Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How much does it cost?

We're deep in proposal writing mode on multiple projects and about to talk to countless people at DevLearn 08 this week about the work that we do. No matter how fantastically appropriate, effective, and downright awesome your solutions are to your clients problems, eventually, you need to tell them how much its going to cost to implement your brilliant ideas.

I propose a challenge to all of us out there on the "vendor side"--don't just tell them how much it will cost. Tell them how much money they'll make.

Not a completely radical idea, but how many of us include this in our conversations and proposals? I'm not simply talking about saying "cost saving" or "improved processes"--everyone says that. I mean, give them some numbers or percentages. "Your sales are likely to increase between 5 and 20%." "You'll save an average of $300 per year per employee on travel expenses by making one meeting virtual."

Great idea, I'm sure you're thinking, but how do I get that data? Ha! Yes, well, here's my other challenge to you--don't end your projects with the delivery of your "final" product. All of us should be sticking around a bit longer and collecting data on the effectiveness of our projects, products and services. You remember those learning objectives? Performance objectives? Sales objectives? Time to start establishing baselines and then actually measuring results. And Voila! Data for you to share.

We all talk about developing effective learning solutions. Do you have the data to back up your claims? If not, you better start thinking about how you'll be gathering that data. I'm much more interested in saying "It'll cost you X but save you/make you Y" than just "it'll cost you X." Aren't you?

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