How many of you watch Shark Tank? For those who are unfamiliar with the show, it gives entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their businesses to five moguls (aka sharks) in the hopes that one or more will bite and become an investor. Every entrepreneur who enters the shark tank faces an uphill battle to sell these seasoned professionals on the idea of their business, and in the process they often face some pretty tough questions from the sharks.

Gaining executive buy-in for any new technology is not unlike pitching an idea in the shark tank. Sure, the nerves might not be as high (you probably don’t have multiple cameras pointed at you and your executives aren’t Mark Cuban), but in both cases, proper preparation can go a long way toward helping you successfully make your case. If you go in planning to “wing it,” your chances of walking out with what you wanted are slim-to-none.

So when it comes to introducing marketing automation, what can you do to prepare for your “pitch” to executives? Start by focusing on these three areas:

1. Build a Business Case

First and foremost, you need to be prepared to answer the question: How can marketing automation help our business?

As you look to answer this question, consider your business’ overall objectives and how marketing automation might help achieve those goals. For example, is growing your customer base or increasing revenue on the agenda for your business? Marketing automation can support those initiatives by helping you drive more qualified leads, increase lead conversions and improve the hand off of leads between marketing and sales. Whatever your business’ top objectives may be, you want to start by demonstrating how marketing automation can further those goals.

2. Support Your Business Case with Tangible Data

Second, you’ll want to go beyond just building a business case, because what good is that without any evidence to support it?

The good news here is, there’s no shortage of data that highlights the benefits that marketing automation provides. You’ll want to find results that align with your business case, but here are a few samples of what’s out there:

If you can arm yourself with powerful statistics like those above that support your business case, you’ll be well on your way to giving your executives a plan they can’t refuse.

3. Round Out Your Support with Real Life Examples

Finally, you’ll want to share some real life examples of businesses who have achieved results like those you’re touting by introducing marketing automation. These examples will really help bolster your case by “bringing it back down to earth.” In other words, they’ll make those statistics feel more attainable and relatable by putting them into context and demonstrating that companies like yours are actually seeing these benefits.

Once again, you’ll want to find examples that align with your business case and any statistics you plan to use to support that case. There are plenty of examples out there, but here are a few to get you started.

Close the Deal and Get Working!

If you properly prepare by following those three steps, you’ll build a rock-solid case for introducing marketing automation. After all, what executive can say no to proven data and real life examples from companies like yours that demonstrate how marketing automation can support your company’s top business objectives? No one we know, that’s for sure!