Meet Chris Huntingford, Dynamics CRM Solution Architect & PreSales consultant
Experience: 6+ years of Dynamics CRM experience
Projects desired: Full-time/part-time
Would consider full time employment!
Markets: UK, preferably around Reading, Berkshire, UK
Other interests: keen blogger, very social enjoys interacting with people, loves technology, travelling and exploring.
Take a look at Chris’s profile and CV on 365 Freelance .
- Elena from 365 Freelance: You are South African and moved to the UK recently. I can understand why as we have such a shortage of skilled Dynamics CRM consultants in this market – you must be on high demand. What are you looking for in your next project and what kind of clients are you after?
Chris: I really enjoy PreSales – concepts such as understanding the key requirements, running workshops to highlight how Dynamics can fit the needs, explaining to clients how both business and functional aspects of the CRM platform work and what benefits it brings.
As a next step in my career, I would like to further expand my vertical knowledge, specifically building on my knowledge so far in FS, Insurance, Property, Construction Health & Safety – these are of great interest for me but I am also open to others.
I always look for challenging projects – and working in a team is key for me.
In terms of location, I enjoy travelling but as I am new to the UK, for my next project I would prefer something not too far from the Reading area.
- Elena: You have great communication skills and are very proactive and passionate about Dynamics CRM. These soft skills are something that all clients find hard to measure and difficult to assess during an interview. What would you advise our readers to do to help them in the interview process?
Chris: There are 2 elements to this question, both from the Interviewing panel as well as the person being interviewed.
Everyone has different ways of interviewing but here is my advice for interviewers to get the most out of their conversations with potential employees:
- First get to know the person, not just the professional. You can do that by asking general questions in the beginning that are not related to the role. Things like: What do you enjoy the most? What is your focus outside work? How do you interact with people? This will make the consultant more relaxed and they will should open up – many people often feel more comfortable when they talk about themselves.
- After that ask them questions about the product, see how they explain the benefits, not just the functionality. Enquire about how they would deal with an audience.
- Invite them for a second interview and get them to run a demo or explain how they would run a project.
This process can really help you establish if the consultant has the soft skills you are after. From the point of view of the person being interviewed I have applied a number of rules when being interviewed. Firstly, always be honest. If you aren’t honest, it will be soon found out when it comes to crunch time in the working environment. Secondly, be yourself. You will be working with these people for hopefully, a long time, if you put on an act every day then it really isn’t worth your while. Interviewees understand that certain personalities will fit in with different elements of the business. Thirdly, remember that not only is the company interviewing you, you are also interviewing the company. Do not be afraid to ask questions. It also shows enthusiasm and interest. Don’t work somewhere if you aren’t comfortable.
- Elena: Many Dynamics partners are starting to realise that hiring PreSales consultants on a freelance basis can be great for winning the next big opportunity. Traditionally only more established partners could afford a full time PreSales resource and instead would use the functional or technical consultants they currently have on the bench – which makes some sense but is not always effective. Now through our service they can hire a PreSales consultant whenever needed. What are the advantages of having a PreSales contractor versus using your own full time consultants?
Chris: OK, I can see two parts to this question.
The first one deals with what a PreSales person should do. They are the bridge between Sales and Operations and need to map the business needs to the product, and the other way around. This is a key skill. The PreSales consultant needs to be able to address and enable this mindset change. The client isn’t only buying a product – you are selling something that changes the way people think and do business. A functional or technical consultant might not always be able to address this in the best way as they can tend to focus more on implementing something than conveying how things might enable change.
The other aspect of the question is about using a contractor versus a full time consultant. The experience a Contractor will bring is generally broader than using in-house consultants as they generally will have worked for longer, on different projects, with different firms, so will have a wider view of what is possible and what works.
- Elena: What do you like about the 365 Freelance concept?
Chris: 365 Freelance makes it easier for Dynamics consultants to promote themselves and find opportunities. Very few technical people know how to do that successfully.
There are, of course, tools like LinkedIn, but they are not focussed purely on one area and won’t help you market yourself as effectively in the Dynamics space as 365 freelance will – it’s hard to stand out and differentiate when they are not specifically aimed at our market. You publish your profile and then you have to do lots more to reach out to people individually.
365 Freelance is different as it is all you do, so you help promote Dynamics freelancers much more than other sites.
About us: 365 Freelance is the first online platform that gives Dynamics partners and end-users instant access to hundreds of contractors. With a network spanning 72 countries, it allows companies to search for freelancers based on their skills, rates and available dates, enabling them to find the best person for their projects without incurring the hefty fees typical of recruitment agencies. Register here – www.365freelance.com