Is There an Argument for a Framing Slide in a Business Case Pitch to Suits?

In an earlier post on raising money from investors, I argued for the importance of a “framing slide” at the beginning of a presentation to help your audience situate themselves within your pitch.

Is there the same argument for a framing slide in business-case pitch to suits?  And does the slide contain the same bullet points?

Yes, and no.

Yes, a framing slide is good in a pitch like this, and for the same reason: It shows respect for your audience, understanding of what questions will be on their minds at the beginning of your presentation, and a promise to answer those questions.

But, no, the questions on the mind of a business-case audience are not the same as an audience of potential investors.

A group of suits hearing a geek pitch a business case are not generally investing their own money, or even the money of limited partners.  They are spending out of a budget or hearing an argument to lobby for budget.  Therefore the budget and use of funds, although important, is perhaps not as important as the investor pitch.

What business-case investors care most about is:

  • Whose turf is affected by the proposed initiative?
  • How will that stakeholder benefit or suffer?
  • What are the bona fides of the team making the case?
  • What argument can be made to my superior in favor of this business case?

(Not an exhaustive list, perhaps, but one that stems from an attempt to get into the mind of the audience.)

The core insight here is that business cases within a large organization have much more to do with turf than with ROI.

Make no mistake, a business-case pitch will need slides on budget and slides on ROI (perhaps lots of them).  But the essential first slide is all about the politics.

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