Nigel Roberts

Getting buy-in from stakeholders, peers and the broader business is a common challenge for CX leaders. Which is why we built our recent CX Collective session around that very theme.

Held in Sydney on Level 26 of AMP’s Circular Quay head office, the harbour provided an amazing backdrop to an enthralling conversation, with three leaders who varied in style and experience, but who shared common insights.

Moderated by myself, our panel brought together three inspirational CX leaders:

  • David McGrath, Chief Digital Officer of Clubs Australia
  • India McLean, Head of CX and Strategic Marketing at AMP
  • Belinda Dimovski, Director of Engagement and Support, Australian Red Cross

Consistent themes, tailored approaches

In what was a fantastic conversation, it became apparent that our leaders shared common experiences, despite coming from widely diverse organisations.

It was clear that regardless of the process within your business for obtaining buy-in and progress for your initiatives, you’ll need to meet some consistent rational and emotional needs for your stakeholders to engage.

Of course, your organisational culture and the personalities of your key stakeholders may mean you need to be agile and adapt your specific approach. However, if you follow the key insights shared by the panel, you should find that your ability to get your projects across the line is greatly enhanced.

The big seven insights

I’ve distilled the panel’s insights on how to successfully build a case for change in any organisation into seven key take-aways:

1. Anchor all initiatives to an agreed strategy

Whether it’s a CX-led customer strategy, or an organisation-wide business strategy, all initiatives should link back to a strategy that has already been agreed.

If you can show how the initiative that you are proposing will make a measurable contribution to an already agreed goal, sign-off will be much easier to obtain.

And if it’s not part of an strategy that’s moving your organisation forward, it may be worth considering whether it should be a high enough priority for your team and your business to dedicate time and resources to.

2. Lead with the ‘why’ of what you’re proposing

Too many pitches focus on the ‘what’ is going to be done, without including the ‘why’.

Every idea proposed should articulate a clear customer value proposition. What are you going to do? Who are you going to do it for? Why will they care?

Although you may think that this may be able to be interpreted by the recipients of the presentation, they don’t know your project as well as you do.

Actually stating the value proposition will clear up any confusion and allow your audience to spend more time deciding whether or not to sign it off and less time trying to work out what you are really trying to achieve.

3. Tailor your pitch to your audience

It’s unavoidable when pitching CX initiatives that you will encounter decision-makers who are primarily driven by commercial value, rather than what’s best for the customer. It’s understandable – it’s likely that’s how they’re measured so it’s their main barometer when judging effectiveness.

Every pitch therefore needs to include a blend of customer insights, how it will move the business forward and how it will add commercial value to the organisation that is tailored to the individuals who are receiving it.

4. Make friends with those who hold the purse strings

It’s a classic piece of advice, but it still holds true. Make sure that you are known, liked and trusted by the people that are going to make the decision.

Have advocates on the panel of decision-makers means they are more likely to fight for your idea when you aren’t there to do it yourself.

5. Don’t go blue sky straight away

It can be tempting to present the ‘5 year plan’ for organisational transformation straight away, to demonstrate just how much CX could transform your business.

For most organisations though, this is unlikely to resonate with decision makers, who are more comfortable with signing off on short-term projects that will have a measurable outcome.

To begin with, focus on short-term projects that will drive demonstrable results. If you can demonstrate effectiveness by delivering a series of stand-alone projects in short succession, you’ll earn the right to present the ‘blue sky’ initiatives that could transform the entire organisation over a longer time-period.

6. Show why your solution is the best solution

As part of any CX process, many possible solutions to a customer need are generated, tested and rejected before the final is found. But often this rigorous testing gets swept under the carpet, with only the final solution presented to decision-makers for approval.

Presenting the alternative solutions, detailing the testing performed and clearly demonstrating through data why your proposed solution is the best answer to a question that a customer need is asking is an extremely effective way of building your case.

It gives decision-makers comfort that you have performed the due diligence required to find an effective solution to a real need.

7. Connect decision makers with real customers

As CX practitioners, we are the voice of customers within our organisations. And in many organisations, senior management’s only contact with customers may be through your NPS scores, verbatim snippets of qualitative research or our insights.

This detachment from customers makes it easy for senior management to ignore even the strongest requests from customers, especially if it is a change that may cause them personal inconvenience or affect their numbers.

Getting them involved in your research makes customers real to them as well. If you can get your CFO to hear directly from customers why changing a billing cycle really matters to them, it will be much more convincing than persona journey map every could be.

In summary, our CX leaders’ tips on how to get organisational buy-in for CX projects are:

1. Anchor all initiatives to an agreed strategy
2. Lead with the ‘why’ of what you’re proposing
3. Tailor your pitch to your audience
4. Make friends with those who hold the purse strings
5. Don’t go bluesky straight away
6. Show your solution is the best solution
7. Connect decision makers with real customers

If you’d like to talk about how your organisation can deliver better experiences for your customers, then I ’d love to chat. Email me on, or call on 0488 614571.

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