How do you use data to persuade senior executives?

Data, I think, is one of the most powerful mechanisms for telling stories. I take a huge pile of data and I try to get it to tell stories.
— Steven Levitt, Freakonomics

While catching up on reading, I found this article which has some great insights:

It explains the pain analysts feel trying to convince senior audiences using data. As a solution it states that when persuading executives with data frame your message using one or more of these four topics:

  1. Revenue & Market Share
  2. Efficiency & Costs
  3. Customer Loyalty
  4. Talent & Capability

In our experience they are numbered in order of importance. If you have to choose just one, pick the lowest number you can.

To get your audience to take action you need to engage them. Follow these steps to effectively persuade senior executives:

  • Tell them something they already know. Make them feel smart and get them to trust you.
  • Play a game of “Fact or Fiction”. Gently show them they don’t know everything.
  • Include some third-party data. This increases the credibility of your message and credibility of you.
  • Predict the future: Say, this is how it will be. Talk about customers, revenue, competitors and costs.

Wise advice from a brief article. How successfully do you use your data to persuade senior executives?