For those who have followed Salesforce through the years, they know the #1 CRM in the world always set ambitious goals in terms of growth.
Here’s some highlights:
- Produce $1.6 trillion in new revenues for customers by 2026.
- They Expect to grow partner revenues to 3.5 times what they were in 2020
- IDC predicted the Salesforce Economy will generate 9.3 million new jobs by 2026
Salesforce realease their new research from IDC detailing how they will drive nearly 9.6 million new jobs (yes, you read that right) and more than $1.6 trillion in new revenues for customers by 2026. Following the pandemic, their focus is not only about the jobs and revenue growth, but also to provide support their partners.
The ecosystem of companies supporting Salesforce customersʼ implementations is five times as big as Salesforce itself today and will be more than six times as big
in 2026. With 2026 ecosystem revenue forecast to be 3.5 times that in 2020, the challenge will be finding talent.
The growth of cloud software2 suffered little from the pandemic, growing 22% worldwide
in 2020, while on-premises software growth fell to zero. This year, cloud-delivered
software will be 43% of the software market, and by 2026, it will be 61%.
Read the full article here.
Download a full copy of the IDC: Salesforce Economy 2021
Billable hours are the lifeblood of any professional services organization.
The more billable hours your consultants log, the more successful you’ll be!
But It’s easier said than done… For a variety of reasons, consulting and professional services firms often don’t record as many billable hours every week as they should.
If your consultants aren’t billing 30-35 hours every week, here are some things you can do to improve the numbers:
1. Clearly Communicate What’s Billable and What’s Not Billable
What’s billable and what’s not? Getting this right is one of the fastest ways to increase the number of billable hours your consultants deliver every week. Do you bill for communication time? Emails? Phone calls ahead of a consulting gig? What about the time spent preparing materials for an on-site visit? Often these activities are not billed to a client. Some of them could be billed. But only if you clearly set expectations with your clients during the sales process.
2. Use Communication Checklists
It’s easy to tell your sales staff to “clearly communicate” with prospects. It’s not easy to get them to actually follow through. The easiest way to ensure communication happens is to give your sales team a checklist of items to cover with new clients. Require that they use the checklist with every new customer, check off the boxes, and turn it in with all purchase orders. That way clients aren’t surprised (or upset) when they see the items their invoice later.
3. Take Administrative Duties Away from Consultants
Consultants are often burdened by countless administrative duties. Emails, phone calls, planning sessions, internal conference calls, quarterly check-in calls, appointment confirmation calls, and on and on.Some of these things are necessary. But some could be delegated to administrative staff. The more “non-billable” activities you can take away from your consultants, the more money they can make for you.
4. Assign Team Members Based on Skills and Availability (Not Just Assigned Accounts or Territories)
Out of convenience, leadership in many service delivery firms assign work based on territories, size-of-company, or pre-existing relationships. While common, these approaches can easily lead to major workload imbalances a your consulting or professional services team. One team members might be booked for months. Another might be sitting around watching training videos. There’s nothing wrong with training of course. But with a bit of planning, most consulting teams could do much better at allocating their resources. This is one way using a professional services automation (PSA) tool can lead to major improvements in revenue. In Klient Software’s PSA solution, resource planners can see everything they need to know to assign resources—all at a glance. Each consultant is tagged with his or her specific skill set. And a visual, drag-and-drop calendar makes it easy to make assignments—in a way that maximizes the resources you have available.
5. Enforce the Use of CRM and PSA Tools
The tools you provide your team can provide significant increases in efficiency (and revenue) if utilized. The easiest way to enforce the use of the tools you provide your team is to say: “If it’s not logged in the system, it didn’t happen. “That’s usually motivation enough to get your team to use their CRM or PSA tool—especially if they’re paid on commission or eligible for bonus pay for performance.
So… What can you Do ?
- Take some time today to evaluate the number of hours each of your consultants are billing.
- Even better, set up a regular report that tells you the average hours your consultants bill every week.
