Customer IAM (CIAM) is a thriving field, and it is increasingly seen as the center of the digital transformation process. The ability to manage digital identities of customers from the point of registration, through login, through checkout, and during the paying process, and then to record, analyze, and act on the data garnered is a critical and valuable asset for enterprises moving into 2021.
CIAM equals improved customer satisfaction and retention. A slow registration or login inexperience is devastating to conversion rates. This is notably seen in e-commerce where lost passwords, forgotten passwords, or other difficulties logging in or registering can cause account abandonment, reduced brand loyalty, and lost business. Chatbots Magazine is quoted as saying on the subject, “91 percent of unsatisfied customers will not return for a repeat purchase or service.”
Losing these customers is not cheap. It’s estimated that each customer service phone interaction costs an organization between $35 and $50. Chat support costs between $8 and $10 per session. Annually, according to estimates by IBM, 265 billion customer support interactions take place. This means that every year $1.3 trillion is being spent to conduct customer service communications.
You can consider this cost an investment if the customer service interaction is positive and leads to customer retention. But if the customer service interaction is negative, an organization is literally paying money to lose customers.
CIAM is giving organizations the ability to evolve and innovate their customer interactions. It’s giving enterprises the ability to offer personalized experiences to their customers whether they login from mobile devices, their desktop, or even the Internet of things.
As a decision-maker with a technical background, you understand the value of CIAM. Even if you are in a non-technical role, you are likely growing to appreciate the value of CIAM. The challenge is convincing those who hold the purse strings that investing tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, in this evolving technology is financially responsible.
In this piece, we will discuss 10 proven steps to guarantee budget approval for CIAM. You can also apply these steps when seeking funding for other technology-related projects.
10 Proven Steps to Guarantee a Budget for Customer IAM Projects
Convincing decision-makers and investors that funding a new project is worth it calls for skill, tact, and planning. A good idea that is pitched poorly will not be well received.
You might fight your way into funding. However, this approach can create animosity and enemies and thwart the long-term goals of the project.
Tech projects are hard to pitch. You know that CIAM is revolutionary, it will streamline your business, and it will make life simpler for the whole team. Here’s how you can persuade a cynical or suspicious boss to support your funding initiative.
1. Research, And Then Research Some More
Before you ask for money, do your due diligence. Ask yourself, what is the problem you want to resolve with CIAM? How will this technology address the problem and improve the situation for your team or your organization?
Your research should address three things. The need, the problem, and the benefit.
- What need does CIAM address? Your approach to this should not be general. You will not win a skeptical boss over by generalizations but by showing how CIAM will improve specific metrics in your business.
- What problems are being created by not using CIAM? Are you losing productivity, conversions, or customers? This is where you point out how your organization is losing now and what it will lose tomorrow if it does not have this tech tool.
- What benefits will your company see from using CIAM? Take your time and carefully research the answer. You want to analyze all the areas of the business that will benefit from the tool.
- What impact will CIAM have on customer satisfaction, marketing, time management, etc? What will the knock-on effect be, which is how will it benefit other teams?
2. Know Your Budget
While creating your pitch, familiarize yourself with your organization’s financial position. You should have a ballpark estimate of what your team, department, or organization can afford.
There is no sense in pitching a $50,000 platform if your organization would struggle to get together $20,000. Even if your boss wants to fund your project, they can’t if the money is just not there.
Know your boss’s authority level. Can they set the budget for technology? Or do they work within a set budget?
CIAM is a technology that can be used organization-wide. Is a shared budget an option where multiple departments can split the cost of a tool?
Be respectful of your organization’s fiscal situation. This will make your boss or other decision-makers feel at ease and will show that you have done your research. It can also increase the possibility of your proposal being accepted and adds authority to your pitch.
3. Get to the Bottom Line
Part of preparing is having solid examples to back up your proposals. What impact will CIAM have on the company’s bottom line? In this part of the proposal, you need to lay out results that are quantitative and tangible.
For example, you could say your organization needs to invest in CIAM because it will cause:
- 20 to 30 percent improved efficiency in sales and marketing
- Up to 70 percent reduction of abandonment rate
- Cost savings of X amount via GDPR compliance and avoidance of non-compliance fees
- Cost savings of X amount by streamlining and unifying infrastructure
4. Properly Structure Your Argument
- It starts with a powerful introduction. Your audience should immediately grasp what you are proposing and why. People react better to images, so consider using pictures to boost your pitch.
- Next is the value proposition. What will CIAM promise to deliver? What are its benefits?
- Showcase studies from related industries. Apply them to your organization.
- Present enticing solutions. Why is CIAM the right solution? Because it is simple, secure, reliable, and API first.
There are many other reasons CIAM is a wonderful choice, but you don’t want to give too many choices at this point. Communicate clearly and quickly. Give examples to show CIAM’s value.
