Innovation happens because an individual or a company is seeking ways to make work easier, move faster and make better use of their resources to outpace and outperform their competition and provide a better overall customer experience.
Up until recently, the key to innovation for professional services businesses was to attract and retain the best talent, and adapt to changing expectations of their workforce. For example, new generations have brought with them some significant cultural shifts as they’ve entered the workforce with a new set of expectations for what work should be. Professional services businesses have had to adapt and be flexible in terms of where and how their employees work to accommodate this shift.
While these cultural shifts are still important, as more and more professional services organizations have adopted flexible work environments, they’re no longer enough for a business to truly be considered innovative.
So what makes a professional services organization innovative in today’s competitive landscape?
The services businesses that are leading the way have implemented technology in the form of Professional Services Automation (PSA).
A strong PSA solution gives every member of a professional services organization the tools, insights, and transparency they need to make better decisions faster. Efficiency also increases with project management tools that allow collaboration, document management, budget and resource planning, and tracking of deliverables.
As for financing, PSA can typically manage projects, accounts payable and receivable, corporate profit and loss, and automated billing.
Moreover, some PSA systems offer real-time metrics to give a clear picture of a business’s health, supporting better decision making.
As a business leader, PSA solutions have the potential to simplify operations and give you time and greater control of your core business operations. Once a PSA platform is live, you and your team will have access to accurate information to support precise and rapid decision-making. This is the true power of PSA, as it can move you ahead of your competition and position your business as a leader in your industry.
Too often companies implement CRM, Enterprise Financials, and HR solutions without investing in the heart to tie it all together. The heart is a PSA solution to sync all the various systems to one another to improve not only project planning and execution but performance in all areas of a business. The innovative professional services organizations who have grasped this concept and implemented a PSA solution have been found by Aberdeen Research as 3 times more likely to become best-in-class businesses.
For any business that runs on Salesforce, utilization is key to getting the most out of the software — and maybe even out of your business. Because of this, many companies take advantage of Salesforce consulting.
We’ve compiled a few reasons you and your company may want to consider bringing in a Salesforce expert to ensure your CRM is doing everything it can to help your business.
1. Greater Utilization
Perhaps the most popular reason companies turn to Salesforce consulting is to ensure their employees know how to use Salesforce as well as possible. This can start with the implementation phase, but it can also be very impactful after the initial training and installation. In many cases, utilization sessions can significantly improve efficiency since the team already has a few months of experience with the software. Additionally, consultants are experts because they know more about the software than the average user. If there are functions you and your employees don’t understand, a consultant is a great person to ask for those tips and tricks. Consultants are also great if you just want best practices for how to use the system to its fullest potential.
2. To Onboard New Employees
As your company expands with new hires, you’ll also have new employees who may be either partially or wholly unfamiliar with Salesforce — and even if they have used it before, they won’t be familiar with your company’s distinct processes and use of the tool. A consultant can help your organization define its onboarding processes, essentially training your trainers. That way, you have internal, long-term resources available for getting new employees up and running. This also gives you existing refresher courses for any employees who may need refreshers or to be cross-trained on Salesforce.
3. Expansion to New Departments
For many businesses, Salesforce serves as a broader tool than just a CRM tool for sales. A consultant with a deep knowledge of the software can show you how to expand its use for your business. Salesforce is the number one CRM application and sales force productivity application. However, because of the many additional tools which integrate with or are built natively on the platform, the options are nearly limitless for what can be managed in Salesforce. For a service-based business, this should include professional services automation such as that from Klient Software. Klient offers a PSA system that’s built natively on the Salesforce platform, and it provides accounting, project management, document management, resource management, and even invoicing services, just to name a few. Besides getting more out of your investment with Salesforce, you’ll have greater visibility and management capabilities by having sales, service, and business office data managed from one central location. (For more reasons to use a PSA system built on Salesforce, check out our previous post.)
To ensure you’re getting the broadest use out of Salesforce, make sure any consultants you hire have experience with the many additional tools your organization may want to use on the Salesforce platform.
4. Better ROI
A consultant will be familiar with ways similar companies have generated ROI from their investment, including better overall utilization, adoption, and retention. Additionally, if your service-based business is utilizing a PSA system within Salesforce, your entire business stands to gain from decreased turnaround times, greater interdepartmental visibility on clients and their projects, and better reporting. This can all lead back to Salesforce — and a consultant who can teach you how to use it like a pro — being a great investment in your business.
Whether your organization is already using Salesforce or you’re about to start, consider hiring an expert consultant to show you and your employees how to navigate the system like pros. Everyone will have a better sense of what the software can do to streamline, organize, and even increase your service-based business’ work capacity.
To get even more out of the system, combine the power of Salesforce with the power of the right PSA system to manage all your business’ professional services with additional automation. That will keep you — and your customers — even happier.
If you’re building a service-centric business, delivery to your clients is at the core of what you do.
It isn’t just about product inventory or what object you can create — you’re providing a service, one you hope customers feel they can’t get anywhere else.
