Sales people should be involved in technology projects, especially when new products are being developed, according to Mark Ridley, technology director at jobs website Reed.co.uk.
Ridley told V3 that the importance of commercial awareness in product development is a lesson he took from one of his organisation's internal hack days during which new ideas and methodologies are tested.
"One idea was to run a hack day with archetypes, rather than the normal job roles like developers and project managers. So we called someone a 'hacker', then we had a 'hustler', a 'creative' and a 'visionary'."
These roles came from Ridley's analysis of research from McKinsey and Quora, among others.
"We analysed this research to try to work out the perfect startup team. So we said a hacker is broadly a full-stack developer, almost a mini-CTO. The creative will be a designer, possibly focusing on the front end. The visionary is potentially the CEO role, the person with a clear idea of what needs to be achieved," he said.
"And a hustler is the person who has the ability to sell, to be able to pick up a phone or stand in front of people. There's a tendency in technology to think sales people are a completely different species, and potentially they are, but the importance of having someone with those skills in any project is critical."
Ridley explained that the hustler role added so much value to technology projects that sales people are now involved early on in all development projects at Reed.co.uk.
"Now we involve sales people very early in projects because they're the ones who can tell you if a product will sell. You can give a developer almost any project and if they love it they'll continue to work on it, but you can't give a sales person something that won't sell," he said.
"They won't just fall in love with the product. They want to know their targets and how they can make money. So the demands of just having a sales person in the team make any product much more commercially focused right from the beginning."
The push to create new roles is part of the digital transformations going in many organisations. V3 is looking to celebrate these people with the V3 Digital Technology Leaders Awards for digital talent and projects.
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