Digital Workplace Blog

How I got my 2017 headcount approved in one hour

Posted by Jason Smith

We live in a fast-paced society, fueled by on-demand information and instant gratification. The Internet is “open” 24 hours a day, always ready with a deluge of everything you ever wanted to know about anything. Social media offers you commentary at a click of a button. You can get breaking news around the clock.

So it’s no surprise that if you want to facilitate quick decision making, you need to be able to present your big idea, drill down to the smallest proof points, then zoom back out again…all in the blink of an eye.

A few weeks ago, I was faced with the task of trying to persuade our board of directors to let me hire more sales staff. That’s always a daunting situation, but I had a secret weapon at my disposal.

I explained to the board that we have some great new use cases for Prysm Visual Workplace and that we needed to expand our team to penetrate these markets. The board members loved the proposal and were excited about the possibility of extending our reach.

Then, they asked about the data — both the costs and the proof that additional personnel would translate into revenue.

I’m the first one to admit that I’m not the most analytical guy. We run Wave Analytics on top of our Salesforce database, and I’m not a power user (to put it mildly). So I unleashed my secret weapon — our director of sales operations, who I invited to join our board meeting remotely, via Prysm Visual Workplace. He opened up a spreadsheet and the Wave Analytics dashboards. As he walked us through the data, I was able to pull up a virtual whiteboard and start sketching diagrams. I even made annotations right on top of the screens he was showing. Board members were able to see all of this information on the display simultaneously, in context.

One by one, I saw the lights start to go on in the board members’ faces. We were able to show the pipeline growth per salesperson that directly correlated with this particular use case. The content — from big idea to the smallest analytical detail — allowed the board to trust that our new idea would actually translate into revenue. Within one hour, they said, “go hire more people, ASAP.”  

By way of contrast, here’s what happened right after this little win. Another exec came in and pitched an idea, armed with just a PowerPoint. He was unable to present the data drill down to show how he’d arrived at the conclusion or demonstrate the pipeline impact. The decision did not get made that day. The next day, a keyboard member went on vacation for two weeks. Then I was traveling. Finally, three weeks later, we discussed the idea and created the workspace with all the content and data. We presented it to the board, and they signed off. It took a month, start to finish.

In the grand scheme of things, a month might not sound like a long time. But when you start to look at the opportunity cost of slow decision-making across an enterprise, an entirely different picture emerges.

Imagine that you run a manufacturing video wall company, for example, and you want to ramp your sales. You tell your board of directors that you could double your revenues next year if you onboard five new plants. 

Let's say that each of your plants can produce $100K a month in revenue and that it takes you three months to get each plant online and start producing. 

If you got budgetary approval today, you'd be able to make an additional $4.5M next year. However, if it took you one month to get approval, those extra revenues would drop to $4M. If it took you two months to get approval, the numbers would drop to $3.5M, etc. 

As you can see, the opportunity cost of delayed decisions can be significant. In fact, it could make or break a company. 

If you have questions about Prysm Visual Workplace, feel free to leave a comment below or contact us.

Topics: Digital Workplace, Decisions, Sales

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