- If the average isn’t 30-35 hours per consultant, it’s likely you’re leaving money on the table. Use the tips in this article as a starting place to improve your numbers—and your revenue.
… and if you want the ultimate shorcut, why not scheduling a Klient Demo?
You’ll will see all the amazing features klient has to offer, including the one to “Make your billing easier”.
Stay sharp! – Klient team
Evaluating a new software for your business can be a challenging process.
Software tends to be a substantial investment for companies, and as such, requires a comprehensive evaluation process to ensure the right product is selected. Choosing the incorrect software can be costly for a business, so it is important to evaluate options thoroughly in order to make the best selection possible and choose a software that will maximize your return on investment.
When it comes to Professional Services Automation (PSA) software, there are numerous products on the market to choose from. However, the software evaluation process can be made easier with careful preparation and an emphasis on the 3 following considerations throughout the evaluation phase:
1. For each software you evaluate, ask yourself, “Will this software solve the business outcomes that I’m looking to achieve?”
You may evaluate software with a multitude of fancy features and functionality, but unless those features help you achieve the business challenges you’re trying to fix, all of the functionality in the world isn’t going to add value to your company. You may find that a simpler product with less overall features, is actually the one that has the right functionality to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for.
Helpful Tip: Before you begin evaluating any PSA software, create a list of the outcomes your business is looking to achieve. Then make a list of must-have features that will help you accomplish your desired outcomes. You may also wish to make a secondary list of “nice-to-have” features that could add value to your business in other ways, but are not necessary for achieving your imperative business outcomes.
2. Include representatives from every department who will utilize the software in your evaluation process.
By including members of all teams that will utilize the software, you not only ensure that the final selection will achieve the outcomes needed by each team, but you also ensure you are getting buy-in from the people who will ultimately be using the software. If you select a software in a silo, you run the risk of certain departments choosing not to effectively adopt the software, which will ultimately affect your return on investment.
Helpful Tip: Select a key member of each department that will use the PSA software you select. Likely this will include at the very least a services team member, a finance team member, a sales team member, and perhaps an IT team member. Make sure that you clearly define what outcomes each of these departments hope to achieve with the software, and then evaluate options keeping in mind which ones have features and functionality that will be most beneficial to each team. To learn more about motivating employees to make effective use of a new PSA software, read our blog here, “Strategies to Encourage Employee Adoption of PSA.”
3. Know what questions you want to ask the vendors, and approach them with specific elements that you want their product demo to address.
If you don’t let the vendors you approach know what you’re looking for, they will likely overwhelm you with a flood of information about their product that isn’t relevant to your evaluation process. When you become overwhelmed with facts about products and find yourself reading through pages of information on various features and functionality, it can become difficult to determine what product is actually best for helping you solve your business challenges.
Helpful Tip: When you approach a software vendor, get right to the point. Tell them what business outcomes you need to achieve, let them know what functionality you’re looking for in a product in order to achieve this outcome, and ask them to set up a demo for you that will walk you through exactly how their product can help you achieve your desired outcomes.
If you’re evaluating a PSA software for your business and would like to see a comprehensive demo of Klient PSA, please contact us here: https://klient.com/request-demo/
Most service companies understand that project management is imperative and that having software to help keep tasks on track can be beneficial to delivering successful projects.
But many service businesses today are going a step beyond project management (PM) software and implementing Professional Services Automation (PSA) software instead, to manage the entire lifecycle of a project from sales through service delivery.
The Difference Between Project Management (PM) Software and Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software:
There are many similarities between project management software and PSA software. In fact, a PSA software will include project management features and functionality. The real difference is that PSA offers so much more, and helps service businesses manage all the ins and outs of their projects, including resource planning, scheduling, utilization tracking, time and expense tracking, cost management, approval process management, task scheduling and completion, team collaboration, client feedback and surveying functionality, and more.
To learn more about distinguishing project management software from PSA software, read our blog here: What’s the Difference Between PSA and PM Software?
