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.
For small businesses, choosing a CRM can sometimes be a difficult task.
Many will want one that can effectively manage their pipeline and keep records of leads, opportunities, and closed won deals, but without requiring all of the complex functionality that comes with a larger CRM. Most small businesses considering a CRM will also say it needs to be easy to implement and without the hefty price tag that generally comes along with a more comprehensive CRM application.
Here’s a list of the top 5 CRM we recommend considering if you are a small business, and some suggestions for narrowing down which one is the best fit for you:
Most people are familiar with Salesforce CRM, but what many don’t know is that Salesforce also offers a light-weight CRM solution called Salesforce Essentials, which is geared towards smaller businesses looking to get started with a simple and easy-to-use CRM application. With Salesforce Essentials you can get started with using Salesforce for sales and customer support for up to 10 users for $25 USD/month. With Salesforce Essentials you can automatically pull data from your email, calendar, spreadsheets, multiple support channels, and more to get a single, 360-degree view of every customer and your whole business. It also offers a simple setup assistant and in-app tutorials to help you get up and running and become a Salesforce Essentials pro.
Another benefit of Salesforce Essentials? When your business grows, it’s an easy transition into the complete Salesforce CRM application where you can take advantage of the full functionality the Salesforce platform has to offer.
When people think HubSpot, they often think of a powerful Marketing Automation tool. But, HubSpot also offers a CRM that makes a great option for small businesses. And, it’s 100% free! HubSpot CRM is everything you need to organize, track, and nurture your leads and customers. It allows you to automate the tasks salespeople typically hate doing, and takes minutes to learn, rather than months like other CRMs can. That means doing more deals and less data entry. With HubSpot CRM you can enjoy up to 1,000,000 contacts, users, and storage for free, without any expiration date – whether you’re a team of 1 or 1,000.
One of the benefits of HubSpot CRM is that you can sync it with HubSpot’s marketing automation software so you’ll always know which content your lead has consumed and can take a more personalized approach with your sales strategy.
Zendesk products let customers connect with businesses on the channels they prefer. And it’s all managed in one place—so teams can track conversations and never lose the thread. The result is a better customer experience, right from the start. Zendesk also offers seamless integration with CRM software. The Zendesk Suite offers everything you need to let customer conversations flow seamlessly across channels, creating a better experience for both your business and your customers. It provides simplified workflows through an easy to navigate, contextual interface, regardless of the channel.
A great thing about Zendesk is that it easily integrates and connects with other applications your business is using: https://www.zendesk.com/apps/
Pipedrive is a sales CRM built around the concept of simplicity. For small businesses, it’s a win because of its simple design and refined elements that make it easy to double down and zero-in on actions that improve sales. Rated the easiest CRM tool to implement on technology review site G2Crowd, Pipedrive offers a simple solution without all of the complicated functions of other CRMs which tend to require a lot of training and education in order to use.
The main benefit of Pipedrive comes down to how simple and fast it is to set up and get running. And, for a small monthly fee, small businesses can use Pipedrive to manage their sales without spending big bucks on a CRM with functionality they do not need in order to be successful.
Zoho is a multichannel sales CRM with functionality ranging from email, live chat, telephony, social media, and more. Similar to Pipedrive, Zoho CRM is a lighter weight CRM for a small monthly fee. Small businesses love Zoho because of its breadth of features at an affordable price. With Zoho you can connect in real time with customers and prospects, across all channels. SalesSignals notifies you when a hot prospect is browsing your site, reading your email campaign, or engaging with your brand on social media, allowing you to close sales using helpful insights and data.
Pipeline management with Zoho allows your team to identify quality leads, decide who to assign them to, discover the right deals to follow up on, and exceed revenue targets. Plus, you will get much better visibility into your sales pipeline.
Did you know?
Klient can integrate with these CRMs that small businesses are choosing, as well as a wide range of other applications including accounting systems.
For small businesses that sell professional services, Klient PSA can be the perfect addition to your team. You can use your ideal small business CRM for marketing and sales, and seamlessly integrate with Klient PSA which will manage your projects from sales right through delivery.
Learn more about Klient Software’s integrations here: https://klient.com/integrations/
Maybe you’ve heard the term “professional services automation” and wondered, “what’s that?”
