Selling the Hybrid Cloud Solution
- Valuable Skills Every IT Consultant Needs

See also: Customer Service Skills

Much of the work involved in IT consulting is convincing clients that they should make the leap to a new technology or solution that will streamline their operations, save them money and benefit their employees.

This can be taxing, because while your technical expertise and understanding of cutting-edge developments might be extensive, conveying the selling points to a non-technical audience involves a lot of other skills.

Let’s look at what these skills are, both in the specific context of selling the idea of migrating to a hybrid cloud setup, and more broadly when guiding clients down an advantageous route to embracing a new technology.

Five people attending a relaxed business meeting on sofas with a whiteboard.

Presentation skills

All sorts of professions require good presentation skills, but IT consultants will find more use for these than most.

You have to be comfortable speaking in front of an audience, and you need to be capable of getting across the point you are trying to make even when addressing non-experts.

This involves a combination of other skills, from being able to construct a coherent and engaging presentation in the first place, to combating nervousness that you might feel before you get started.

For example, let’s say that you want to explain the benefits of hybrid cloud observability to a client who has only a surface level understanding of the ins and outs of their IT infrastructure. In your preparations for the presentation, you should take care to write clearly and concisely, with minimal technical language, while also harnessing multimedia elements and data visualization to show how modern solutions can benefit their business.

It’s also important to be present in the room, psychologically speaking, rather than going into autopilot when you’re giving your talk. This will allow you to detect the mood of the audience, determine whether you are being understood, and potentially pinpoint the moment at which you need to switch gears, provide additional information, or move on to accepting questions.

Another point to make is that presentation skills go hand in hand with communication skills. You have to be capable of making your point, as well as of listening to clients and hearing what they have to say, rather than letting their comments roll off you without soaking in.

Project management skills

You might only see your role as an IT consultant on a hybrid cloud migration project as purely to provide the initial impetus a client needs to take the plunge. However, it’s worth developing project management skills which can be put to good use during the planning phase.

Big picture thinking is all well and good, but with the potential to plot out and oversee a project of this scope and scale, you will have an easier time of not only telling a client why they should adopt a new solution, but how they can go about achieving this from start to finish.

If you are looking to build a closer relationship with clients and perhaps work with them in a more hands-on way, rather than purely as a consultant, showcasing your project management prowess sooner rather than later is wise.

Observational skills

Clients won’t benefit from a cookie cutter approach to cloud adoption advice; they need bespoke guidance to get projects up and running, and it’s down to IT consultants to identify pain points as well as opportunities in their current setup to help sell them on a new route forward.

Again, there are several other skills tied up with this process, such as problem solving and communication. Having excellent analytical abilities will aid you here as well, since it's crucial to be objective when reviewing the state of play, and to use this standpoint to gain insights that a client could not access internally.

Basically, you don’t want to find yourself in a position where you’re telling a client something they already know. Instead, your insights have to be fresh and based on empirical evidence, rather than plucked out of a standard playbook, or put together without due care and attention.

Decision-making skills

Business leaders will rely on IT consultants to give them a clear, unambiguous idea on the direction that their company should take when procuring new systems and solutions.

In the case of hybrid cloud migration, your ability to not just spot issues that need fixing but also make decisions about how to go about this will make a big difference to the value you bring to the table.

It’s all well and good to present as many ideas as you can come up with, but lots of clients will prefer quality over quantity. Being decisive and confident in your capabilities is a state of mind that will rub off on clients, and prevent projects from being built on wishy-washy foundations, which are prone to crumbling.

Time management skills

Some IT projects can rumble on for a long time, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to be lax in terms of how you manage your time as a consultant.

Indeed, in the instance that hybrid cloud migration is on the cards, every moment counts. This is because in order to get the competitive edge, businesses have to take the initiative and move away from only relying on in-house hardware.

Being punctual and proactive, rather than slow to respond and passive in handling your client’s needs, will help you stand out from the crowd. Don’t just wait for them to push things forward, but take the lead and demonstrate just how much of a go-getter you are by using apps to help you.

Wrapping up

It’s no mean feat to convince clients that they need to make a major change to their IT infrastructure, especially if they have been hesitant about cloud adoption up until this point.

Hybrid cloud migration is an easier sell than most, but it still requires IT consultants to use all the skills at their disposal to succeed. If you feel that you are lacking in any of the aforementioned areas, now is the time to work on making improvements.

About the Author

Cristina Par is a content specialist with a passion for writing articles that bridge the gap between brands and their audiences. She believes that high-quality content plus the right link building strategies can turn the tables for businesses small and large.