As a newer employee to the technology consulting firm, Ruckbau, I started to become interested in what sets one consulting company apart from the next. And because we are based in the Bay area, a mecca for IT, there tends to be some big competition, as you might expect.
Therefore, I wanted to know how businesses choose at all? What makes one firm “jump out” from the other? Is it the website quality, the verve, expertise, or references? If it is the references, what do potential clients need to hear?
After exploring the intricate web of articles, blogs, IT sites, and business pages that discuss this very subject, I have decided to come up with an abridged list of qualities IT firms seem to need to catch a potential client’s eye.
What’s the point of the mission statement?
My whole life, whether in academia, working at NGOs or research firms, I have constantly heard, time and time again, the importance of a mission statement . The “holly” mission statement supposedly provides value, clarity, and comprehension for clients, grant organizations, and web surfers alike to understand who and what your business is all about. However, remember that saying “actions speak louder than words” ? Well it seems the same is true for mission statements. I have heard of weeks invested in developing and devising a business’s mission statement, only to have a team of people forget it once it was plastered on the wall. What customers (and employees) want is to read, hear, and experience from the firm they choose that the firm itself truly lives and breaths their mission and goal. Makes sense right? To sum up what you do in one sentence, confidently, and further, be able to elaborate about it in a meaningful way, not scripted- just passion. This creates trust on the client’s end. So get your company onboard, start some team building exercises that will help everyone critically engage with what it is that your company does. Because a tech company is just a tech company until you got something else to say for yourself.
What do you offer?
This goes hand-in-hand with the mission statement, albeit, the more detailed and tailored version. “The proof is in the pudding”, as they say. Enumerating what you do in clear bullet points and plain english on your website is imperative to get clients to stick around and read more. Because remember, it might be the most sophisticated, articulate content you ever wrote, and you may be an absolute genius in the field, but if no one is picking up what you are throwing down, your efforts go to shame. Some of the particular descriptors you might want to consider tailoring your offers to on your site should adhere to- functionality, technology, and product scope- with a focus on budget, accomplishments, references, and expertise. If you got it flaunt it!
If you are a curmudgeon because you have been working as a consultant for more than half your life and now have to compete with everyone and their brother (and said brother has only been consulting for the past two years), then you can probably provide a client with a lot more value than the average joe. Therefore, it is important you get that circulated- websites, word-of-mouth, yelp reviews- they all help! Businesses shopping for IT consulting companies definitely like knowing, for the most part, that their IT concerns are not in the hands of a novice. Let your curmudgeon colors shine!
You might believe yourself to be an expert in two very specific fields in the IT world, however, that doesn’t read to a broad range of potential clients. Although you want to be business savvy and honest about where your expertise lie, you also want to present technical versatility to show you are able to deal with a broad range of issues. Identifying that you can quickly adapt and assess any project is going to exemplify your experience, exposure, and credibility.
So what it comes down to at the moment is, online presence, along with the girth of your knowledge, holds the most weight in getting people interested . However, it is a fine balance between being overly specific and overtly generalized. The best advice seems to be- put yourself in your clients shoes. What would you want from a IT Consulting company? How would you navigate the influx of IT firms out there today?
Stay tuned for a follow up article!
Customer Liaison and Research Associate