In this article, we’re going to explain what professional services automation (PSA) is, who it’s for, and how to evaluate your options when considering it for your business.
A Simple Definition of Professional PSA Software (Professional Services Automation).
Here’s a simple definition:
- Professional Services Automation (PSA) software is project management and resource management software rolled into one easy-to-use platform.
PSA systems are designed specifically for the needs of professional services organizations, including consulting teams, accounting firms, and anyone who sells billable hours as a service.
How Is Professional Services Automation (PSA) Different From Project Management or Enterprise Resource Management Tools?
Professional services automation is much more robust than either project management (PM) or enterprise resource management software.
In fact, modern PSA systems include both PM and resource management, relieving you of the need to have multiple systems to plan resources and track your tasks.
Instead, everything is done in one place.
Who Uses Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software?
Traditionally, PSA software has been used by consulting groups, lawyers, and similar professional service teams. In recent years, IT services firms similar to Custard Technical Services, marketing agencies, and architecture, engineering, and construction companies have also begun adopting PSA to organize their projects and workflow.
When PSA is implemented well, nearly everyone within the firm will use the PSA software.
What Does PSA Software Do?
PSA software brings data and workflow into one well-organized system. The system replaces multiple systems often used throughout an organization to track tasks, data, sales, and pretty much anything else that involves interaction with a customer or sales prospect.
For example, many firms replace all or some of their current systems for:
- Calendar management
- Document management
- Expense tracking
- Project management
- Resource management
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Professional Services Automation?
- In general, the biggest advantage of a PSA system is empowering leaders to manage and measure the services delivered by their team.
- Executives should be able to see where accounts stand and what areas need improving — including what services are most profitable for the business.
- In addition, managers and service providers should be able to reduce the time they spend in spreadsheets — since reporting becomes automated. By extension, PSA can often boost margins by reducing the time spent on non-billable work.
- Organizations that are growing are often great candidates for professional services automation. As headcount goes up, manual tracking and reporting processes often break down, causing service breakdowns and a lack of visibility for executives.
- A great PSA tool will keep your best people out of spreadsheet paralysis. Instead, they’ll be empowered to make business decisions with full visibility into the operations of your business.
- Some PSA solutions lack critical features that help tremendously in the day-to-day operations of a service business.
- Project management, for example, was left out of many PSA systems years ago. That meant businesses reverted to tools such as Microsoft Project to manage their work.
- Feature gaps like these cause confusion for your sales and service delivery teams. Since they’re working from different tools, neither has full visibility into what the other is doing.
Will a PSA Software Work with My CRM?
Most PSA systems offer integrations to the major CRM systems, but they are often difficult to set up and run. In practice, many services teams operate PSA and CRM systems separately. Too often, that means the information in the CRM never becomes available to the rest of the team. If you’re using Salesforce as your CRM, Klient PSA Software is a fully-featured PSA system built 100% native on the Salesforce platform.
Since Klient runs natively within Salesforce, it creates end-to-end visibility to everything that’s happening with prospects and customers.
Anyone using any of the CRM or PSA functionality will have a full view of the activities and notes for the accounts they work with.
Is Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software Right for My Business?
If your organization delivers billable work, you’re a good candidate for professional services automation.
Recently, SPI Research conducted an ROI study for professional services automation. They found that a firm with 172 people could expect to spend close to $200,000 in PSA software and implementation, but that they would see nearly $23 million in increased revenue and reduced costs.
That’s a 115-times return on investment for professional services automation.
The 3 Essential Benefits for Services Companies Using PSA Software
Effective PSA systems are designed around delivering three key benefits:
1. Increasing Billable Hours
Professional services automation (PSA) helps service companies increase the number of billable hours they can sell with their current staff. It does this by reducing the amount of coordination, manual reporting, and firefighting that is common in service organizations. With fewer non-billable projects to worry about, your team can focus on work that is profitable.
2. Automatic Tracking of Work
When using a good PSA system, when a consultant performs an hour of work against a project, that hour is logged and then automatically charged to the customer’s next invoice. This happens automatically—without anyone in accounting having to consolidate a report to make it happen.
