How to Get Executive Buy-In to Expand Your Knowledge Sharing Community

Madeline Jacobson
Madeline Jacobson
4 mins
Young woman presenting to group of senior leaders to get executive buy-in for knowledge sharing platform

You’re starting to see results and positive ROI from your knowledge sharing platform. Maybe your team members reduced the time they spend searching for information every day by half an hour, or you’ve seen a significant decrease in internal emails now that everyone has one place to go to find departmental knowledge.

Based on your department’s success, you believe that other departments could benefit from using your knowledge sharing platform— maybe you’ve even been getting questions from co-workers who would like to try the platform out.

But how do you convince senior leadership to invest in an expansion of your knowledge sharing community?

Point to Your Successes

Since you’ve already launched a knowledge sharing platform, you should have evidence of the benefits. When trying to get executive buy-in for an expansion, highlight your key success metrics. For example, a customer support team might be able to show that their reps are resolving questions on calls an average of 20 seconds faster with access to your knowledge sharing platform.

Tie your metrics back to clear benefits that will resonate with your executives. In the example above, the customer support team could make the case that by allowing reps to answer questions faster, the knowledge sharing platform has improved customer satisfaction.

In addition to sharing your successes, you should also demonstrate what you’ve learned from your pilot program with the knowledge sharing platform and how you will apply those lessons when rolling out the platform to the rest of the company. This will show that you’ve thought about how to optimize the platform and its launch so that users will be as successful as possible.

Highlight Your Vendor’s Similar Use Cases

While sharing your team’s successes with your knowledge sharing platform can be powerful, some stakeholders may still be hesitant about expanding the platform for a different use case. For example, they might wonder how a platform that the customer support team has used to reduce their average call time could benefit the sales, product, or marketing teams.

To show your stakeholders how the platform works across different use cases, share relevant case studies from your vendor. If, for example, you’ve proposed expanding the platform to your product management and sales teams, look for case studies that demonstrate how the platform helps these two teams close communication gaps. If you’re trying to get executive buy-in to expand the platform company-wide, look for case studies from customers in the same industry who use the platform across their organization.

Your vendor will likely have case studies on their website, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, try reaching out to them to see if they have any resources they can share. Your vendor may even offer to connect you with another customer who can speak to the benefits they’ve experienced from the platform.

Share Testimonials from Platform Users

If your team members completed pre- and post-launch surveys for your knowledge sharing platform, the results can make a compelling case for a platform expansion (especially if they show increases in productivity, efficiency, or job satisfaction). But the data from your surveys will be even more impactful if you can back it up with testimonials from team members who have been using the knowledge sharing platform.

When presenting your case to your executives, share quotes from end users about how the knowledge sharing platform has changed the way they work. If you really want to make sure your message sticks with your executives, consider having several end users record short video testimonials. Video captures facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice, which can make the message your end users are sharing more powerful and memorable.

Sharing end user testimonials along with your success metrics will help you present your case in the form of a story. And research shows that using a story format in your presentation helps your audience retain information (especially numbers). One study from Stanford University found that combining statistics and storytelling results in a 65-70 percent retention rate.

Offer to Do a Roadshow

You’ll strengthen your case for a knowledge sharing platform expansion if you can show executives you have a plan for the rollout. Offer to do a roadshow and demo the platform to different departments ahead of the expansion. Explain to your executive team that doing a roadshow will allow you to:

  • Explain to each department how the knowledge sharing platform will benefit them
  • Demonstrate how the platform can fit into (and enhance) existing processes
  • Prepare departments for the upcoming rollout
  • Get feedback from team members
  • Use that feedback to optimize the knowledge sharing platform structure

Demoing the knowledge sharing platform will help get departments bought into the new solution ahead of the expansion— and that should help quell any concerns your executive team might have about platform adoption.

Anticipate Objections and Offer Solutions

Sales leaders often recommend bringing up objections before your prospects. Even if you’ve never worked in sales, this is a strategy you can tap into when meeting with your executive team about a potential software expansion.

As you prepare for your meeting, list out all the potential obstacles to expanding your knowledge sharing platform across different use cases and offer a solution for each one. For example, maybe your legal team needs a platform to share sensitive information that can’t go beyond their department. You could suggest giving the legal team their own community so that they can share sensitive content without publishing it to the entire organization.

Since budget is a common source of objections, you may also want to estimate the ROI of the expanded knowledge sharing platform based on the ROI you’ve achieved in your department. Being able to provide a realistic estimate of how much money your company will save by expanding the knowledge sharing platform will go a long way towards overcoming concerns about the upfront cost.

Do Your Homework

Taking your knowledge sharing platform company-wide can have major benefits, from increasing productivity to breaking down silos between departments. But because expanding the platform would potentially affect every part of your organization and require an upfront investment, it’s not a decision your executive team is likely to take lightly.

Help your executive team make a well-informed decision by presenting them with a clear picture of the results you’ve seen in your department and a detailed plan for expansion. Be ready to field questions and address objections. If you can show you’ve done your research on your proposal, you’ll be able to make a strong case and get executive buy-in for a company-wide knowledge sharing community.

January 23, 2019

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