Pitching Facilities Management Solutions to Your Boss

By: Mark Hagan, Director of Operations, Trade Services

Seasoned veterans of the facilities management (FM) business have borne witness to all kinds of transformations over the years. As new technologies and practices enter the fold, it can feel like change is the only constant in an evolving industry. Facilities managers who are attuned to the daily challenges their teams, vendors and service providers face understand the need to adapt to these changes, and to adopt new technologies that can enhance the effectiveness of FM across their organization.

However, just because the facilities manager gets it, doesn’t mean the CFO or CIO is as acutely aware of their company’s FM needs. And who can blame them? Chief officers are tasked with an astounding range of responsibilities, so it’s reasonable to assume FM probably isn’t at the top of their priority list. But with FM and related assets often appearing as the second or third line item on a company’s balance sheet, it behooves senior leadership to remain attentive to FM spend and focus on ways to increase productivity while reducing costs.

In order to make FM a priority, it’s up to facilities managers to speak up for their teams when necessary, and to suggest changes to the status quo that leadership may overlook. Getting buy-in from your boss is easier said than done, however, and it helps to have a plan. By framing your proposal in terms that validate your team’s current pain points while offering options for a viable solution, your audience is sure to be all ears.

Use facts and data to support your case, but don’t rely solely on the numbers.

As you begin to craft your pitch, gather all the hard facts—statistics, reports, data—and set them aside. Don’t ditch them altogether, as you’ll certainly need to pepper your presentation with relevant data points, but begin by focusing on the big picture stuff first.

In the words of Simon Sinek, start with Why.

Rather than simply rattling off numbers and stats to prove your point, set the scene by clearly illustrating the pain points your FM team feels. Once senior leadership grasps the gravity of these challenges, and how they affect your team’s daily operations, they’ll be more receptive to your proposed need for an FM solution. After you’ve set a solid framework for your presentation, you can begin to highlight facts and data that support these claims.

Focus on your FM needs, and tether them to the greater, overarching needs of your organization.

When pitching a new plan for your facilities, whether it’s a partnership with an FM business advisor, a new tech platform or both, it’s important to tie your FM needs to the needs, values and goals of the organization. By aligning your goals with those of the company at large, you’re more likely to receive a favorable response from your company’s decision makers.

For example, if one of your company’s priorities for the year is to reduce the budget, it makes good financial sense to propose a solution that includes robust analytics capabilities. By highlighting trends, total program spend and more, analytics can drive insights that lead to a number of efficiencies, including ways to reduce costs.

Do your research before laying out potential solutions.

Be prepared and bring all of your research to the table when it’s time to talk with your boss. When researching possible FM business advisors and software solutions, make a list of criteria you’re looking for and evaluate each option against this list. For example, if you’re seeking an FM tech platform, is the platform itself enough, or do you want consultative business support as well? Are you more interested in cutting FM costs or managing workflows? What are your current reporting and analytics capabilities, and do they require an overhaul? These questions can help you find a qualified FM partner that suits your specific set of needs.

It’s also important to evaluate the cost implications associated with your proposed plan, so that you’re ready to address any concerns leadership may have about bringing on a new vendor. For instance, does the FM platform you plan to use come with any additional technology fees? If you’re already utilizing a third-party vendor for FM services, will this existing solution be integrated with the new one, and if so, how will the new provider save the organization money? If you come to the table with answers to these questions, you’ll appear even more committed to making your proposal work.
After you’ve explored all your options and researched every possible solution on the market, it’s time for a practice round. Enlist a friend or colleague to listen to your pitch, and have them ask you follow-up questions when you’re finished. When the time comes for the real thing, you’ll appear to have all the answers, and senior leaders will trust you to work strategically toward the right FM solution.