To keep your clients happy and coming back for more, one of the best ways to increase revenue and reduce costs is to implement a Professional Services Automation system. (We’ve previously written about SPI Research’s study showing PSA services dramatically increase results — check that out here.)
If you need a few more reasons to consider implementing a robust PSA system in your organization, here are a few ways the right PSA can improve what your customers receive and how your employees deliver it.
1. Increased Utilization
Growing your service business is easier when utilization of internal systems improves. When your company adopts an end-to-end PSA system, teams across the entire business will have easy access to a tool that helps them track and manage their portion of delivery. Modern PSA solutions include improvements to target utilization thresholds, intuitive time-off calculations, and reporting by project, practice, region, and role.
A system exists for a reason, and adherence to it will ensure your internal teams are working at full capacity while giving leadership a better picture of what goes on for each customer’s service delivery.
2. Better Sales Projections
The more your organization uses a PSA system, the more information your leaders will have to plan for where your organization is heading. A service organization can implement a PSA solution that envelops the following facets of the business:
- Calendar management
- Document management
- Expense tracking
- Project management
- Resource management
When leadership has full visibility to all of those functions from one convenient system, projections and planning become much simpler to forecast.
3. Higher Productivity (and Billable Hours)
There are a few ways a service organization can grow billable hours with the implementation of a PSA solution. For one, employee time spent tracking projects and hours can become simpler when using PSA — so they have more time to actually spend delivering on projects. More time spent on projects means more billable hours. For another, communication about each project becomes simpler when various departments across the organization are all tapped into one central system. Communication is easier, and less back and forth needs to be done since each department has direct access to customer information. This reduces the need for questions in the first place and allows each team to get right to work. Finally, visibility increases across the organization for each customer’s projects. If there is a problem, firefighting becomes much more pinpointed. Bottlenecks become apparent when each project is visible across all departments, saving time and resources to get it back on track.
You want your teams to spend their time working on services for which you can bill your customers — make resolving issues as simple as possible.
4. Better Win Rates and Happier Customer Conversions
The visibility and access inherent with a PSA solution can also contribute to the success of your sales team. Krow Software is built natively on Salesforce, giving your sales team a host of advantages that comes from the end-to-end integration of PSA. Leadership will be able to pinpoint which services are most profitable (and therefore be able to target which services should be sold). And, salespeople will have greater visibility into prior customer successes, contributing to a greater understanding of what makes your organization’s services great. This will give them the ability to more accurately sell your services, setting better customer expectations and positioning the prospect-to-customer transition for success.
Your prospects will then be able to transition seamlessly to customers without the gaps that are present when using multiple software systems.
5. Happier Employees
When a system is easy to use, the end users benefit. In a service organization that’s utilizing a PSA system, the end users who benefit are your employees. Rather than siloing each department into their own software or project management system, having one centralized automation system for tracking prospects, conversions, customer projects, and even accounting makes the job of each of your employees that much simpler. When employees are happier, your organization becomes a better place to work, giving recruits and applicants even more reason to want to work for your company. This can lead to faster, higher-quality growth as your organization expands its human resources to meet increased customer loads and expanding service offerings.
Everyone wins when PSA is implemented well, including the organization.
Growing your service business can be accomplished in various ways, but you can take a huge leap forward by adding a PSA solution to help you manage your organization from the inside out.
Get more information about the #1 PSA for fast-growing companies here.
How does Professional Services Automation (PSA) differ from project management (PM) software? And how can you choose the right comprehensive solution to run your business?
Here are a few key differentiators between PSA and PM.
1. PSA Puts Customers at the Center Instead of Projects
With project management software, the emphasis is on projects. PM software helps you track tasks and collaborate so employees can keep up with their day-to-day work. Your customers may see the end result of your internal team’s work, but that could be incidental. A PM tool could be purchased solely for the benefit of your employees, regardless of how it affects your customer experience. Professional service automation (PSA) puts customers at the center. The focus is on optimizing the client’s experience, not just on tracking individual tasks.
Because the system has multiple touchpoints with the customer’s experience, employees have greater access to customer information across the board, while customers feel more taken care of across the entire scope of your business.
2. PSA Connects the Front Office to Sales and Service Delivery
Beside providing your customer with an better end-to-end experience, a PSA system provides your employees with much better visibility across the entire service delivery pipeline. The front office, the back office, and every service employee in between can see what the other departments have contributed to the customer’s account, whether that’s contact information, projects working and delivered, or expectations for future services.
3. PSA Integrates Seamlessly From CRM to Accounting
Many PSA or PM systems can integrate with your CRM. But many of them also aren’t easily set up, a problem that usually results in service delivery being run separately from the CRM. A great PSA will include a strong PM feature set and integrate closely with your CRM. Klient Software is built natively within Salesforce, meaning integration isn’t a concern — it’s built to run together from the outset.
From the moment a customer is entered into the CRM as a contact, everything can run seamlessly with the PSA.
4. PSA Generates Revenue
Professional services automation systems are particularly helpful for generating revenue, for a few reasons. If you have billable hours or services and you’re using a Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) system, having a PSA system to help you adjust profitability, margin, bookings, and revenue on the fly can lead to easier and greater revenue increases.