Breaking Down The Use Cases For Professional Services Automation:
PSA is used for a wide variety of reasons and helps service businesses accomplish a number of things:
1. Managing Project Details
With PSA software, as soon as your sales team gets involved with the deal, they can start entering important details about the project requirements into the CRM. By choosing a PSA software that integrates with that CRM, or that is built native on the CRMs platform (i.e. Klient Software is built 100% native on Salesforce), your Services team will then have access to all of the project details as soon as the project is sold and handed over to them for implementation.
2. Task Scheduling and Completion
When it comes to successful project implementations, tracking tasks is one of the first things that typically comes to mind. That’s because there are usually a lot of moving pieces and steps that need to happen between the project start date and the go-live date. By using a PSA tool to track tasks, it’s easier for project managers to assign the different steps in project completion, set due dates, and track progress.
3. Creating Estimates and Identifying Timelines
When you’re preparing a quote, timeline, or project overview for a client, a PSA tool will help you give an educated prediction of the resources—time, employees, budget—needed to complete the task. When used properly, your PSA software takes the guesswork out of your projected timeline and instead leaves you with a blueprint from start to finish. This means more accurate estimating for budgets and profits as well as timelines. And, satisfied customers.
4. Employee Planning and Scheduling
An intricate part of project management is tackling resource allocation. It takes several moving pieces to take a project from start to finish, and the planning process requires identifying and assigning the best possible resources to the job. A great PSA Software will help you not only to plan who will be tasked with what—and when—it can also help you coordinate schedules between multiple team members who may need to work together on certain parts of the project. With Klient Software’s resource planning functionality, you can also select resources for a project based on assigned skills, geographical location, and more.
5. Forecasting and Reporting
Having data on hand about your projects is key to their success, as well as the success of future projects. Forecasting and reporting allows you to identify problem areas before they arise and keep projects on track and on budget, helping your service business be as profitable as possible. Detailed reporting in a PSA software will help you see where projects went off track in the past and help you learn from your mistakes moving forward.
Selling services is not like selling products…
When you sell a product, all you have to do is deliver it. As long as you have stock on-hand, you can fulfill the sale immediately. Sell a service and your work has only just begun. For example, let’s say you sold a 2-day consulting package to a client in another state. You have five consultants on staff. You (or someone in your organization) will have to find a time that works for both your client and for one of your consultants. Travel arrangements will have to be made. Lodging, meals, and a hundred other details will have to be sorted out. All to fulfill that one sale.
How PSA Software Is Different than CRM, ERP, and Project Management Software?
CRM software stops once you’ve made the sale. It’s great at managing a pipeline and estimating revenue. But if you sell services, a CRM system doesn’t help you schedule your human resources after a sale has been made. Project management or ERP software can help with the scheduling side of things. However that means you’ll be managing the same clients out of two completely different systems. When you make a sale, someone at your organization will have to transfer data from your CRM system into your project management or ERP system.
That’s a process that’s inefficient and likely to have errors. Professional Services Automation (PSA) software gives you one system to manage both prospects and clients, without having to transfer data between systems. It doesn’t mean you have to drop your current CRM provider. If you use Salesforce.com, you can simply add a service like ours, which works natively on the Salesforce platform.
Is PSA Software Right for My Company?
Here are 5 questions to ask:
1. Are “People” Required to Fulfill Your Product Orders?
The first thing is to be clear about what you’re selling. If you sell services directly, people are your product. In that situation, having PSA software will help you better manage both the sales process and the delivery of your services. If you sell products, you still might need to manage human resources to deliver those products. Do you have an install team? Do you require a certain number of hours of training or consulting for new customers? If so, your company could also benefit from Klient PSA Software.
2. Does Your Company Try to Accurately Predict Revenue and Expenses?
It’s not easy for a services company to accurately predict revenue and expenses. There are often many costs that go along with delivering a service, and those costs can vary widely depending on the client you’re working with. PSA software includes the ability to more easily predict both your revenue and expenses.
