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Content Management

Nine Tips for Pitching a CMS to Your Leadership Team

giving a presentationA new content management system (CMS) is an investment. These tips will help you sell your leadership team on the idea of a new CMS.

You’ve been asked to redesign your website, but after evaluating your institution’s existing site, you’ve determined that it’s also time to purchase a new CMS. Or maybe you don’t have a CMS at all and your website has become too unruly. How do you convince your leadership team that it’s time to invest in a new CMS?

Here's some advice from the OmniUpdate team and your peers that you, too, can use when pitching a CMS to upper management.

1. Explain why you need it.

Sometimes people don’t understand the difference between a website and a CMS. In simple terms, a website is like car: everything you see inside and out—the colors, controls, accessories, appearance—is the actual website. Everything underneath the hood and body of the car is the CMS that powers the site.

Consider these points when explaining why you need a CMS:

  • Non-technical users can organize, create, and manage digital content that would otherwise require a technologist to code.
  • Global changes such as tuition updates and emergency alerts can be made instantly across your website instead of having to make the changes page by page.
  • Administrative oversight of the website is a lot easier.
  • Security and reliability of your site are strengthened.
  • Campus-wide website features such as a calendar or faculty directory are centralized.
  • Training costs decrease when users campus-wide are using the same system—especially important since employees often transfer to a different area on campus.
  • Responsiveness capabilities are provided for multiple platforms and devices.
  • Brand, navigation, and nomenclature consistency remains cohesive on every web page.
  • Accessibility is enforced before content is published.
  • The need for multiple servers is eliminated if the CMS is SaaS-based.
  • Costs are lowered due to economies of scale since IT resources are centralized.
  • Content contributors “own” their pages, meaning they have control to make needed changes. This eliminates editing and publishing bottlenecks.
  • Built-in analytics (e.g. Google Analytics) inform content editors and administrators how each page is performing against goals.
  • Multi-target publishing automatically synchronizes updates of PDFs and social media whenever key information is updated on web pages.
  • Future website design changes are quicker and easier.

To further explain the difference, keep the most basic of design principles in mind: Form follows function. You can commission a website with every feature and accessory available, but if it doesn’t have the capability to power these functions, it won’t be worth the price you paid for it.

2. Know the people in the room.

You don’t have to know everyone at the table personally, but you do need to know their role in the school and what their specific challenges are. Make a few calls to people you know in their department, read your school’s latest annual report, research challenges of your rival schools—do whatever it takes to help you personalize your presentation to address their specific concerns.

3. Know the problem.

What content management issues are you currently experiencing? How many people are affected on a daily basis with this issue? Quantify and clarify your school’s current problems using as much market research and feedback as possible to make your case.

4. Propose a solution.

It’s not enough to say that you think it’s time for a new CMS—you must present solid solutions to your school’s current problems. Do your research on CMS vendors and make your case by showing how a CMS can minimize potential risks and enhance the institution’s goals, growth, and market share. If you have a specific CMS in mind, ask the vendor for case studies that illustrate how the CMS contributed to website stability, security, increased enrollment, and overall user satisfaction. Using common scenarios and actual experiences will help decision makers remember why you are making your pitch.

5. See the big picture.

Administrators must factor in how cross-functional interdependencies are affected, so do their work for them by showing how a CMS can benefit various parts of your college or university.

6. Ask for opinions.

Once you’ve stated why you need a CMS, ask for suggestions and opinions. People who are given the chance to be part of the process will feel ownership and want to be part of the solution. Keep in mind the fact that decision makers have given you their time means they are already interested in what you have to say.

7. Provide a total cost of ownership analysis.

Understand the total cost of ownership for a CMS and what features and benefits are included in that price. Factor in upfront fees and long-term costs, including team time and resources. This is especially important if you choose a “free” CMS. While the upfront cost of an open source CMS might be “free,” you’ll want to include the FTE cost for management, hosting, updates, support, training, and so forth that is required to keep you compliant and secure.

You don’t have to have specific numbers, but knowing a ballpark price will help your decision makers understand the total cost of ownership.

8. Manage the meeting.

Overprepare. Be respectful of time. Provide takeaways with detailed information. The more you can demonstrate your ability to manage effectively, the more leaders will feel comfortable following your advice and giving you the responsibility needed to move forward.

9. Determine next steps.

Do not leave the meeting without knowing what comes next. If you agree to provide more information in a week, get it to them in four days. Being proactive and efficient builds trust and keeps the process moving forward.

Preparing for a meeting with management about a new CMS? An OmniUpdate sales rep can provide you with case studies, contact information at like institutions who have recently implemented a CMS, and other information to help you make your case. Get in touch with one of our sales reps today.

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