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The 5 Musts Of A Successful Tech Assessment


Showing a roadmap as climbing a mountain with points in a journey marked: Now, Nexter, and Later

As you build your solution portfolio, there is one offering that is a must-have for an emerging tech services startup. This offering is the assessment. The assessment is critical to your portfolio for three reasons:

  1. The assessment transforms you from a body-shop to a solution provider. With an assessment, you enter into the driving seat and define the customer's direction.

  2. Sales is a process of deepening relationships. An assessment allows you to move the relationship forward with a prospect.

  3. An assessment prepares them for implementation.

In this article, we share five must-dos in your assessment.


#1 Get Paid: A Win-Win Situation

An assessment needs to be a paid engagement. Receiving a payment ensures commitment from both parties. For consultants, it means the customer is serious about implementing your solution and has a budget. For the customer, a paid assessment means a low-cost, quick test of your expertise to deliver the project and work with you. It also enables the consultant to mobilize sufficient resources to give meaningful output for the time the customer puts in.


You can give credit for implementation with the assessment to make the assessment effectively free for customers. But you need to get paid upfront for it. When designing the assessment, you should figure out the discretionary budget limits typical to your target persona.

Both consultants and customers may initially hesitate about paid assessments because they see it as a paid discovery. But an assessment is not a paid discovery. You need to deliver tangible value, which brings us to our next point.


#2 Deliver Tangible Value: First Impressions Count

Congratulations, you have established them as a paying customer. Now, you need to deliver value. When implementing a technical solution, delivering value means understanding their needs, showing how the proposed solution will meet their needs, and providing an architecture and roadmap for implementing the solution. By providing clear, tangible outcomes from the assessment, you're fulfilling a contractual obligation and nurturing trust. This engagement sets up a precedent for the customer experience when working with you. One practice every services company needs to establish is delivering quick value. So, shorter is better for an assessment. Remember, any time you spend doing an assessment adds to the time before the customer finds their solution.

You also need to remember why the customer is engaging consultants. The customer doesn't know how to use the emerging technology and is lost. You need to make the problem easy to understand and force decisions.


#3 Make Decisions: Turn Mysteries Into Puzzles

At Flux7, one of our customers remarked that we made more progress in one week with us than they did in nine months working with the platform provider. This difference is understood through the puzzle vs mystery analogy by Malcolm Gladwell. There is too much information When you think about implementing a new technology. You don't know what is relevant and what isn't. It is a mystery. Teaching will likely worsen the problem because it will give more information that causes further confusion.


Your goal during an assessment is to turn the mystery into a puzzle. By following these three steps:

  1. Remove extraneous information the customer does not need to know.

  2. Lay out a basic framework for the information the customer needs to know. Ensure they form a coherent mental model that the customer can relate to their need.

  3. Force them to make critical decisions rather than leave the questions open-ended. Make sure the decision is well-defined, and they understand the pros and cons of the decisions.

But decisions are not made by single individuals. A technology solution inevitably affects multiple teams. So you need to include everyone.


#4 Include Everyone: Get Ahead Of The Veto

Any technical implementation touches multiple facets of the business. The exact functional units involved vary by the work. In addition to the functional units that are direct customers of work, you likely need buy-in from IT operations, networking, IT security, product development, data warehousing, and other teams. If you create a plan that does not consider the organization's needs and gets blocked at a later stage, then your plan does not add any value. You must corral all these business units and cater to their requirements so your proposed solution is implementable and actionable.

Finally, with implementation, you understand the solution best and are in the best place to implement it.


#5 Implement: Path To Engaging Further

The assessment is just the first part of the value you offer to your customer. You have presented them with a roadmap. Most customers would also want you to implement the solution. So you need to talk about what the customer should expect if you also do the implementation. You want to tell them how to engage you, what your expectations from them are, your expectations for completing the work, and the expected cost of the engagement.


Conclusion

Ensuring the assessment has these features provides the customer with what they need to move forward. You make yourself the number one contender for their business and unblock them so they can hire you for your implementation services. These two values make an assessment a necessary part of your portfolio. We will continue to talk about improving your tech services company's portfolio. Please follow us on LinkedIn to keep up with future articles on improving your solution portfolio.

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