3. Does Your Company Use Salesforce.com?
Salesforce CRM is the world’s most popular CRM system. It’s AppExchange is also the leading enterprise software platform in the world. Companies using Salesforce CRM have access to thousands of applications that work natively on the Salesforce.com platform. That includes PSA software that works directly with your existing CRM database. Native Salesforce apps use the same infrastructure and database as your Salesforce CRM. They also have the same reliability and security standards.
4. Are Staffing and Turnover a Challenge?
Staffing and turnover are often sources of frustration for service providers. It can be difficult to know whether you really need to hire a new consultant or provider for your team. Will you have the work to justify the new hire? Or will you just be paying for someone to sit around all day while your sales team tries to fill the schedule? The best way to make good decisions about staffing is to have good data. PSA software can give you a comprehensive view of how many resources you’ll need in the coming months compared to what you have on staff.
5. Have Customers Ever Expressed Frustration While Trying to Schedule Delivery of Your Services?
Finally, there are your customers to consider. Is “scheduling” a constant headache? Have customers ever been frustrated trying to find a time that works for both their schedule and your team’s schedule? From a financial standpoint, logistics frustrations also kill referrals, which is usually a big driver of client acquisition for service companies. If scheduling is costing you referral business, PSA software can help your team deliver a smoother experience for everyone.
Ultimately, selling services is just like selling anything else—your customers have to see value in the service you deliver to them. PSA software can help your team deliver a great experience to all your clients. It can also help your management team make data-driven decisions about staffing and scheduling, instead of just trying to guess.
If you’d like to learn how to deliver more value for less expense in your service business, we’d love to show you more about how PSA software can help.
So you made the decision to adopt a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution for your organization? Great choice! But the work is not over. Once you’ve decided which PSA tool is right for your business, you now need to approach the implementation process strategically in order to unlock the full potential of the solution. That strategy must include processes and practices that will encourage employee adoption of the solution, since a tool is only as powerful as the people who wield it.
Here are three strategies to ensure that the people who will use your PSA solution are not only excited about the new tool and eager to make use of it, but will also be equipped with the knowledge and training they require in order to use it wisely and maximize your investment into the product:
Get buy-in from your team early by outlining the benefits of adopting the new solution
In order to achieve wide-spread adoption and support of the new solution, getting employee buy-in right from the start of the process is key. Clearly identify and outline for your team the reasons why your organization is investing in this solution and how its functionality will be of benefit to them and help solve problems or challenges they currently face.
Be sure to establish and share the business benefits you are expecting to achieve after go-live. This can include benefits such as achieving scalability, reducing overhead, or increasing business predictability.
Allow your team an opportunity to describe current challenges they face specific to their individual departments, and explain to them how they can use the new solution to help them overcome those challenges.
Start by training a few select people on your team, and make sure you have representation from every department that will ultimately use the solution
Approach your implementation with a select team of employees that are excited to try out the new solution and that represent different stakeholders in your organization.
A PSA implementation team that includes stakeholders from only the services team, for example, will miss critical requirements from sales, resourcing and the back office, which will slow down adoption across the organization. If you run a consulting organization, involving someone who understands the needs of your consultants in the project planning will go a long way to ensuring consultants will use the tool when it goes live. Take time to understand who will actually be utilizing the tool and include representatives from those different areas of the organization in the actual implementation process so any potential challenges can be raised in a proactive manner.
Encourage feedback and check-in regularly with your team to address concerns
Once you’ve gone live with the solution, don’t just sit back and hope that your employees are adopting the tool to its full capacity. Schedule monthly check-ins where you sit down with various departments and ask questions about how they’re using the tool, where it’s benefiting them most, where it isn’t solving their challenges, how it could be used better, areas where they could use some additional training, etc.
Doing so will encourage your employees to test new features of the tool and find new ways to use it, and they will trust that their feedback is being taken seriously and that the organization is interested in helping make their jobs easier by maximizing the effectiveness of the solution.