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 five 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 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 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.