Written by: Lee Farabaugh, Core10 Co-founder & President
Have you ever felt that it’s tough to find the right mix of skills for your implementation team?
If you’re searching for the right implementation specialist for your next rollout, you may have discovered that finding someone with technical savvy, business acumen, organization, and attention to detail is like trying to find a unicorn.
We know what that feels like and, as Jim McKelvey says, “we all know unicorns are extinct.”
You may have initially staffed your team with developers who understand the product inside and out. Maybe you hired business school grads who know about your corner of the industry.
After a while, though, no matter how great those hires were, you probably noticed some issues.
Your implementation specialist may be gifted at solving technical challenges and troubleshooting but is reluctant to communicate with the client.
Or perhaps you have the opposite problem. Perhaps your implementation specialist is all about client meetings and regular communication but doesn’t have a firm grasp on the product or the timeline.
Either of these scenarios, in the long run, can cost you business and damage your brand.
If you’ve been doing this for any amount of time, you know: It takes a specific kind of person, with a specific set of skills to lead an implementation team.
The best implementation specialists have the trifecta: a strong communication and project management focus, a strong financial services background, and a strong technical background.
They’re talking with the client, working with them, hearing their needs, and constantly problem solving for a variety of issues.
Implementation specialists are communication gurus:
Implementation specialists need to have a gift for gab. This isn’t just about the friendly chit-chat that starts every client call (which is important too). They must be fluent in the job-specific lingo of their clients.
Even more important than the gift of gab is the art of active listening. Great implementation specialists are expert level listeners. They listen well, ask for clarification, and check that they understand the client’s priorities.
Clear, consistent two-way communication equips the implementation specialist to make decisions in their client’s best interests.
Implementation specialists are project management royalty:
Implementation specialists need to be expert project managers. This is non-negotiable. Good implementation specialists are organized, they make spinning ten plates look like child’s play, they know how to get stuff done, troubleshoot, and prioritize on the fly.
Good implementation specialists can tell the difference between a problem and a capital-P Problem. Great implementation specialists know which one they need to deal with first. That takes boss level project management skill.
Implementation specialists are technically savvy:
As for technical skill, in the world of implementations, technical means different things to different clients. To some, it means they need someone to migrate data. For others, they may need someone who understands engineering language well enough to translate it for the sales team. Or the client might want somebody who can do fancy stuff with Excel. It depends on the job.
It’s nice to have someone with development chops on the team. They know how to create scripts to automate processes, they can spot a bug at 100 paces, and they are always thinking about how to improve the product programmatically.
It’s also nice to have someone with a business background. They can speak your customer’s language, they are focused on optimizing business processes, and they are always thinking about the bottom line.
We have found nirvana with a team that shares all the skills we mentioned above. And when you find that team, it helps your sales. Why? Because when push comes to shove, the implementation process is a key part of the sales process. The best implementation specialists are the ones who ensure repeat business. If a client has a bad implementation experience, it casts a negative light on the whole product. Nobody wants that.
In our experience, the best implementation specialists share some key characteristics that you should look for in the interview process. And it’s not crazy to think that you can find these skills inside a single body.
We feel so strongly about this that we outlined key traits in a checklist for you. Because we’re givers. Please download our “Specialist Skill Checklist” so you know what to look for when you’re hiring implementation specialists.
If you need more help, contact us at Core10. We know how important it is to get implementation right, and we’ll work with you to find the right person for your next fintech SaaS implementation.