Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council | www.forbes.com
Technology executives have seen their role shift drastically over the last decade. Today’s tech execs perform a more public-facing role and are responsible for a lot more of the company’s customer-facing persona. Many tech execs, however, never thought they would be in such a public position. Technology degrees have done little to prepare them for being more of a public relations executive that one that deals with technology.
To help, 10 members of Forbes Technology Council share how they adapted to such a different landscape, and offer strategies that can help tech execs adapt to a customer-facing role.
1. Participating In Industry Boards And Conferences
My company focuses on a visible leader/expert approach where our leadership joins various industry boards and participates in conferences by speaking on a specific subject matter. To fulfill this role, I am on various curriculum advisory boards for local educational institutions, the treasurer of an industry consortium and have spoken/presented at various industry conferences. – Michael Hoyt, Life Cycle Engineering, Inc.
2. Drafting And Issuing Press Releases
My company is not known for exciting, press release worthy news. However, in today’s fast-paced, highlight-reel world, even industrial scales can have exciting developments that require me to reflect on my industry and provide a response to a curious consumer base. – Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales
3. Serving As An Expert
Open source software, developer communities and partnership ecosystems have changed the role of tech execs toward more public-facing activities. As a software company serving telcos and an expanding enterprise ecosystem, we’ve taken a central role in forums such as the Linux Foundation and industry conferences. We also share thought leadership through social media and with various publications. – Marc Price, MATRIXX Software
4. Building And Nurturing Customer Trust
We build trusting relationships with our executives customers so they can be public champions for our brand by providing references and testimonials for prospects. This requires constant nurturing. Establishing and maintaining these relationships is hard work, but when done right, everyone wins. Customers know we are committed to their success and they reciprocate by endorsing us to buyers. – Saryu Nayyar, Gurucul
5. Connecting With Customers Beyond The Product
Software and tech is becoming more competitive than ever before. It’s not enough to have a good product. You need to build a strong brand reputation and presence in the market. Have an active social channel and form connections at events. Ensure that your core values are reflected in all brand moments. Given the composition of the industry, relying on product alone isn’t going to cut it. – Ryan Chan, UpKeep Maintenance Management
6. Providing Good Customer Service
I believe engaging with customers and prospects should be a major part of any executive’s job. You trust your team to keep the lights on and innovate, but beyond your people, customers and prospects are the next most crucial factors for success. Strong relationships help you better understand the needs of your customers and prospects, enabling you to go above and beyond in serving them. – Adam Rogers, Ultimate Software
7. Telling The Story Behind The Product
People have always liked stories and feel more comfortable when they know how it works, along with what it does. A relatively recent trend is to tell the tech story behind the product. Involvement of tech stories varies from just a blog post to an integral part of product release. Telling your users the tech stories behind your product is a good way to boost their loyalty and your reputation. – Vikram Joshi, pulsd
8. Showing How Your Company Innovates
There are several main mediums we use to boost the company’s reputation. Our tech experts regularly present at tech conferences, contribute to open-source projects, as well as write tech blog posts. The strategy for these is one and the same: focus on things that improve our clients’ lives and are technically awesome, so they can show how our company innovates. – Ivailo Nikolov, SiteGround
9. Enabling Increased Transparency
Increasing transparency is forcing companies in nearly every industry to provide the public with more insight into what goes on behind closed doors. We’re now looking at public-facing roles for execs in engineering, legal, finance and QA, among other areas. This is a good thing and organizations should welcome the opportunity to tell a broader story about themselves. – RJ Bardsley, Earnin
10. Taking Part In The Recruitment Process
It has never been a more competitive market for good tech talent. It’s on you as an executive to take the necessary steps to attract the right people to your organization. Part of that means creating visibility about the projects you are working on and the people you are looking for. Blogging or guest posting about company culture, technology and company philosophy is extremely useful. – Patrick Ambron, BrandYourself