by CIO Staff

Tips for Developing Compelling ROI Stories

Jun 15, 20032 mins
IT Leadership

Build stories around compelling subjects. Universally powerful subjects include: achieving rewards, avoiding major losses, gaining respect, strengthening security, reducing risk.

Use a story to translate the main investment payoffs into favorite senior exec initiatives. If your business case argues for expanded Web services for improving customer support and your CEO is adamant about increasing profits, make your story about how happier customers can also reduce sales, marketing and support costs.

Use familiar situations. For instance, good ROI stories for a forest products company likely involve forests, logs and lumber.

Use vivid language. If promoting competitive advantage, consider words like conquer, crush or triumph. If urgency is the driver, speak of pressure, speed, stress or vitality.

Keep it truthful. Make sure any facts or quotes you use are accurate. If describing future situations, make it clear that they are projections.

Be succinct. Stories command attention only when they quickly make their point. Try to keep individual stories to fewer than 100 words.

Stay alert for story ideas. Hang out at physical and virtual water coolers where stories get told. Interview influential clients and important suppliers. Store up stories for later use.

Study good storytelling in action. Keep your ears tuned for natural storytellers in your company. Salespeople, marketers and public relations people often fit this mold.