3. Client Project Success
Most importantly, PSA systems help you achieve better successful client outcomes — the biggest key to growing your service business.
What Criteria Should I Use to Evaluate Different Professional Services Automation (PSA) Tools?
If you’re ready to evaluate PSA software for your business, here are 10 criteria we’ve written about before that you can use. These should help you evaluate your options:
1. Project Management
Modern PSA systems include a robust project management system as part of their feature set. This has not always been the case, however, as many earlier PSA systems didn’t include PM as part of their offering. Look for a PSA system that has PM tightly integrated into the rest of its functions, giving you full real-time visibility for all stakeholders — including your services and sales teams, plus your partners and customers.
Now more than ever, service teams need to coordinate their work with the rest of their organizations. By embedding a PSA system into a CRM solution (such as Salesforce), you can put sales and services side-by-side in one platform. Sales opportunities can transition directly into projects for the services team — even before the opportunity has been closed in the Salesforce pipeline. Transitional PSA systems lack this tight integration with the CRM, which creates a lag between the excitement of the sale and the delivery of the service. Financial integration is also key to modern PSA systems. Billing, invoicing, and revenue recognition should all be seamless.
3. Services CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote)
PSA software should be able to seamlessly adjust to complex changes in configuration, pricing, and quotes for your services. For example, a project might initially be for time and materials with a revenue recognition policy based on the percentage of a project that’s complete. If a change order happens to add a fixed fee component to the service, the PSA system should be able to easily adjust profitability, margin, bookings, and revenue — along with any new requirements.
4. Resource Planning
Today’s PSA applications manage sophisticated resource planning requirements, including planning based on:
- Target utilization
- Task-level planning
You should be able to search and compare qualified resources by skills, role, location, and rates with an intuitive and visual appealing comparison tool. Some PSA applications are able to source external candidates in addition to internal resources with a built-in staffing and applicant tracking solution.
In recent years, PSA systems have become much better at supporting utilization. New features include:
- Target utilization thresholds
- Determining what types of time-off should or should not impact utilization calculations
- Reporting on utilization by project, practice, region, and roles
PSA solutions today also include an integrated time off solution to accurately manage and account for time off with scheduling and utilization.
6. Project Billing
Core to PSA is the ability to track and bill projects accurately. This has become more complex as service offerings have evolved. Modern service companies must juggle billing by:
- Managed services
These new types of contracts go well beyond the traditional time and materials services offered in the past. In addition, services organizations are increasingly working with third-party vendors and consultants as part of the delivery team. Today’s PSA applications support these complex billing scenarios and vendor payments.
7. Project Accounting
PSA systems track real-time financial performance including bookings, billings, and revenue for each project sold and delivered to a client. Without this, companies lack visibility, which can lead to poor decisions, missed adjustments, and (at worse) reduced margins. Today’s PSA solutions offer full support for project financials, billing, and revenue recognition in one unified solution, tightly integrated with your accounting solution.
Earlier PSA applications were not able to manage unique services offered by service teams and projects. Today’s PSA systems give you the flexibility to create offerings in various industries and verticals, tailoring your solutions to the needs of your clients. You can easily create custom fields, build workflow notifications, and set approval process on-demand within modern PSA systems. You can also create user-defined reports, dashboards, and custom applications — all to help you achieve better customer outcomes.
Through collaboration, services organizations can tear down the traditional boundaries between teams and increase customer success. Popular tools including Salesforce communities, Slack, and JIRA are staples for many organizations to collaborate on project activities. Robust PSA applications offer seamless integration with these applications, giving users full visibility as they collaborate on a project. This helps ensure all stakeholders have what they need to deliver their part of the project.
10. Accessibility for Users
Finally, earlier PSA solutions were designed as top-down planning tools mostly for use for by managers. The majority of work was done outside the system. Modern PSA applications provide an intuitive experience for all stakeholders across all devices. This helps ensure widespread adoption, collaboration, better profitability, and more customer success.
The Payoff: Increased Customer Success & Profitability
The value of PSA systems comes from their ability to help companies deliver successful client engagements profitably, increasing customer retention, and growing top-line revenue over the lifetime of the customer.
The right PSA system has the potential to create significant positive results for your clients and company.