Ecommerce Software Consultants: Stereotypes Vs. Reality
Let’s face it, consultants do not always have the best reputation. Stereotypes surrounding consultants of any kind are a dime a dozen. In this article, we look at some common misconceptions about consultants and how those generalizations really aren’t valid reasons to avoid hiring an outside expert to guide your business on the road to growth and success.
Stereotypes vs. reality: Consultants
They are only looking for big fish with money to burn
Consultants are expensive!
Overbilling and under-delivering are the status quo
Extra manpower without permanent hires
Specialized resource procurement
Overall cost savings
Common consultant stereotypes
They tell you what you already know, then charge you a lot for it.
A common consultant analogy is:
“Consultants are people who borrow your watch, tell you what time it is, and then walk off with the watch. - Robert Townsend.”
That is to say, a consultant will take the information you already have readily on hand, give that information back to you in a way that may seem more palatable, and then charge you an exorbitant fee for giving you the advice you could have gleaned from data you already had.
In reality, good consultants are hired to find solutions and develop strategies for which a client has incomplete data or information. The benefit of an outside expert taking a look at the problems an organization is facing is that they are able to find different data sources and provide complete information around the problem and devise a solution that works for the client and their stakeholders.
They are only looking for big fish with money to burn
Another common misconception is that you should only hire consultants if you have a large, enterprise-sized company. Small to medium-sized businesses, even startups, can benefit from the advice and guidance of experts in the areas where their organization is not yet experienced or savvy.
In fact, consultants can be a great asset for newer businesses looking to create lasting strategies and plans for building their companies. Having a plan that enables a start-up to scale and grow, without hitting plateaus, makes sure that the business remains profitable all through its lifecycle.
“Without the ideal plan in place, growth plateaus can happen at any stage, and they cost your business money. So, the sooner you invest in a strategy that works, the sooner you’ll maximize your profit and continue growing. As far as actual costs are concerned, investing in a consultant when needed will more than pay for itself in the long run.”- Myths and Misconceptions About Consulting
Consultants are expensive! Overbilling and under-delivering are the norm
Yes, consultants are notoriously costly, especially highly specialized ones like ecommerce consultants. But, isn’t that all relative? If you were to bring on a new Chief Technical Officer (CTO) for your company, you would expect that there would be a large salary, maybe an expense allowance and more costs associated with attracting that big name to your company, correct? And then, if that person didn’t deliver on what their new roles and responsibilities are, you would let them go, never recouping the expenses you have already laid out.
A great way to get over the sticker shock of an ecommerce software consulting fee is to think of the cost as an investment in your company’s future growth. Make sure that your consultant, their team and you see eye-to-eye on deliverables and outcomes that are expected at the end of the consultation.
Take the time you need to properly assess what kind of consultant you need and talk to multiple agencies to find the perfect fit. Becky Parisotto, Director of Business Development at Acro Media touches on this and more in her article Why Companies Leverage Ecommerce Software Consultants if you are looking for great information on how to find the right ecommerce consultant.
What an ecommerce software consultant really does
Gives an outsider’s point of view
In many organizations, existing teams have been in place for a long time. Often decision fatigue and tunnel vision are two major hurdles small internal teams face. An independent eye can bring you an unbiased second opinion, help point out any stumbling blocks before you hit them and give you solutions ahead of time.
Provides extra manpower without permanent hires
Most companies operate with teams that are lean; 5 or 6 people focusing on the day to day running of the business. An ecommerce consultant can bring specific technical teams to your company on a project by project basis, eliminating having to make permanent hires.
Procures specialized help
An ecomm software consultant has access to specialists in hyper-specific areas that your in-house teams may not cover. An ecommerce software consultant can get you that technical help and expert advice in a timely and efficient manner.
Offers unbiased advice
Outsider advice and perspective can contribute to getting your internal stakeholders on board and improve the final outcome of a project. Ecommerce software consultants are not involved in your organization’s politics. They provide knowledge and experience-based input based on your project goals and have no buy-in to anything other than getting your project complete.
Contributes to overall cost savings
An ecommerce software consultant will build a plan that anticipates issues, outlines all functionality & integration requirements, and provides a clear direction for the tech team. This keeps your project stays on track, makes it easier to scale your future operations and saves you from costly rebuilds, cuts development costs and produces time savings.
Are consultants worth the investment?
Good consultants are definitely worth the investment, as outlined in Matt Gomez’s article Why Ecommerce Software Consultancy Is Worth Every Dollar. How do you know if an ecommerce consultant is a good one? The only way to know is to ask the right questions and spend time getting to know their work and talk to their references.
Vetting a consultant is a lengthy process, so our advice is to not rush it. Take the time you need to investigate all the areas you want a consultant to look into within your company and meet with multiple agencies. Contact Acro Media if you feel that your company could use an ecommerce software consultant to get your digital projects rolling or keep them moving forward.