As a product manager, there will be times when you have to convince internal stakeholders to buy into your product and feature ideas. Since there’s typically a competition for resources in product orgs, you’ll have to present your case for why your product idea is a good one.
An easy way to organize your thoughts and present your idea to a group of internal stakeholders is to build a pitch deck. This should be no longer than 5-7 slides. It’s not a pitch novel. It’s best to keep slides (and words) to a minimum, and your message succinct.
Here are 5 important pieces of information to include in your pitch deck.
1 - The Business Case
This is often referred to as the value prop. What is the value to the business? You should be able to explain in in two (succinct) sentences or less.
Example 1: Our users have been asking for much more granular data around Y. By acquiring X algorithm, we can provide them with a feature that will provide this rich data they’re looking for.
Example 2: We have a 10% turnover rate of customers last month, and 50% of those customers stated ‘lack of X feature’ as the reason they left. This is my plan to build X feature so we can improve customer retention.
2 - Specific User Problems to be Solved
Here’s where you can get more specific. The business case is meant to be general, but once you’re getting into specific user problems, you need to be more detailed without being verbose. I recommend limiting yourself to 3 user problems.
User Problem Example #1: Users of Analytics Platform X can’t currently see total counts of Reddit messages to their dashboards. Users need to see total counts by day, week, month, and year. (Acquiring proposed new data source will fix this problem!)
User Problem Example #2: SquareSpace can’t currently crop images to pre-defined dimensions. Many users don’t have external tools to crop images to specific dimensions before uploading images to their Squarespace website. (Building a more rich image editor will solve for this problem!)
3 - Sample results
If your goal is to bring on a new data source, a new partner, or to purchase an algorithm, the best way to show internal peeps why it’s so damn awesome is to show sample results.
No amount of slides, text, or enthusiasm will beat displaying actual results.
I recently made a pitch to acquire a new algorithm that will make my product freaking awesome. The sample results were incredible, and I was able to show side-by-side results of competitors vs the new algorithm.
No amount of words/ slides/ hype could ever replace the simple demonstration of side-by-side results. Everyone that looked at my deck went straight to the sample results slides, and it’s all they talked about.
4 - Cost and Resources
Provide a general idea of the cost of building the new feature you’re pitching, or the piece of tech you’d like to acquire. Remember that cost not only includes the actual cash money you have to pay, but internal resources needed to implement whatever it is you’re trying to build or integrate.
5 - Happy Path Plan
What does building your proposed feature look like? What is the timeline? Create a vision that internal stakeholders can grab on to. Once they see a path to success, they’ll start to buy in.
Don’t underestimate the power of visualization.