Top 5 Things CEOs Look For When Choosing a Technology Partner

CEOs are driven by efficiency and progress. They want to ensure their company is not missing out on opportunities that can streamline their processes and impact the bottom-line. With technology being ubiquitous, CEOs strive to leverage new-age methods to boost productivity, improve efficiency, and most importantly, respond to the needs of their customers. Hence, the need to choose a technology partner that works hand-to-hand with them towards their business goals.

CEOs prefer a technology partner who can fit into the company culture and add value. They want a technology partner who is in it for the long-term. They worry that a wrong choice can seriously set them back – literally as well as figuratively. That’s why CEOs spend so many cycles thoroughly evaluating technology partners before on-boarding them.

CEOs have a long list of standards to consider in the quest for the right technology partner. If you are aspiring to be a top company’s technology partner, you might ask yourself—just how will you position yourself as the right partner for any company?

To my mind, these are the top 5 things that CEOs look for when choosing a technology partner

Your expertise and experience are the keys to your success. It’s not enough to have aggressive sales folks that talk the talk or to have attractive promotional offers. CEOs will usually prioritize capabilities over cost. You need to communicate that you understand how your technology expertise fits into their needs and how you and your approach are going to help the company achieve their goals. You need to demonstrate your experience, through client lists, testimonials, and case studies. A portfolio of the appropriate projects will help.

CEOs are often seeking to extend their own engineering capabilities while engaging a technology partner. This is where your people will have to play at the same level as their internal engineering team. CEOs on this quest, thus prefer technology partners who have a pool of qualified, well-trained technical people with the personal experience, and the skills to match. The strong technical experience of your resources increases your chances of being selected, as CEOs know they can rely on them for delivery and quality.

Despite their risk-taking public persona, in this área at-least, CEOs are extremely risk averse people. They prefer a situation where they know what they are getting into, and dearly want to have the faith that what has been committed to them will get delivered – on time, in budget, and at the desired quality level. They will appreciate whatever you can do to create this aura of predictability. You may do this through a strong contract, well-defined processes, examples of the reports you provide your clients, and a believable promise of transparent visibility into what is going on at your end once the development kicks off.

A True Partnership
CEOs find partners who seek mutual benefit. The winning approach is one where it’s not just the technology company but the client that benefits too. From the outset, the business partnership should be more than a “money in, service rendered” relationship. Rather than just providing the bare minimum, show how you are ready to go above and beyond. Make them sure that you are willing to make their problems your own, and that you are willing to do what it takes to help them get ahead. Convince them that you are willing to take initiative, innovate, demonstrate ownership, in short, everything you would do for your own business.

Readiness for the Long Haul
As I have mentioned, this is an area where CEOs prefer not to experiment. So, if they have identified a company that has the ability to deliver to their expectations, they will likely want to form a long-term partnership. The onus is on you to drive home the point through your words, and even more than that, with your actions, that you are also in it for the long haul. Study their mission and vision and find a way to tie that into your company’s own goals. This will demonstrate your commitment and provide true value-add, rather than just a generic service provider. These CEOs want someone who has already understood the business. So even if the current opportunity is a short-term one, make sure you position your company as a potential long-term technology partner. Be the invaluable asset to CEOs. Be the calling card they won’t throw away.

CEOs have a tough job at the best of times. There are lots of tough choices to be made, and nowhere to pass the buck to when one of those choices go wrong. In this scenario when a pressing need to engage a technology business partner presents itself if you can help the CEO make the right choice, and then to prove that the decision was the right one – both you and your client stand to gain!

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