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The Art of Creating Buy-in

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By: Mike Orndorff, Founder and Managing Partner, Foundry 45

We’ve heard from various developers in our latest Q&A series offering their best advice in securing funding for new VR projects, a common challenge facing the developer community. Today, Mike Orndorff, Founder and Managing Partner at Foundry 45, a developer company that specializes in creating enterprise-level VR training experiences for Fortune 500 companies, shares insights and best practices to help developers more effectively communicate the ROI of their solutions and create buy-in for their projects.

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A common setback that VR developers continue to face is convincing others of the ROI potential of their solutions. You believe your application is the way to go, but trying to win over others with your project and generate new business is no easy feat and can quickly ruin your enthusiasm.

How do developers increase their powers of persuasion to earn more enterprise clients? Here are five steps to gaining buy-in for your solution – and the sale you’re seeking.

Start small and grow fast. VR solutions typically cut across many departments and can garner a lot of excitement in different directions. If you suggest an initial foray that’s too broad in scope, it greatly increases the chance that multiple internal client groups, in their excitement, will try to steer things in opposing directions before a project is even started. This can result in a project that is unfocused, late, over budget, and with deliverables that don’t meet anyone’s needs.

By identifying the smallest use case that can deliver value and building consensus around it, you can leverage the results from that initial project to build wider consensus and branch out into larger endeavors. This approach not only reduces risk, speeds up development, and requires a smaller initial budget, but also allows you to build support and demonstrate ROI for future projects.

Create a Proof of Concept (PoC). When it comes to VR, there is no substitute for putting on a headset and experiencing it first-hand. To educate potential stakeholders, it’s important to develop a PoC to help demonstrate the impact of a proposed VR solution. In addition to increasing buy-in, a PoC can also limit expectation gaps throughout a project and ensure stakeholders understand exactly what they’re buying at scale. A good PoC can make the difference between a successful project and one that runs into roadblocks or, worse, fails because the stakeholders didn’t understand what they were getting.

Identify key stakeholders. In working with a potential client, you may already be talking with one, or several, stakeholders. Though you may have a primary contact, it’s important to identify and involve other key stakeholders that can approve, or obstruct, your project. This includes subject matter experts, the group(s) using and benefiting from the solution, IT, or an executive champion.

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More importantly, you need to understand that these stakeholders may have independent motivations, needs, and requirements. Ask yourself, “how does the proposed VR application benefit their interests?” The higher up the food chain, the more likely their interest will be financial and broad, such as cost-savings and ROI across the organization, whereas direct stakeholders may have more personal and immediate needs that can be addressed by your solution.

Paint a clear picture of the solution. Once you understand why stakeholders would be interested in your solution, describe in concrete terms its value to them and to the organization. What is VR going to make easier/faster/better? How will projects go more smoothly with VR collaboration?

Define success through metrics. Discuss your client’s goals ahead of time to align on their definition of success. Knowing how your client is going to evaluate the results of your solution is critical to ensuring that you’re headed in the right direction and focused on the right things. It also allows you to interweave those goals into your proposal and promote agreement across involved stakeholders. Potential measurements to show the value of your solution include:

  • Engagement: do employees use and enjoy the solution?
  • Comprehension: how well do new employees understand new concepts presented in a training module?
  • Speed to competency: how quickly can new employees put concepts into use?

These goals can vary, particularly with the C-suite, who may focus on outcome metrics that can be more readily translated into ROI and look at factors such as productivity, savings, efficiency, and retention.

As is true with many new concepts, introducing VR into an enterprise can be daunting. Whether concerns are centered on the feasibility, efficacy, rollout, or budget for the solution, one thing is certain: the organization’s stakeholders and executives will have questions. Thorough consideration of your approach to them can help smooth the road to acceptance and, ultimately, implementation of your solution.

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