Additionally, SPI Research recently conducted an ROI study on professional services automation. The results found that a $200,000 investment in software and implementation could lead to nearly $23 million in increased revenue and reduced costs, based on a firm of 172 people — an ROI of 115 times the initial investment.
5. PSA Includes Many Other Modules Beyond Project Management
Professional services automation isn’t just different from project management — it encompasses it. But PSA also encompasses many other services and modules. This includes (but is not limited to) time entry, billing, invoicing, CPQ, proposals, document management, expense tracking, calendar management, revenue recognition, forecasting, and customer communities.
Because PSA includes so many more options than just project management, it’s capable of replacing many more systems than just PM.
Conclusion: PSA Is an End-to-End Service Delivery Solution
The right PSA system for your organization can provide or replace a PM-only tool while providing many additional solutions for your business. And because all of these tools work together within one PSA, everyone at your organization will have greater access to your customers’ information.
That means more profitable client engagements, increased customer retention, and more revenue over the life of the customer, just by using the right PSA system.
Klient Software has been identified as one of the best Canadian software tech companies, based on its high levels of customer satisfaction and likeliness to recommend ratings from real G2 users on their Klient PSA platform.
The state of Canada report recognized Klient Software and 24 other Canadian SaaS and service companies as the leaders of the country’s tech scene. Overall the report covered over 114 Canadian companies.
Read the entire report to see the trends and how Klient Software is contributing to the overall state of the B2B Canadian tech scene.
About G2 Inc.
G2 is the world’s leading business solution review platform, leverages more than 290,000 user reviews to drive better purchasing decisions. Business professionals, buyers, investors, and analysts use the site to compare and select the best software and services based on peer reviews and synthesized social data. Every month, nearly one million people visit G2 site to gain unique insights. G2 aims to bring authenticity and transparency to the business marketplace. For more information, go to G2Crowd.com.
As you make your transition, here are 8 easy steps you can take in the first few weeks to help you be successful:
1. Get to Know the Company’s PSA or PM Software
Your first task is to make yourself familiar with your new company’s professional services automation (PSA) or project management (PM) tool. This will be the hub of all your activities as a consultant. It’s also your best source of information for your new territory or any existing clients you’ll be taking over. If your company has a manual or training for the software, read it or watch the videos. The more familiar you are with the software, the better off you’ll be.
2. Set Up Google Alerts for Key Clients and Prospects
For your major accounts and prospects, set up Google alerts for their business name and company owner. If those companies have email newsletters, subscribe to those as soon as you can as well. If they show up in the news, you’ll be the first to know about it, and you can react accordingly. Did your biggest client just get profiled in the local business journal? Reach out and congratulate them. Did the owner just sell the business to his biggest competitor? Time to call on the new owner.
3. Gather Basic Financial Data for Clients
Is your client a publicly traded company? Look them up on Yahoo Finance. You’ll find the company’s public financial statements, which are a treasure trove of information if you know how to read them. Publicly traded companies often have an investor page buried somewhere on their site. Reading the quarterly and annual investor reports can tell you a lot about management’s plans for the future.
4. Research Your Major Competitors
Next, spend some time getting to know the people you’ll be competing against. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? You can glean a sense of the competition’s sales strategies by reading through the notes in your company’s PSA or PM system. But you should also ask your new manager and teammates what they think of the competitors in your field. They’ll have insights beyond what makes it into the official client notes in the computer.
5. Find a Good Restaurant (or Three!)
Every good consultant knows a few good restaurants. Ideally, you want go-to places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If your clients are the type that socialize for drinks after-hours, then finding a good bar is essential too. Look for places that will allow you to have a good conversation with a client or coworker if needed—one where you don’t feel rushed to leave as soon as the meal is over. This isn’t just for client meetings—although that’s part of it. As the newest member of the team, it might be your job to pick the restaurant the next time your team heads out for lunch.
6. Review All Pre-written Messages (Proofread if Needed)
The PSA or PM system you’ll be using probably has a library of pre-written content. As soon as you can, find the library and proofread everything you find. If you find errors, correct them. If they’re templates that you can’t change on your own, take them to your supervisor so they can get fixed. This will ensure you have messages you can use when needed—and it will create a great first impression with your supervisor.
7. Connect with Everyone Who Touches Your Clients
Is there a salesperson who works with your client? A service team? Find out who works with your clients and start building relationships with those people. Let them know you’re available to help anytime the client has a need. Building these relationships early will help ensure things aren’t happening at your client that you’re not aware of.
8. Make Friends With Any and All Admins
Finally, make friends with any administrative staffers in your company that work with your team. These are the people who enter data into the computer, schedule appointments with your clients, and keep track of who’s supposed to be doing what. They often have tremendous power to either help or hurt you. They also know all the shortcuts and can be a tremendous resource if you need something or have a question. Need reimbursement for travel expenses but don’t have the right form? Can’t find the phone number of a key prospect? Not sure how something works in the PSA system? Admins can usually help. Making friends with them now will go a long way to ensuring a smooth transition into your new position.
Time to shine at your new consulting job!