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Real Life Pitfalls in Technology Management

(This post originally appeared on LinkedIn here)

A few days ago we published the roles required for a company as they make their journey through the 5 maturity levels to reach market leadership. In a series of posts we will be covering real life pitfalls based on personal experience and this one covers what we call Technology Management

Pitfall #1: Doing open ended and/or unattended Proof of Concepts (POC)

It almost sounds too simple but the reality is it happens way too often. Just doing a POC without a plan and structure, sometimes even without supporting the technical team of the prospect during the POC carries high risks. It will take much longer than necessary because it allows the prospect to spend their time elsewhere. Even if you believe your product or service is very intuitive, no support during the POC will lead to an overwhelming or frustrating experience.

Pitfall #2: Talking to all prospects who talk back to you

Deal qualification is usually owned by sales which might be the reason for this pitfall. Especially in Maturity Level 1, where the company doesn’t have a mature sales function yet, you’re wasting time and energy interacting with prospects who might have a technically interesting use case but belong to the wrong customer segment. Imagine you’re in Level 1 and a Public Sector (PS) prospect wants to engage. You shouldn’t do it because PS requires a rather formal purchasing process including things like Request for Proposal with a list of references or special compliance requirements (like FedRamp) that you don’t have.

Pitfall #3: Wrong assumptions about the most important person in the room

This pitfall is real across all maturity levels. It is assuming that the most vocal person who is asking the most questions is the most important person in the room. In fact, powerful people are often rather quiet.

Pitfall #4: Say all that you know about a subject

Similar to the saying about sales people “when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail” there is a common behavior amongst technical experts. They say everything they know about a subject once a question is asked without specifically providing the subset of their know-how that is directly answering the specific question.

Pitfall #5: Assuming everybody in the room knows what you know

Well, the prospects didn’t have days of product training like you did. They didn’t conduct tens or hundreds of projects with your product or service. They also don’t have access to your company’s developers. How can you expect that they know what you know and that they see the world through your eyes?

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