- Give social proof. This includes shared research, testimonials, and comparisons between your organization without CIAM and others in a similar field that have successfully implemented the technology.
- End with your call to action. Your closing words drive home why CIAM is the best tool to address your company’s concerns.
5. Encourage Excitement
Your argument may be perfectly organized, the evidence you present may be compelling, and the social proof may be stirring. Nevertheless, your boss might be on the fence whether there is a need to dedicate funds to CIAM.
Emotion may be the key to getting your project funded. Get other people excited about the idea. If you can show how CIAM will address joint problems and how everyone is behind it, it may sway your boss. The atmosphere of anticipation and excitement can be contagious. Create a positive buzz about your plan. You might open up the purse strings.
6. Make the Pitch Face-To-Face
The COVID-19 pandemic has limited face-to-face pitches. Still, a pitch delivered via videoconference as opposed to sent via email is going to have the best result.
Your listeners will give your pitch the same respect you do.
A personally delivered pitch is seen as trustworthy when contrasted with pitches that are not face-to-face.
Communication is 10 percent spoken, 20 percent heard, and 70 percent seen. This means that the visual element is very important. The confidence with which you present your presentation may be what persuades your boss.
Doing an in-person pitch or making a pitch via Zoom will take more work and require you to answer questions off the cuff. But if you truly believe in the power of CIAM, you will be willing to do the work to get your employer on board.
7. Prepare for Objections
When requesting funding, there will be some objections. The better prepared you are to overcome them, the better your pitch will be.
1. In a positive way, acknowledge the objection. Your first reaction at this moment is crucial. Your poise and body language will speak for itself.
- To make sure you react positively. Mentally prepare yourself for the objection.
- Repeat the objection back to your employer with a positive twist. You could say, “It’s fantastic that you want to take time to talk about… I can see that you are serious about our company’s cybersecurity.”
- Keep smiling. Maintain your composure.
2. Show empathy. Acknowledge that you recognize where your boss is coming from. Gain their trust. Connect with them on a deeper level by using social proof or telling a story. Let your boss know that you feel their objection is normal and warranted.
3. Dig deep to get to the underlying issue. Is pricing the culprit? Identify these issues right away. Use the story you tell in step two to address the concerns. Avoid:
- Asking, “What’s the problem?” Instead, finesse your way to understanding the underlying issue.
- Using close-ended questions. You want your boss or decision-makers to talk about their hang-ups.
- Distraction. Pay attention to key points. Your boss is telling you what is preventing them from buying into your proposal. Listen to them and reply accordingly.
4. Get your boss to listen to you. Once you have identified the sticking points, rebuild confidence by speaking to your boss respectfully. Use questions that lead to “yes” answers. For example:
- “Pricing is a common concern. Do you want to get an outstanding return on your investment?”
- “If we could reduce the price, would that increase your interest in the technology?”
- “Wouldn’t you feel great if our organization could improve customer experience, minimize waste, and invest in future-facing technology?”
Throughout the process, shake your head yes. You would be surprised at how you shaking your head will encourage others to involuntarily do the same.
Don’t be afraid of objections. Your answers should be clear and to the point. Objections give you what you need to create a more persuasive argument. Of course, this will only work if you have done step one, which is research and more research.
8. Keep an Open Mind
There may be one platform that you feel is right for your organization. But you always need to have several options up your sleeve and be prepared to present the alternatives.
While you may have the perfect CIAM solution, your ability to show balance and open-mindedness could convince your boss you have balanced judgment and would make good use of funds.
9. Think about the Scope
A major concern budget managers have when allocating funds is the scope of projects they are presented with. Especially with technology, there is always the risk that the costs will escalate out of control. You need to define the scope of your CIAM project and manage it appropriately so the budget does not go out of control. You need to have cost elements defined in advance. Breakdown how much each aspect of adopting CIAM will be. Plan for extras.
10. Close the Deal
You have done your research, you structured your presentation, you are excited, you have gotten others on board, you considered the objections, you have multiple options to offer, and you understand the scope and limitations of your project. Now, it’s time to close the deal. In order to do that:
- Face your fear. You may not be a traditional salesperson or pitch person. Remember that you are offering a solution that will benefit your organization. The only way your organization will benefit from this is by you facing your fears and making the pitch.
- Only talk to decision-makers. Don’t waste your time tossing around your idea to people who don’t have their hands on the purse strings. Cut to the chase, and go straight to the top.
- Understand the decision-making process in your organization. If you don’t understand the decision-making process, you are setting yourself up for a hard sale. You don’t want to get blindsided by 20 other people who you have never heard of who need to sign off on the decision.
Customer IAM features eliminate the friction from the sign-up and sign-in processes. They critically improve security. CIAM is scalable and meets your organization’s demands.
You know all of this. Now, it’s time to help decision-makers understand this as well. The result will be a happy workforce, a happy boss, and happy customers who trust your organization and stick to your brand.