Why Executive Touchpoints are Crucial for Successful Consulting Projects

By Lauren Keepers

When re-engineering day-to-day business processes or a company’s core stack of solutions, the head honcho’s involvement is always warranted, especially when CRM changes are on the table. But during such projects, leadership presence isn’t always known at the critical moments where it’s needed the most, which can pose a potential threat to the results of the final solution.

Here are the three reasons why well-planned executive touchpoints are crucial for a successful digital transformation project outcome:  

#1 | A More Hybrid, Strategic Vision

Transparent communication and 360-degree organizational views never fail to yield diversified, solution-oriented thought processes. Within any given project phase, each department is expected to identify its priority objectives. But experienced executives typically have the natural inclination to make quick and efficient decisions that contribute to a holistic, cohesive vision regarding the project’s implications. Their weigh-in becomes key in establishing big picture project success benchmarks through a dedicated checks and balances system that applies desired form and function to each individual project phase, while eliminating extraneous and competing employee project requests.

For example, when working to visualize and evaluate the state of a client’s sales opportunity pipeline, it’s standard for consultants to identify, boil up and streamline the in-the-weeds CRM wishlist items conveyed by staff and the core mission sought out by leadership behind the curtain. At this point in time, it’s beneficial for executives to offer rigidity in project goal prioritization – first comes pipeline improvement, then comes advanced lead generation as part of an automated marketing plan.

For any project, we’re always in the weeds with our client teams, so it becomes the consultant’s duty to provide the client’s senior leadership, C-level included, with the nitty gritty details surrounding daily progress and objectives, in order to accurately assess organizational conditions and procure boom-goes-the-dynamite results.

#1b (Bonus!) | Ongoing Project Checks & Balances System

Every organization who plans to partner with a consulting team needs to internally align on the way assigned deadlines are managed, resources are allocated and hours are governed throughout the course of the project. At minimum, leadership members can be expected to effectively enable their internal project assignments and prevent risk for rogue project reorientation or spur-of-the-moment goal establishment (in consulting we refer to this as the moving goal post scenario) by limiting their team to its own influence and taking the stance of a trusted escalation point.

#2 | Nurture Creative Problem Solving Skills Around Project Roadblocks

What’s often overlooked in consulting projects is a company’s ability to become a key player in the creative thinking that powers the project delivery process. Innovation is always a collaborative affair, but to clarify, this does not mean that a consulting team will lean on client leadership expertise for end solution design and/or deliverables. That remains in the consulting experts’ hands. Rather, we’re referring to taking advantage of the open forum meetings where a consultant reviews which project challenges require an immediate focus and resolve on account of the client. This could include items like needing access to the right technical resources or facetime with the appropriate decision maker in order to gain approvals.

In these instances, executives will have the opportunity to present themselves as a face of support when it comes to generating ideas to support the resolution of these roadblocks. Whether those ideas fall under unstructured brainstorming sessions or structured ideation processes that contribute to lateral thinking frameworks, both thought stream techniques are critical to getting the creative juices flowing and generating a lucrative channel for solution-focused dialogue with the consulting team.

#3 | Increased Internal Buy-In From the Beginning

When a leadership team announces they’re planning on overhauling day-to-day business operations, it isn’t something that’s typically received lightly by employees. Embracing change can be difficult on both sides of the coin, no matter which way you flip it. In order to encourage optimal levels of user adoption post-solution success, leadership should take proactive measures to help ensure a successful project outcome through consistent facetime with internal employees and frequent engagement within consultant-facing meetings. The occasional positive reinforcement toward their internal employees never hurts either. Whether higher-up presence is warranted in a discovery session, a weekly status report standup, an approval and sign-off meeting or a larger group discussion, the point is, it’s warranted. And with frequent executive communication and endorsement, the odds of receiving employee buy-in on future projects will skyrocket.

“The biggest value an executive member can provide to ensure project success is running their sales organization directly off of the solution that their consulting team configured.” – Eric Stolzmann, Senior Consultant & Process Manager

For instance, once a company has entered user adoption phase, it is the responsibility of executives to immediately and frequently begin utilizing the new solution by reviewing and analyzing dashboard metrics. If a sales rep is claiming they expect to receive $45K in gross quarterly commission earnings, then those numbers should all be properly reflected within their CRM system. Proactive appraisal on behalf of CEOs, CMOs and CFOs takes on a primary role of playing an important motivational agent within the user adoption phase from the get-go. How? Because executives can’t see what they can’t see. So if they don’t see trackable, systematic opportunity logs to accompany commission claims, then no commission claims will be issued. This also reinforces more accuracy within employee performance reviews.

Ready to step into business process management bliss and learn more about why your executive involvement in cloud solution building matters? Contact one of our consulting experts today.

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