to bring everyone up to speed.

Step 4: Cater the Message to Each Stakeholder

Giving everyone—especially those who may lean toward “naysaying”—information that’s catered to their concerns can go a long way in getting a new technology solution considered and even approved.

We call this the “Why should they care?” information. Cater this info to fit each decision maker’s interest and needs. For example, HR may need to see a compliance checklist first thing, IT may be thinking about the integration steps, your C-Suite is likely looking for specific features that will empower the business to hit key success metrics, and so on.

Take this knowledge of your audience and use it to your benefit! Give the individual viewers information that will be of interest to them specifically.

Step 5: Prove It

The term “social proof” flies around a lot in today’s digital world. Basically, it can be defined as a psychological reaction where people seek to adopt the actions of others due to the belief that what “the herd” is doing is what’s best. Chances are, you’ve seen it online in the form of user testimonials, endorsements, case studies, and of course product ratings and reviews.

Chart showing trust of online reviews versus personal recommendations

In fact, nearly 80 percent of U.S. consumers consider reviews an important factor in making a purchase and almost 90 percent trust online reviews as much as they would a recommendation from someone they know. If social proof works for them—it can also work on your internal team of stakeholders.

So get to finding that social proof for the new technology solution you’re championing! Look for detailed case studies, reviews from other organizations in your vertical, great success statistics, and other proof that your chosen solution has worked for others.

Step 6: Finally, Pull It All Together

With all this preparation under your belt, it’s time for the pièce de résistance: Presenting your solution!

Only you know exactly which points will resonate, and how to make them do so, within your organization. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t do our part in setting you off on the right foot.

Make sure to touch on these points when it comes time to present your case to your team of stakeholders:

  • What is the project summary? Be brief yet intentional. Every bullet matters.
  • Why is it time to make the effort to implement new technology?
  • Why is this new tool the best fit to help your organization flow better within and between teams?
  • What are the biggest challenges? What solutions have you identified for overcoming them? (Remember step 2 when you identified potential blockers? You got this!)
  • What are the business benefits of this new technology?
  • What is the timeline and who will lead the implementation?

Bonus Tip: What to Do Once You’re Ready to Implement Your New Technology

Whether you already had your tech picked out or this practical, tactical guide helped get you there (which we’d love to hear about!)—implementation is the next big task you’ve gotta face. And we’re not gonna let you do that one alone, either. Check out our guide to preparing for, implementing, and garnering adoption of a new technology solution.

Wherever you are in the process of championing a new technology to internal stakeholders, we hope our resources always help you feel confident navigating the complex process and successful introduction of new technology solutions.

And, we’d love to hear from you—Have you implemented any of these tips? What steps would you add?

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