You already know that you need to sell your products or services to your customers, but did you also know that you need to sell your budget to your team?
As we wrote about last week, budget accountability is everyone’s responsibility. Good corporate governance depends on getting your team on board with your financial plan.
Budget accountability is not just about taking responsibility for mistakes that are made, or something going wrong. It is also about meeting budget targets and objectives after they have been approved and agreed upon.
To get all of your organizations and team members on board with your budget, try these steps:
- Be transparent.
Honesty really is the best policy, at least most of the time. Be upfront with your team members about challenges the organization is facing, strategic goals you are prioritizing, and how that relates to the budget.
You don’t have to give all the nitty gritty details, or reveal confidential information, but saying as much as you can will help show your team why the budget matters. And you never know, they may have some ideas or points that you haven’t considered.
- Build a business case around your budget.
In the event that you are looking to get approval for a departmental budget, such as IT, it helps to know your audience. You have to help upper management see the value, be it growing overall profits, growing a specific product’s profits, increasing brand awareness, changing customer perception, reducing risk, or something else.
Ask yourself: How will this new budget meet a particular goal? Or, how would hitting that strategic goal be affected if your budget proposal weren’t approved?
- Use data to tell the story.
You’ve heard the saying “a picture tells 1,000 words,” right? This is no exception. Putting your budget proposal into a visual format (such as a graph or chart or infographic) can help your data communication.
Statistics will likely be better received than raw numbers, and trends with hard evidence over hypotheses or best guesses. Case studies can also make a difference. For instance, if you were trying to get budget approval for a new cybersecurity system show a report of the number of attack attempts on your website from this month, and how it has increased over the past year.
- Have a clear plan to measure success.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Your budget proposal should include elements of each of those categories.
Each proposal should have:
- Specific budget items.
- A way to measure progress and success.
- An attainable outcome.
- A relevance to the organization or people you are proposing to (tying into specific strategic goals).
- Timely measurements — both in expected implementation/measurement time, and in being important at this point in time to your organization.
Getting budget approval buy-in is the same as selling to your customers — you need to show the value they are receiving in return.
To learn more about acing the budget approval process, download our free eBook, How to Successfully Involve Your Whole Team in the Budget Process.
With True Sky’s corporate performance management software, budget approval is simplified. Create custom workflows, show the budget to multiple stakeholders, and involve your whole organization — all with the familiar interface of Microsoft Excel. Contact us today: call 1 855 878 3759 or visit www.truesky.com.