From Technologist to Consultant: Soft Skills Make the Difference
As services organizations in technology companies look to move beyond being product extenders and mature as true solutions providers, the ability to engage prospects and clients at all levels and situations in a more consultative manner is mission critical. Land and expand selling, adoption services and outcome-based solutions all require much more from Professional Services personnel than traditional technology acumen. Today’s PS professional must be able to identify, articulate and manage every project with a consultative approach to every aspect of the engagement. This includes all aspects of client interactions, for example:
- Expressing solutions in terms of value derived (outcomes) instead of activities completed
- Conducting expansion selling by focusing on problem solving techniques and execution of the trusted advisor role
- Executing implementations with an eye toward user adoption, not just successfully standing up systems, and doing this by influencing/driving the user community
- And, completely (on-time, on-budget) conduct core project management needs like scope, issue and risk management, while meeting quality and customer satisfaction goals in a more effective manner
Technology companies of the future will no doubt be measured on the results (outcomes) they produce vs. the complexity and comprehensiveness of the technology they supply. The lynch-pin between expectations and actual results will be services delivered by consultants equipped with the very best soft skills available. This paper provides clarity around both the need and the methods to turn yesterday’s technologist into today’s consultant.