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networkAssessments Just Might be Your Ticket to High Margin Business

Are you doing assessments?  It might be security.  But other assessments work just as well. Network, Cloud Readiness, Business Impact Analysis, etc.  

You might be charging, or they might be free.  Regardless, the assessment is not where the big payoff sits.  Unless you’re a pure consulting firm (no product and no hosted services), you want this paper to convert to something.

Traditional sales models look at sales activities.  I prefer to look at outcomes – in this case, conversion. The average assessment won’t convert to large project business or managed annuity contracts.  If your in this boat, keep reading. A few questions you should be asking…

Why Don’t My Assessments Convert

The biggest mistake I see is one of being too technical.

The network engineer values the network. Bandwidth improvements, benefits that come with software defined networking (SDN), or the ability to provide secure access to many different types of devices, all make sense.  But hand in a report that shows the inventory, IP addresses, and possible hardware/software upgrades won’t get you a project.

Instead, start thinking about the major initiatives CIOs are working through right now. Mergers and acquisitions, customer experience gains – such as providing guest access and portals, collaboration that involves more video, etc.

These are business drivers…if your assessment starts by looking for these initiatives, you can then move to end-users to discover how they use the network, and what they’ll want out of it in the near future.

This leads to justification for SDN or greater agility.

Who Should I Include In the Process?

It’s temping to make this all about technology – but don’t. From the above paragraph, you can see I am recommending you include executives responsible for business strategy, who will build their programs on this network.

From there you want to include end-users.  This group is often left out of any technology sale. But they are your best influencers. Find out what they need to generate more business for their company and you’ll have the justification you need.

From there, you want to strategize with your team internally. Ask the question – what does this company really need to do what they want to do.  Once you have the answers, you can then evaluate or assess their technology.

Your Deliverable Looks Like This…

Scrap the highly technical deliverable. You don’t have to throw it away, but think of it as reference material that goes in the back of the book. IT may want to see it – in fact it might be impressive to them. Let them have it.

But your primary deliverable is going to decision makers – business people.

So write the report to them. It’s not your executive summary – it’s your main report. It’s a business case. It’s the primary deliverable. Write it with care – make the case for the gains you’ve discovered, and show them what they need before they can get what they really want.

Hint: It might be worth hiring a copywriter to rewrite your report – once you have one that works, you can reuse the same language. Copywriting is a science used by marketers to move people through written content…don’t leave this to the high-tech people.

© 2016, David Stelzl