Posted by Charles O’Brien, Senior Solutions Consultant, Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit
Picture this: a sales representative for a software company is attempting to close a large deal, and is in close competition with a major competitor. With licensing costs and functionality tightly locked on the battle card, the rep needs every advantage in winning the potential customer.
In the final sales call, he sits down at the table with decision-makers, pulls out his mobile device and sees the dashboard showing exactly what resources his services organization can commit, as well as the timeline in which they can deliver on the project. Predictable access to resources, down to the talent needed for tricky customizations and development, and firm timelines impress the customer and secure the deal.
Integration between the CRM system and PSA system is becoming table stakes in service-driven businesses, or really for any company that aims to become more customer-centric. But while the technology is mature, many organizations are still trying to figure out how to get consumable information out of the integration. Many are finding that they have plenty of data, but lack insight.
What separates the leaders from the pack is how they leverage data to revolutionize their go-to-market strategies and drive customer-centric engagements. Here are some of the top criteria to consider when integrating CRM and PSA tools.
Determine the right threshold for alerting the services organization to opportunities
Standard functionality in a PSA and CRM integration can automatically alert the professional services organization about opportunities coming through the pipeline to ensure proper resources are on tap. But determining that trigger point – whether it be the percentage probability of close or how far the lead is through the pipeline -- is one of the most challenging aspects of a PSA and CRM integration.
Many customers push opportunities through PSA software at an early stage, so the services team has visibility to build out a team and can forecast revenue. But bringing in an opportunity too early can cause a lot of undue work. I recently worked with a customer who brought through each opportunity when it was at 30 percent probability of closing – basically, as soon it became a qualified lead. With so many opportunities in the system, many of them not actionable, the business found itself doing manual work outside of the system in order to get reliable numbers.
Finding that magic number is unique to each organization, but for most businesses, bumping that threshold to the 60-70 percent zone is more reasonable. With the right balance, organizations can leverage the integration to more accurately plan staffing needs, manage current schedules and reduce project start-up time. And they can identify trends in staffing required to drive successful client outcomes, to develop best practices for future engagements.
Provide relevant information to the sales team
Leading companies leverage a strong PSA and CRM integration not only to enable better project-planning, but to give the sales team end-to-end visibility at a high level into projects they have a stake in – to see progress, as well as track status and customer satisfaction levels.
For most sales teams, lending easy, quick access to high-level information will likely be sufficient, so they can see if the scope of the project is lining up with actual deliverables, and get a sense of whether the client’s expectations and deadlines were met.
For some companies with a strong sales culture (say, if compensation is tied to project success, not just the initial sale), a robust PSA and CRM integration will be able to lend more granular information. Sales teams can get a better understanding of project costs, optimize pricing to meet margin requirements and manage client needs. Overall, they can ensure that this project paves the way for a long-term partnership with the customer.
Leverage data for business-differentiating services
The most strategic PSA and CRM integrations don’t stop at enabling better project staffing or giving sales visibility into projects. The best platforms are a springboard to customer-centric engagements, providing the insight needed to develop and deliver services that competitors can’t match.
For instance, as recruiting and keeping talented people continues to be a major challenge, companies can gain insight into how individual staff members and even consultants are performing to optimize engagements, taking a “Moneyball’ approach to staffing projects that considers both skills and performance history to deliver on timelines, and incentivize the top players. End-to-end visibility across sales and project management processes also allows organizations to determine total spend across the sales and project cycles. Being able to mine both CRM and PSA data holistically allows companies to look at customer profitability, to better target key resources.
A single view of project and customer data positions your business for the next level of integration – tying in financial processes that will help condense billing cycles and even speed month end close.
With a robust PSA and CRM integration that gives your business access to the right types of data, you can streamline your entire services cycle and out-innovate competitors not only with products, but the way you carry out customer engagements.
Ready to take the next step? Set up a demo and value assessment of your services organization today.
Posted on Mon, July 10, 2017
by NetSuite filed under