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I am struggling to communicate deal sizes and opportunity size to senior management.

I read documents with lines like:

"customer X is a 100 million dollar opportunity and our team is struggling to capture it, so we need Y moe headcounts"

and this gets considered.

In my own requests I do things like:

"the customer X in segment A is going to consume services B and C for a cumulative amount of Y per year. The customer requested D, E and F for an estimated additional opportunity of Z per year, which we could capture by adding Y more headcounts".

The first kind of request gets considered and discussed. The second kind of requests gets very specific feedback: " we need more detail".

I asked for examples of well written requests which communicate well the opportunity, but I am not getting any.

What detail has to go into describing opportunity sizes for senior management?

  • 3
    What kind of senior management are we talking about here? Fellow engineers? Business people with no technical background? – Matthew Gaiser Sep 6 at 14:40
  • This doesn't make much sense to me, considering the second request has more detail. Are there additional considerations/requirements in the first type of request that makes it more detailed and likely to be considered? – mcknz Sep 7 at 0:55
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The answer is pretty obvious, no?

If you have examples of things that do get considered:

customer X is a 100 million dollar opportunity and our team is struggling to capture it, so we need Y more headcounts

Then emulate those examples. Try writing some proposals that way and see what happens.

You can still write all your details, just don't put them in the document (or at least not in the title/front page). If they like the idea and ask for the details, then you can give it to them. But not before.

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Higher level manager are sometimes quite disconnected from the day-to-day activities. They see the picture so big, that almost nothing exists for them.

When you are very short, they understant exactly what you want and the benefit of that.

When you provide just a bit more of information, they understand that they do not understand what you are talking about. And that is why they ask for more info.

However, the "please provide more information" is also a nice way to throw the deal back on your shoulders, while they do nothing.


Unfortunately, each person has a personal style of management, and we cannot teach you what to do with your particular managers. Maybe ask for a face-to-face with them and ask them to clarify things. Ask them exactly what you asked us. See what happens.

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